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Music historians have postulated that CBS had seen the huge commercial and critical success that Island Records was having with Sandy Denny at the vocal helm of FAIRPORT CONVENTION (turning English Folk on its head and making Folk-Rock) and wanted the same on their label.

Although her high voice was more in line with Apple's Mary Hopkins than Sandy Denny - Celia Humphris looked damn good (in a sexy Sonja Christina kind of way) and the four hirsute men of TREES played complicated Folk in a new Rock fashion - slightly Psych – bit Acid – but all very British and eccentric. CBS's Prog-Folk needs - sorted!

Original Acoustic Guitar player with the band DAVID COSTA has written the affectionate, illuminating and brutally honest liner notes to this elegant Sony/BMG CD reissue - enlightening us on the mysteries of their two highly revered Psych-Folk albums - April 1970's "The Garden Of Jane Delawney" and "On The Shore" which followed only 10-months later in February 1971. Both CBS LPs have been darlings of the Prog-Folk collecting scene for years (sold little at the time, deleted quickly) and listed at £300 and £350 respectively - but can sell for twice that and more in genuine Mint condition (they had flimsy sleeves and are notoriously difficult to find in good condition). Here is the garden of delights...

UK released September 2008 - "The Garden Of Jane Delawney" by TREES on Sony/BMG 88697356712 (Barcode 886973567128) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Four Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows (62:39 minutes);

1. Nothing Special
2. The Great Silkie
3. The Garden Of Jane Delawney
4. Lady Margaret
5. Glasgerion [Side 2]
6. She Moved Thro' The Fair
7. Road
8. Epitaph
9. Snail's Lament
Tracks 1 to 9 are their debut album "The Garden Of Jane Delawney" - released 24 April 1970 in the UK on CBS Records S 63837 (no USA release). Produced by DAVID HOWELLS and TONY COX - Track 1 by Trees - Tracks 3, 7, 8 and 9 written by Bias Boshell - all others are covers of Traditional English, Irish and Scottish airs.

10. She Moved Thro' The Fair (Demo Version) - recorded August/September 1969 with additional pipe organ - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
11. Pretty Polly (Demo Version) - recorded August/September 1969 with banjo - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
12. Black Widow (Recorded July 2008) - song from the album period newly recorded for the reissue with drummer Mark Roberts
13. Little Black Cloud Suite - a BBC version can be found on the CD reissue of "On The Shore" - this old Bias Boshell song is newly recorded June 2008 as a short Instrumental for this reissue

TREES was:
BARRY CLARKE – Lead and Acoustic Guitars
DAVID COSTA – Acoustic and 12-String Guitar
TOBIAS 'BIAS' BOSHELL - Bass, Acoustic Guitar and Vocals

The 16-page booklet is beautifully put together (real effort) and is filled with great period photos of the band larking about in a park – live at Plimpton Festival in May 1970 – most photos featuring the clearly gorgeous Celia Humphris making the Prog boys look good. A team of three have handled the Remaster – NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering created the 24-Bit/96 Hz digital copy from original master tapes and that was further mastered by BIAS BOSHELL (original band member) and ADRIAN HARDY at Unit 2 in London (July 2008). Amidst the bonus tracks is "Black Widow" - a song written at the time of 'Delawney' but never properly recorded. The band reconvened in July 2008 and using drummer Mark Roberts to take the place of the sadly passed Unwin Brown (to whom the reissue is dedicated) - they recreated a new version of it. The audio is excellent especially on the longer more Prog pieces like the brilliant "Lady Margaret" and the very Fairports cover of the beautiful traditional "She Moved Through The Fair" - but the guitars on the diddly-idle dance-round-the-maypole "Glasgerion" are a bit grungy sounding in places.

Costa's liner notes come from the trenches and aren't the least bit bossy or overreaching but funny and touching – Celia sat in a truck with throat lozenges because they'd been pushing her too much vocally ("Glasgerion") while they contemplate buying a bigger PA to go even louder – CBS's printed sticker campaign called "Trees March" that couldn't be used because the album arrived on the market in late April and didn't get reviewed in most cases until May or even June. Not even putting the impossibly pretty title track "The Garden Of Jane Delawney" on Side 3 of the popular CBS Records label-sampler "Fill Your Head With Rock" 2LP set seemed to shift more copies. As Costa admits – the album received "...mild reviews and even milder sales...". Which is a damn shame because there's so much to love here...

