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There is a nice story within this release. Beau was a singer songwriter who released the very first record on John Peel’s Dandelion label, releasing two further records before losing interest in the music industry. Then few years later the guy from fellow travellers Tractor got in touch asking him if he wanted to record something in the bands new state of the art studio, in state of the art in Heywood, Lancashire (just along the M66 from Ramsbottom).
They recorded a full album of material that for one reason or another never saw the light of day. Until now, much to the delight of all involved in the original recordings. The album showcases the folky sounds of the day, infusing it with a driving delivery that at times, such as on the excellent ‘Miss Alice Preece’ recalls something that could be described as an English Bob Dylan. The 12 strings in the title must refer to the lesser spotted guitar which make the recordings sound full despite the fact that guitar and vocal are the only instruments present. There is plenty of the kind of folky whimsy also seen in recordings of the era from the likes of Donovan, Ralph McTell and even Phil Ochs.
There is an English folk feel to the proceedings throughout, a wordy delivery accompanied with simple guitar strumming, it’s unflowery but effective, ‘Bristol Musum’ being a favourite with its impassioned delivery and effective Byrdsian guitar on the fade. The music of ‘Beau’ has been rediscovered in recent years so this is a timely release and one that is long overdue.
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