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on 12 March 2017
Somewhat overrated it seems to me. Not bad but not great.
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on 26 June 2006
Based upon the simplicity of the musical vision within this trio, (i.e. English, pastoral, acoustic-guitar-in-a-field type music) there really is probably no better way of doing it than Forest do. Upon first impressions (especially with the self-title disk) I couldn't help but laugh at how extremely hippyish I found them. 'Surely these people are the most hippyish hippies of all time' I said. And it is not because they put on a show to make themselves appear that way (i.e. nonsense about pixies and fairies) but their music presents themselves as they simply are, thus all hippy antics were pointed at them and not at their whims.

The self-title disk consists of songs of a pop-type structure, i.e. verse, chorus etc. and the songs are generally more (dare I say it) commercial (it isn't commercial in any way, but compared to full circle it is). It took me a long time however to turn to Full Circle and discover that they are neither corny field-lovin' folk nor extreme hippies. Instead I discovered that their music is genuinely charming and is in no way laughable or humorous, at least not in the way that I first thought they were. Half the charm of the trio is that they do not have a lot to say as they themselves said in a song, and shan't pretend to either.

In terms of folk, this was the first folk-type album I ever bought and ever since then I have been searching for folk bands that match the high expectations that my first try at folk music was so lucky to come across. Spirogyra came as a result (superb stuff)

Musically > fantastic vocal harmonies and features classically-trained, inventive and skilled guitarists and general instrumentalists and so forth.

If you want to have a feel of real English charm with songs of mystery, an ore of nature, a touch of underground and moods that often turn away from flowery meadows into dark, thick woods of haunting shadows and tear-dropping ghosts then this great value for money CD is for you.

Favourite tracks? > has to be Famine Song and Autumn Child. I see them both as the same song and together they work beautifully.
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on 12 January 2001
Forest were a gifted trio from North England who all wrote, sang and played numerous instruments on this, a compilation of their two outstanding albums.
The first album was preceded by one of the most beautiful singles of the 1960's - Searching For Shadows'. The album did not contain the single but complex hormonies and intriguing melodies puts the album a cut above the more traditional folk fringe at the time. Check out the haunting 'Don't Want To Go' and the hormonic beuty on 'Sylvie'.
The second album 'Full Circle' managed the near impossible task of bettering the debut eponymous album. Along with Fairport Convention and The Incredible String Band this album puts Forest firmly in the list of all time great folkesque bands.
With the exception of 2 tracks the album would be flawless. Highlights include the piano blues-rock track, 'Do Not Walk In The Rain' - showing that they are equally gifted away from straight folk the beautiful 'Graveyard' nodding to their classical musicianship, the exquisite harmonies on 'Famine Song' and the album track of the year in 1970, the timeless 'autumn childhood'.
These albums make you wonder what else the trio could have achieved had the music climate not changed to more about the visual side than the musical content in the 1970's.
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on 31 May 2008
I had not known there had been a second album from this band until I bought the CD. I have treasured the first album since I was fifteen (in LP, 8 track, and CD). I still play it, and I still think it's amazing. And I'm still very grateful to the band for having made this music. It is like nothing else. The second album, though, CD 2, was a terrible disappointment. Gone is the rich texture of interweaving melodies and the rich vocal harmonies that made the first one so special. The band members perform as individuals with accompanyment; there really is no group to speak of. The songs seem to be trying too hard to be Incredible String Band knockoffs. The producer is different, so maybe that accounts for it. But I suspect the record company just didn't give the band enough studio time for the many layers of overdubbing the first one recieved. All that notwithstanding, though, the first CD is SO good that I would forgive Forest any sin for having produced that one. Thank you, guys, from the bottom of my heart and forever.
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on 3 March 2010
Forest (or The Foresters Of Walesby, as they orginally were, and which I like the sound of better) were three latter-day minstrels, their music had a prickly, spindly quality, and they sang with wanton abandon in thin, agile voices, conjuring inclement weather as they went. It's wondrous stuff! First impressions were that they sound dangerously similar in sound and intent to the Incredible String Band, and no doubt they grew weary of the accusation. That wayward wavering on the long notes, for instance, recalls the wondrous Robin Williamson. Discovering this music is a little like walking into sudden impenetrable darkness and waiting for my eyes to adjust, and slowly I start to make out shapes (it was the same with ISB). It's not that I'm a stranger to this style of folk, far from it, but at first it has a bewildering quality to it, and in the case of disc one an apparent sameyness.

