A psychedelic folk classic worth nerding about. From all the way in 1972, Bright Phoebus features Lal and Mike of the Watersons making weirder and more verbose songs than ever before, inviting a rotating cast to develop a stranger and brighter strand of their pastoral songwriting. Quite lost in the avenues of time, it now gets a reissue via Domino so everyone can hear its arcane melancholy.
Limited Vinyl Double LP £24.99 REWIGLP102X
Limited Deluxe Edition 2LP on Domino. Includes disc of 12 previously unreleased demos and sleeve notes by Pete Paphides.
- Limited edition
- Includes download code
Vinyl LP £17.99 REWIGLP102
Reissue LP on Domino.
- Includes download code
CD £12.99 REWIGCD102X
Deluxe Edition 2CD on Domino. Includes disc of 12 previously unreleased 1971 demos and sleeve notes by Pete Paphides.
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- Bright Phoebus by Lal & Mike Waterson
I'm probably about to receive a backlash as big as that which followed the time I said I didn't rate a the Fall album (um.. last week) but I often can't take folk seriously. I find it kind of comical - particularly the sort of knees up beer slopped jaunt that opens this record with 'Rubber Band' and Mike Waterson's voice has the sort of Yorkshire lilt that sits on the wrong side of Jake Thackray to my ears but then I remember.
Lal Waterson's 'Never the Same' is probably one of the favourite moments of the genre and luckily there are lots more similar examples of this particularly misty form of songcraft. It often sounds like she's singing from the bottom of a hedgerow. Both 'Fine Horseman' and 'Winifer Odd' are both superbly crafted examples the kind of darkly twisting folk that she made her speciality. I'm often surprised that she didn't originally come from the North East of England as she has the same kind of twang to her voice that you hear in Richard Dawson's - she provides all the best moments here and they are all bleakly melancholy.
In between these dark hued gems you get upbeat music hall ditties that sound like they come from a completely different record - one that is titled Fiddlers Dram recreate the work of Syd Barrett. The trousers down farce of 'Magical Man' doesn't even belong on the same planet as 'Never the Same' which follows it as if in total embarrassment. It doesn't deserve to be infected by the jolly japes. It's the most wonderful slice of rainy day misery with cello's curling around duel picked guitars and Lal Waterson twisting and hollering like some kind of folk prototype of Morrissey.
I'm going to buy it and re-program it so that Lal Waterson's brilliant songs have their own safe space. They deserve it.
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