If memory serves this album originally came out in December 1971 on Vertigo. It was destined to sink without trace at the time, although in the years since it's taken on the kind of odd cachet which has ensured its reissue at least four times in the last twenty years (on the Angel Air, Arkarna, Background, and Repertoire labels) Given the obviously limited amount of material, in the sense that none of the reissues offers any bonus tracks or the like, for me the Repertoire is the one to go for mainly because it's in one of those miniature LP sleeves -nice.........gatefold too.........
Hoyle had a hell of a band behind her, virtually the whole of Nucleus in fact, and in Karl Jenkins before he went into cod-Classical mode she had a good musical foil for her lyrics. There's a range of material here, ranging from the hard rocking "Black Crow" (Hoyle/Jenkins) to Laura Nyro's "Lonely Women" which receives a treatment even better than the original. Performed by just voice and piano, the implied starkness brings out the structure and deeply touching nature of the song in a way that a fussy arrangement would only mask.
"Journey's End" has a singular lilt, punctuated by Chris Spedding's deft guitar interjections and a French horn break which lifts the spirit, or at least my spirit.
It's not difficult to see why Hoyle / Jenkins made Dionne Warwick an offer of the song "Paper Tulips" for even while Hoyle retains her own identity it's easy to imagine Warwick getting her voice around it.
"Hymn to Valerie Solanas" highlights Hoyle's awareness of the issues of the day through her obvious knowledge of the woman who attacked Warhol and specialized in a trenchant brand of feminism.
All in all this is a really diverse album, complete with any implications of a `lack of a direction' some might accordingly read into it. I'm not one of them, however, because I think this is an album which was out of its time at the time, and for all the `progress' that might have been made in popular culture, the attitudes of the time etc. Things are different now, and how, but this is one of those `records' which will inevitably `touch' or reach someone somewhere, so in its unassuming way it's stood that test of time.