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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2007
The sole album by this trio of singer/guitarists seems to me to be more mainstream than folk, though that's not a criticism. All but one of the songs are self-penned. There are no dark corners in Tudor Lodge's world. Though some of the lyrics are sad, this is a light, airy, feelgood vibe album that doesn't always have a lot to say. I'm thinking particularly of 'Forest' which is little more than a description of woodland. The band's strongest point is American Ann Steuart, who not only adds piano and flute, but has a voice of shimmering beauty. The album is bostered by several other musicians and there's a generous dose of woodwind across the tracks. Perhaps the one faux pas is the male vocal on 'Recollections' which I imagine is that of the writer, Lyndon Green. He makes up for it though on the brilliant acoustic instrumental, 'Madeleine.' Well worth investigating.
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on 9 June 2006
Originally released in 1971 on the Vertigo label, this eponymous album is a classic example of what now seems to be called progressive or acid folk. Based on the core trio of John Stannard, Lyndon Green and American flautist, Ann Steuart, the band was augmented for this album by the rhythm section of Pentangle - Terry Cox on drums and Danny Thompson on bass.

The tracks, all self-penned except one (by Ralph McTell), range from gentle sweet songs (very 1970s, long floaty dresses and wondering about the meaning of life) through to slightly disturbing instrumental sounds (The Willow Tree)led by Cox on the drums. The whole thing is immaculately produced with a clarity of sound that allows the guitars, woodwind, piano and pure vocals to shine through. The original LP version is now impossible to get hold of, but it had a fantastic gatefold sleeve with a fold-out poster / lyric sheet. Much sought after, this album is now available on CD. It is an album of its time but none the worse for that and it has worn well.
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on 20 August 2011
Once again Esoteric continue to mine the seams of those long lost treasures of yesteryear, presenting forgotten gems at affordable prices. Original LP copies of this 1971 album were known to fetch silly amounts of money; a combination of the sought after Vertigo `spiral' label, and the genuinely excellent contents within.

Ostensibly an acoustic folk trio, they are augmented by the Pentangle rhythm section of Danny Thompson and Terry Cox among many other contributors, which gives a huge clue as to the level of musical accomplishment on show here. There are inevitable comparisons with Pentangle, but the trio of Lyndon Green, Ann Steuart and John Stannard are individual enough to make this a wonderful and beautifully recorded album full of truly memorable self-penned tunes and infused with that uniquely English rustic sound.

Vocal duties are equally shared but Ann Steuart in particular, has a crystal clear voice which is well up there with her peers, and on the opening track `It All Comes Back To Me' it shines out amongst chiming acoustic guitars, double bass and flute. `Two Steps Back' is also a particularly fine example of a beautifully arranged timeless melody which delights the ears and recalls sweeter, simpler times. The album maintains a consistency, the guitar arrangements are beautiful and the trio is augmented by some 12 guest musicians adding their brush strokes along the way. This was seemingly an album made with much care and attention, although we are told the studio time only totalled two weeks...

It is somewhat of a mystery that this album did not find a wider audience in it's own lifetime. A wonderful discovery which sounds fresh and assured and easily worth five stars.
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on 8 January 2010
I heard the name of Tudor Lodge mentioned in the early 90's, but only very recently became acquainted with their music, the name having lingered in the back of my mind for all these years. I listen to a fair bit of traditional folk, folk-rock and psych-folk, and Tudor Lodge reside most assuredly at the bright end of the spectrum. At first I was blinking in the sunlight for large portions of the set, used to more shadowy music, but I quickly fell for the charms of this album.

As a trio Tudor Lodge performed with guitars, voices, and piano and flute, but here, their songs were expanded upon with the addition of the rhythm-section from Pentangle, woodwinds and strings, and some funky electric guitar. It makes for a more colourful set than would have otherwise been, the extra musicians sensitive to the nature of the group yet lending more depth.

I would describe this album overall as folk-pop, particularly the first half, with occasional forays into folk-rock and psych-folk later on. Many of the tracks are radio-friendly and easy on the ear, and really not that distant from some regions of the main-stream. It All Comes Back To Me makes for a strong opener, whilst Help Me Find Myself (one of the highlights for me) brings to mind the Moody Blues circa Days Of Future Passed, albeit in a more pastoral setting.

There are however some shadows to be found amongst these songs, a fair bit of the subject-matter is melancholy, and for one intriguing song Tudor Lodge step out of this world into a more spooky dimension, with the wonderful Willow Tree, opening with a sustained spell of eery discord, a sudden swirling soundscape cast adrift and racing in like a squall that fades to a gorgeous melody and brief lyrical section, evoking mysterious bygone days. This was the track that captured me and made me wish to buy the album, and whilst there is nothing else quite like it here, its presence colours the entire album, a glimpse through a hidden doorway to another aspect of Tudor Lodge perhaps, and a tantalizing taste of where else they might have taken their music, had things not sputtered out shortly after Ann Steuart left.

The booklet informs me that in their heyday Tudor Lodge played in support of the likes of Genesis, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. I am curious as to what a Genesis audience would think of them, and hope that they were open to these gentle songs. Now and then the lyrics do get a bit twee, as in the final verse of Forest, which is a little too Beatrix Potter for comfort, but these moments are few.

The Lady's Changing Home is the album's funkiest track, and a real pleasure at that, with extended electric guitar passages that come as a surprise in the context of the album, and it is a joy to hear the band revelling in the moment. It is followed by a lovely instrumental piece that showcases their intricate guitar-playing. The album closes with a charming cover-version of their hero Ralph McTell's Kew Gardens. Often I'll go back to the beginning and play the album through a second time.
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on 22 December 2006
Tudor who? you may ask. Tudor Lodge - named after the pub in Reading where they played this is early 1970s British Folk at it's best.

Even the heavy metal enthusiast where I work liked this album.

Quality always shows and this album is certainly full of quality as well as interesting material. The modern penchant for X Factor/Pop Idol insta-stars pales to insignificance.

At this time there were many bands like Tudor Lodge who would record but one album then vanish into obscurity. The albums recorded in this era were some of the highest quality , and as I have stated elsewhere is it really any wonder that modern day artists are raiding this period for musical inspiration.

Originally realeased on the legendary Phillips subsidiary label Vertigo (the label's interlocking circles are more often than not mis-termed "spral" when infact they are less commonly but correctly known as the "swirl"_. The device was intended to "hypnotise" those who stared at it for long enough. Vinyl versions could command £160 in 1994

You do not need to be hypnotised in this manner to be enthralled by the music found on this wonderful album.

Although it does stray perilously close to the bordser of "Twee" and Peter, Paul and Mary - "Help Me Find Myself" is one of the stronger compositions.

A fantastic album and the 2500 copy "limited edition" CD re-issue is one to be sought with due dilligence.
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on 22 March 2013
I've had this on vinyl for years and it was getting very scratched. Great to hear it in full, a beautiful album.
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on 5 February 2017
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on 23 March 2013
This was never great music, and I didn't expect it to be - I recently sold my 1971 first press Tudor Lodge LP for a vast amount of money, and wanted the CD to remind me of it.
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