So, touchstones, aside from ISB might include Comus (from the little I've heard of them), Young Tradition, The Watersons, Dr Strangely Strange (also considered to be in thrall to ISB, but who - heretical as this might seem to some - were in my opinion the finer band) Velvet Underground (particularly on Hawk The Hawker), perhaps even a hint of Pink Floyd (check out the closing section of Gypsy Girl And Rambleaway). Certainly they had an ear for pop and psychedelia. One of the guys, Martin I think, by chance has a plaintive voice rather similar to that guy in Galaxie 500. I have read that in the early days Forest would sing traditional songs in three-part harmony around the local folk clubs. As their debut album progresses I find myself thinking that a couple of unaccompanied trad numbers in the mix would have made for a pleasing and beneficial contrast. Disc one contains many fine songs, some of which are almost like your normal high street pop-fare in structure, though not in delivery.

Full Circle is something of a development from the first album, the song structures are more experimental and the overall feel is of more individuality from song to song, more of a sense of space. Do Not Walk In The Rain is perhaps the most radio-friendly piece, with it's bounding piano rhythm and catchy chorus. Graveyard, which is a very pretty piece with flourishes of whistles, was the song that made me buy the album, having featured on the Gather In The Mushrooms compilation. I had been secretly hoping to hear more along the same fey lines, Bluebell Dance is a distant cousin with it's jangling bells and sparkling mandolin, but nothing comes particularly close in feel. The prickly, scratchy vibe continues throughout, accentuated by harmonica, and the pokes and prods of violin and other suitably pokey instruments. Even To Julie, the solo guitar number, which by its name sounds like it'll be a mellow dreamy thing, has that nervous energy running through it, making it somewhat less than the relaxing interlude I was anticipating. But I'm not knocking the album, I like it very much.

Fans of these albums might like to go and check out the group The Story, who are Martin Welham and his son Tom. I have just heard the one track by them to date - The Wicker Man, featured on John Barleycorn Reborn - and it is a real delight.

I imagine that most of the people I know would get quite agitated by Forest and demand I turn it off at once, but that would be their loss. It's not for everyone, but I am very taken by it. I guess I'll be playing it alone then!
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on 17 January 2012
I was directed towards this band by a song called "Graveyard" on an album by Kno.
It features Graveyard from disc 2 of this album sampled for the bass line and made me seek out Forest.

Was definitely pleased - haven't had a band that sounds anything like this in a while.
I'd say the sound is pretty unique - with some memories of Syd era Floyd floating around in the back ground.

Worth the purchase!
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on 27 February 2009
I had these records in the 70s and I loved them BUT I didn't know anyone else who did. Thought they were gone forever and I was so glad when I found them again. I play them a lot and still love them and still don't know anyone else who does BUT I am convinced they are brilliant. They are just not in any way mainstream. Special stuff for special people?
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on 5 January 2015
Yeah great stuff, took a while getting here though, but very happy with the CD.
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on 13 October 2009
to release remastered versions of these two albums including the one single stupidly missing from THE HARVEST YEARS compilation,
then they are dumber than they appear. This sets master tapes are now 16 years old
twice now, small indie companies keep releasing CD #1-then are out of business-no FULL CIRCLE-the masterwork
There is a rumoured 3rd album out on bootleg pressings-now if EMI could add those to a set-with the EMI Harvest imprint -then maybe they would acquit themsleves
EMI Toshiba have TWICE released this set, remastered in 2008 in the past 20 years-but these are very expensive or OOP
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on 12 February 2015
Haunting harmonies from the heart of real music.
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