It opens on the lovely guitar jangle of "Nothing Special" and the following electric leads immediately remind of the musicality Genesis got on "Nursery Cryme" tracks like "The Music Box" and "Harlequin". Mythical creatures abound in the Traditional cover of "The Great Silkie" that starts out all strummed English Folk but then goes seriously Prog half way through - guitarist Barry Clarke reaching for his inner Robert Fripp. The lovely harpsichord title track is probably the best-known song from the LP because of its exposure on compilations of the time and subsequently (it turned up on the superb "Dust On The Nettles" 3CD Box Set put out by Grapefruit in 2015 - see my review). It's a bit hissy for sure but that's on the tapes and it doesn't take away from the delicacy of Celia's vocals and the gorgeous playing. I suspect "Lady Margaret" is precisely the kind of track that gives this LP such value - a superb mixture of Acoustic Lead Guitar backed by Electric Lead that's pushed into the background like a tamed Richard Thompson. It's 7:11 minutes are brilliant - Celia giving the 'fair maid' story a wonderful wistful feel.

Side 2 opens with the dodgy cod English "Glasgerion" which is followed by "She Moves Thro' The Fair" - a track some have derided as an obvious reach for Fairport Convention's fusion of Folk and Rock. But I've always loved its slow eight-minutes and seven seconds of melody – building Acoustic Guitar flourishes and that melody at it's drum-rumbling heart always slays me. We then get three-in-a-row from Guitarist Bias Boshell - the first called "Road" he handles as a duet vocal with Celia - and it works. Musically it's so interesting and still sounds fresh to me - even echoing the largely acoustic feel to Led Zeppelin III in places. "Epitaph" is only 3:23 minutes long and features a warm Celia vocal (little hissy in places) while one of the best is left to last - "Snail's Lament" - a sort of Byrds jangle that crosses swords with Fairport Convention (Bias and Celia sharing doubled vocals). Superb stuff...

I had thought the Bonus Tracks would be throwaway (as they can be on these reissues) – but they’re not. The two Previously Unreleased demos are hissy for sure – but musically they’re very good – especially the new “Pretty Polly” with a stunning vocal from Celia and Banjo playing adding a strange cowboy feel to a Folk song. The two new songs are excellent and show Celia's voice is still in fine fettle on "Black Widow" while the short but gorgeous instrumental "Little Black Cloud" is beautifully orchestrated with strings (more please Mister Boshell, much more).

Sure TREES were of their time and all that hippy-dippy ambling can grate – but I think it’s a beautiful 'overlooked' album and worth the dosh.

"...It will not be long now until my wedding day..." - Celia sings on the melodious "She Moved Thro' The Fair". You don't have to marry to get this 1970's British magic in your life or even commune with a great Silkie - "The Garden Of Jane Delawney" is online for less than a fiver in most places and worth every Folk Roots penny of it. Dig in and enjoy...
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on 4 November 2008
Having only recently purchased "Garden' I have had scant opportunity to savour its brilliance, though brilliant it obviously is. I am a long term fan of the voices of the 'Big Three' of folk-rock from the late 60's/70's (Denny,Prior and McShee) but must now add Celia Humphris to that list - her voice has the same etherial quality found in the work of the other three. It is a little unfair to compare the rendition of Glasgerion with Bert Jansch's - Trees do a good job, Bert's is beyond compare.
It is a pity that Trees split when they did, their two albums show real potential - a potential which might or might not have been realised. I tend to think that they might have gone on to bigger things, certainly the bonus tracks on 'Garden' - recorded in 2008 in the absence of the original masters of material not previously issued - shows that the surviving members have lost none of their skills in the nearly 40 years since this excellent recording was originally issued.
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on 6 February 2008
this is an absolutely fantastic album - what a gem to have stumbled upon on good old amazon!! if you like unhalfbricking, then buy this plus on the shore. trad folk rock at its absolute best played by 5 brilliant musicians (but no violin!).

