When psychedelia had run its course in Britain at the end
of the 60s, the predominant trend was to get hairier and
heavier and more long-winded. Many musicians, however,
were still hung up on the trappings of psychedelia's home-
grown strain, having found a musical home in its mournful
evocations of Victoriana, its village green gentility and its
nods to the pleasures of suburbia. They wanted to carry on
using woodwinds, cellos and melancholic melodies. As the
advent of the singer-songwriter offered another possible
avenue for these refuseniks, a new brand of pop was
discernible - the English Baroque sound.
First compiled by writer and Saint Etienne member Bob
Stanley 15 years ago, the original "Tea And Symphony" CD
now sells for between £50 and £100. This new and
improved edition will be the first time the title has ever
appeared on vinyl and features several tracks that haven't
been reissued before; Lora Findlay's distinctive artwork
has similarly been given a fresh lick of paint.
A definitive collection of English Baroque, this compilation
includes familiar classics like Colin Blunstone's Say 'You
Don't Mind' and Honeybus' 'I Can't Let Maggie Go', as well
Vigrass and Osborne's original recording of the Justin
Hayward hit 'Forever Autumn' and master of the
observational, homespun pop Clifford T Ward's
'Coathanger'. In-demand rarities include Jon Plum's gothic
tale 'Alice', Mike Batt's exquisite 'Fading Yellow' and
Bombadil's 'When The City Sleeps', a rare Barclay James
Harvest spin-off single.
To the delight of people who thought the mine of great 60s
and 70s 45s had been exhausted, previously undiscovered
gems by the likes of Matthew Bones (the Kinks-like parlour
piece 'Two Sugars'), Erasmus Chorum (the epic 'Mary
Jane') and Les Payne continue to be unearthed. Here are
more than 20 of baroque pop's finest moments. Make
yourself a pot of tea, find yourself a comfy armchair, place
a ginger cat on your lap and sit back.
Compiled and annotated by Bob Stanley.