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8 Sep 2016

Methuselah “Matthew, Mark, Luke And John” 1969 UK Psych Rock

Methuselah  “Matthew, Mark, Luke And John” 1969  UK Psych Rock
The only album by the English rock group, fronted on vinyl in a single edition of 1969 on the “Elektra Records” in the United States and Canada. “Methuselah” in Hebrew sounds like Metushelah, and Russian biblical tradition - Methuselah (one of the forefathers of mankind, the son of Enoch, the father of Lamech, mentioned in the Book of Genesis, chapter 5, verses 21-27). Methuselah is the most-most long-lived in the history of mankind. He lived 969 years, and if there were people older than him, in any case, the Bible does not mention. Therefore, the name Methuselah has become synonymous to indicate longevity - say “Methuselah age.” The founders of the group - John Gladwin and Terry Wincott - friends from school of the English heartland Scunthorpe in the county of North Lincolnshire. Their first band was called “Dimples” (“notches”), and later - “Gospel Garden” (“The Gospel Garden”). They played what could be called “psychedelic pop.” When a “Gospel Garden” joined drummer Mick Bradley (some time playing in the band “The Sorrows”) and lead guitarist Leslie Nicol, the group renamed itself “Methuselah”. In this structure, they signed a contract to record three LPs with the label “Elektra Records”. That’s why this album of the English band was released in America (and in America). There they were, no one knew, no one unraveled, and there is no information about any tour “Methuselah” in the United States, therefore, the disc “Matthew, Mark, Luke And John” happily lost in the hundreds of daily releases of the rich on the work of the late sixties. After the release, the group began confusion and hesitation. John Gladwin and Terry Wincott, which was more like an acoustic folk music, tired of the fact that their sensitive playing an acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies laid out neatly drowned in an electric sound. The two men were gone and, in the end, found themselves in a group based their “Amazing Blondel”, that in the XXI century continues they initiated in the seventies thing - the revival of the music of the Renaissance. Mick Bradley went to “Steamhammer”, Craig Austin and Les Nicol created with drummer Steve Chapman (ex- “Junior’s Eyes”) group of “Distant Jim” and later - “Coast Road Drive” … Despite the very biblical name for the album - by name apostles, who left the world the four Gospels - “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” - lyrics are not such a spiritual nature, as might be expected. Most enjoyable and original in this group - amicable choral chants and a great game Les Nicol on lead guitar. His solo unexpectedly cut one sometimes in the most quiet moments and give the group a good drive. Generally sound in “Methuselah” rather heavy, a good old hard rock, a bit clumsy in comparison with virtuoso passages later, his representatives or modern heavy metal, but so filled with meaningful sense, that without words is clear and the desire for all music lovers that era. I should add - it’s very raspevno hard rock, in the “Methuselah” well and actively sing four out of five participants (all except the drummer) and laid out a beautiful polyphony. …. 

Methuselah’s sole LP release didn’t connect with the record-buying public of its day, but it contains some great moments, even if the entire exercise bears a heavy sheen of pretension. Singer John Gladwin wrote the bulk of the material on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and he displays a jones for biblical imagery that may have confused some of the band’s potential secular audience, as well as alienating any devout listeners who wondered what any of it had to do with Christianity. There’s no true gospel to be gleaned from Methuselah, just lots of familiar Bible references and name-drops, but Les Nicol’s lead guitar cuts through any nonsense, ripping out snarling solo runs even during the quietest moments and keeping things grounded. At their best, Methuselah recall a noisier, uglier Fairport Convention, mixing traditional British folk with American blues and injecting a straight shot of psych-out electricity for the long-hairs. The album’s standout track is undoubtedly the thumping, blazing “High in the Tower of Coombe,” a downbeat tale of medieval wench thievery with an anthemic instrumental hook, and the excellent “Fireball Woman” is mournful, high-volume balladry. A finale of “Frere Jacques” is downright excruciating, unfortunately, a progressive rock misstep complete with falsetto chorus and a jazzy instrumental breakdown. Despite Methuselah being such a very British band, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John was only released in the United States, issued by Elektra alongside bands like the Stooges and Love. Methuselah dissolved shortly afterward, and Gladwin and rhythm guitarist Terry Wincott unplugged themselves to form the unique folk act Amazing Blondel, which endured into the 21st century. …by allmusic…. 

John Gladwin - lead vocals, vibes , glockenspiel, arranger 
Leslie Nicol - lead guitar, vocals, tubular bells 
Terry Wincott - 2nd guitar, bongos, tablas vocals, harmonium tubular bells 
Craig Austin - bass, vocals, harmonium 
M.J. “Mick” Bradley - drums, congas 

Steve Cox - percussion 
Kenny Young - producer 

01. Matthew - 4:40 
02. Mark - 3:01 
03. Luke - 3:06 
04. John - 3:10 
05. High In The Tower Of Coombe - 3:15 
06. Methuselah - 4:29 
07. My Poor Mary - 3:17 
08. Fireball Woman - 3:34 
09. Fairy Tale - 3:02 
10. Frere Jaques (Traditional) - 6:07 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..