Revel, Weird & Wild / Time Will Pass
added: 3 Mar 2013
// release date: 28 Jan 2013 // label: Esoteric
reviewer: Andy Snipper
Timing is crucial in life and in 1976/77 there were many a fine band whose burgeoning careers were cut short by the beginnings and all-enveloping rage of Punk. One of those was Spriguns – folk/progressive in the time of The Sex Pistols and Ramones: timing is everything.
Spriguns started life as Spriguns of Tolgus (a parish of Redruth in Cornwall) and were a folk duo Mike and Mandy Morton but they were picked up by Decca Records and expanded into a 5 piece with Mandy Morton on vocals and Acoustic, Mike Morton on bass and vocals, Tom Ling on electric violin, Dick Powell on electric guitar and Chris Woodcock on drums.
The first of these two albums, ‘Revel, Weird & Wild’, is the more classically folky of the two and with Mangy’s striking vocals developed a hearty following for the band. The song titles give some evidence of where they were coming from – ‘Trysting Tree’, ‘Sir Colvin’, ‘Hasberry Howard’ all sound as though they could have come from the vaults of Steeleye Span or Fotheringay (Tim Hart of Steeleye Span produced the album) but they definitely had an individual sound that was quite different from bands such as Gryphon, more contemporary and less nit-picking maybe. The album has been a sought after item for years and this remastering definitely does them a good turn as the music has real vibrancy and heart.
They followed up with ‘Time Will Pass’ and there is most certainly a sense of the band developing and growing. Wayne Morrison had joined on guitar and keys and gave a harder edge to their sound while Dennis Dunstan’s drums are more forthright and have an element of prog about them. A number of the tracks have string arrangements by Robert Kirby and he brings the same intensity and eeriness that his arrangements had for Nick Drake. ‘Dead Mans Eyes’ has the attention right from the off with the violin behind Mandy’s and ‘For You’ has a fine sense of electric folk but ‘White Witch’ is a real stand out with glorious strings and beautiful vocals from Mandy. ‘You’re Not There’ is a delight with swelling cymbals and picked guitars behind a chilling vocal.
These are genuinely long lost albums but two sets that really do deserve reissue.
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