i can't get over just how incredibly good both albums are, and remain gobsmacked that they just vanished after these two. you'll recognise quite a few of the tracks on both albums (despite their titles), and i must confess it took me a little while to get used to trees' particular renderings. worth hanging on in there though, without a doubt
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on 10 August 2015
Anyone who bought "Fill Your Head With Rock" will have fallen in love with Jane Delawney. Even though none of the other tracks on this are of the same style, it was well worth the money for the title track alone.
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on 20 March 2009
Yes the Trees where one of the finest also rans in the early seventies( along with Magna Carta ,Tudor Lodge and a host of others).I have been a fan of their On the Shore album for many years.
This their debut brims with the timeless magic that was the mainspring of then new movement of "folkrock" mixing medieval melodies with electric guitars driven by along by up to Three great guitar players in the attack.
Aside from Bias Boshell, Barry Clarke and Dave Costa's guitar magic you can single out Celia Humphreys who should be ranked up with Sandy Denny et al the bonus tracks also show that the band can still cut it, nice to hear them in this century sadly their drummer Unwin Brown died last year.
I can't really fault this album at all no matter how hard I try a joy from start to finish even the bonus tracks.
A True perfumed garden of delights.
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on 31 January 2002
Many people will have discovered Trees via the 1970 CBS sampler "Fill Your Head with Rock", which featured the title track of this album (by the way, whatever happened to Amory Kane?).
This was Trees' debut album, and though probably surpassed by their second offering (On The Shore), it still contains some great stuff, and recalls (for me at least) a time when everything was a bit simpler. Trees themselves (or maybe their PR company) used to call it "music to feed your head". Not an original line, but it seemed to fit.
The title track has been covered by several artists, including Francois Hardy and All About Eve. I even once heard it played live by the Kiki Dee band (guess where the song's author ended up). All in all, a fine example of early folk-rock.
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on 16 April 2014
I saw the Trees at a festival in the early 1970's. To be honest I was so intoxicated on herbal cigarettes at the time I cant remember exactly where or when.

Anyway, from somewhere, it wasn't an Angel I heard singing, it was Celia Humphris ( with whom I fell in love with at least three times a week in the day)

The music is timeless and you will be so chilled out at the end of this CD people around you may think rigamortis has set in

Buy and enjoy
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on 6 December 2013
I knew of the existence of Trees way back in 1970 when I was 12 - my sister had a copy but it was a bad, off centre pressing with a terrible scratch (remember those?). Despite being a lover of folk-rock even then, I dismissed Trees 'cause they didn't have a fiddle player which seemed essential at the time. Fast forward 43 years and I at last bought the CD. I curse myself for the time I lost! Now, I'm not the most excitable of people but when "Lady Margaret" rocked to its coda I spontaneously punched the air and shouted "Yes!" and that hasn't happened in many a year. I suppose the psychedelic rock feel of this album is a bit passé these days - and there are a couple of duffers here - but it's still fantastic for all that and if you like 70s folk, rock, prog or a combination of all three then this is a must have. Danger - this album may contain proper music.
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on 15 February 2008
After buying thier 2nd album, I felt a strong urge to investigate The Tree's first LP, The Garden of Jane Delawney. Just like the 2nd album On the SHore, this too has been a very worthwhile purchase. It may not quite have the edge over On the Shore, but it is a wonderful English folk rock record and with the mix and the production, one could almost place it cronologically by the month it was made! It is very 1970, and has interesting working on some classics, such as 'she moves through the fair', which everyone seemed to have a bash at back then. The title piece is beautiful and the whole thing has a slight Wicker Man feel to it, which is a plus. It is a shame they only did 2 albums, but when quality overshadows the quantity to such an extent, I really shouldn't grumble. All in all, a nice body of work and something to investigate, should this genre of music be your thing.
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on 17 February 2011
Like others, I first came across Trees on the CBS sampler 'Fill your head with rock'.

The haunting lyrics and clarity of the vocals sent me rushing to the record store to buy the album `The Garden of Jane Delawney' and later, the second album, 'On the Shore'.

Each and every track is a masterpiece of folk rock which requires listening to in a darkened room with, no disturbance, to allow total concentration.

The battle for supremacy between guitars and keyboards make some tracks especially demanding of concentration, but are all the more rewarding for it. 'Sally Free and Easy' and 'Streets of Derry' are particularly notable for this. As for the vocals, Celia Humphris wide range and purity is like ambrosia to the ear.

If you are looking for something `easy listening' then Trees are not for you. But if you want something challenging, interesting and fulfilling, then this is the right stuff. With no hesitation, I place Trees at the very pinnacle of my musical preference.
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