Sunday, 22 January 2012

It Will Never Be Over ... pt.4

It Will Never Be Over ... is the latest edition of YHO which can be downloaded free for all here. It is a riotous romp through the UK's soul undergrowth and pop flowerbeds of the late '60s and early '70s.
Right at the heart of this issue is the fascinating label Fresh Air which seems to have been active in 1974 and 1975, and was run by legendary industry insider Tony Hall. The label put out four or so LPs, and curiously these are all pretty much out of circulation, even if shall we say more unofficial circles. Among these was a 1975 recording by Mike Cooper, Life and Death in Paradise, which featured Mike Osborne, Louis Moholo and Harry Miller among the line-up. Tony Hall had managed to persuade Mike to record again against a couple of years or so of self-exile in Spain following a falling out with the Pye organisation.
The disagreement had been about the presentation of Mike's fantastic 1971 recordings. Mike wanted to release them as a double LP set, but Pye insisted on issuing them as discrete editions. The first to appear was Places I Know, which showcases Mike in a singer-songwriter role, with a strong country rock feel along the lines of Bob Dylan's New Morning and the Burritos. The songs are strong, but it's a real bonus that Mike Gibbs is involved with the occasional orchestral arrangement (which will particularly interest anyone who loves Bill Fays debut). Pye issued The Machine Gun Company set later which showcased Mike and his group exploring a bit more of a Tim Buckley Lorca or Loaded-era Velvets sound, with some nice free jazz touches. These two LPs were issued on one CD by BGO in the '90s but oddly even this is not generally available nowadays. There's not much on YouTube either, except the gorgeous track The Singing Tree.
Mike's career has been a fascinating one, stretching from the '60s London blues scene, alongside Tony McPhee, Jo Ann Kelly etc. to his present day activities which are very much rooted in abstract electronica and ambient exotica. Mike's recent recordings are really worth exploring ...

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