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14 Jan 2017

Extradition “Hush” 1971 Australia mega rare Private Acid Hippie Folk






Extradition “Hush” 1971 Australia mega rare Private Acid Hippie Folk
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Simply gorgeous presentation of this classic Australian acid-folk item. Extradition have everything you want from this genre: a female singer with a voice like a bell (Shayna Karlin), male singers who don’t suck; long hair; beards; songs that romanticize Ice Ages and the phases of the Sun and the Moon; harmonium; nine-minute songs; frolics with sticks, stones, gongs, chimes, palm fronds, and drums in the name of Meher Baba. The live recording tacked onto the reissue as a bonus is just as valuable - Oscar Wilde’s “Ballad of Reading Gaol” set to music, covers of Tom Paxton and Leroy Carr, a few bluesier Extradition originals, and a stunning version of the album’s “Ice.” (From rateyourmusic.com) 

Amazing album! Incredible psych-acid feeling, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes eastern influences too!Veeeeery interesting!!………… 

Extradition, literally “ex-tradition”, reacted against the folk purists to show the ‘true folk spirit’, and, equal to its intention, also succeeded in becoming a trademark with a legendary status, to show subtle inspiration and an honest direction of what was inspired from the heart. Partly it was stimulated by the music from people like Shirley Collins, Annie Briggs and Sandy Denny, and groups like Incredible String Band, Pentangle and Fairport Convention. Another drive was the group’s free experiment with some odd and exotic instruments, like the Indian vina, a sitar with pedal, organ, harmonium and chimes, and with Asian rhythms. 
Closely in history to Extradition stood the band Tully, who showed some creative and progressive expression within the pop genre. 
During the short existence of Extradition, a part of the history of Tully was melted. When Tully’s second album, “Sea of Joy”, came out for instance, the two remaining non-Tully members were driven into this group, while Extradition dissolved into Tully. One theme of Extradition received a different version on “Sea of Joy”, namely “I Feel the Sun”, and, on the LP “Loving is hard”, another track, “Ice” was rearranged as well. Such and a few other similarities bring these albums a bit closer to each other. At first sight it seemed that Tully was driven forth mostly by Meher Baba’s ideas, while Extradition seemed a subtle experiment on its own. In reality Extradition was even closer to his spirit………….. 

Virtually unknown outside of Australia, and not too well known within Australia, Extradition made one of the better obscure folk-rock albums of the early '70s with their only album, 1971’s Hush. The record could easily have been mistaken for a British acid folk album of the period, mixing songs and melodies with similarities to British borderline folk-rockers like Bert Jansch and Pentangle with lyrics and some instrumentation that were not nearly as grounded in traditional British folk as Jansch. Although the arrangements were acoustic, they used an adventurous assortment of instruments – harpsichord, cello, harmonium, dulcimer, organ, flute, chimes, gongs, tablas, glockenspiel, and more – to shade their haunting songs with some classical grandeur and, at times, even musique concrète-like avant-gardism. 

Indeed, one track, “Original Whim,” consists entirely of percussive instrumentation, produced by stones, sticks, palm leaf, Chinese and Turkish gongs, Lebanese bell tree, and a few more conventional items. The lyrics, in line with much other British acid folk, often referred to natural elements like the sun, sky, moon, and water, with some of the words reflecting the influence of religious leader Meher Baba. It’s not all weirdness, though, particularly as the usual lead singer, Shayna Karlin, has a high earnest timbre much like that of many female British folk and folk-rock vocalists. It’s a better album than many other folk-rock-psychedelic efforts of the time that have attained a higher profile among collectors. 

The story behind the formation and dissolution of Extradition is more complicated than it is for most bands of such a short duration. The seed was planted when Colin Campbell and Colin Dryden formed a folk duo in Sydney in the late '60s; although an album’s worth of material was recorded in 1969, the recordings have been lost. In the beginning of 1970 Karlin, who’d previously worked with Dryden, joined to expand the act to a trio. All of the musicians wanted to evolve beyond their traditional folk roots into something more original in the new band, named Extradition. Percussionist Gerry Gillespie and bassist Steve Dunston joined the threesome for a one-time performance in March 1970 at the Fourth National Folk Festival in Sydney. Six songs from that performance (only one of which would be recorded in the studio for their LP) were added to the CD reissue of Hush. These show that, while still acknowledging their traditional influences (with covers of songs by Tom Paxton and Leroy Carr), the members of Extradition were evolving into something more idiosyncratic. 

By the time they recorded Hush about a year later, however, they’d been through several personnel changes. Though Dryden had left, Campbell (who wrote most of the band’s material) and Karlin were still the mainstays, along with percussionist Robert Lloyd. Extradition had become friendly with the Australian progressive rock group Tully on a 1970 tour, and two members of Tully, Richard Lockwood and Ken Frith, were among the additional musicians to play on Hush. Lockwood, in fact, amounted to almost a full member, playing on most of the tracks and handling a variety of instruments, including harmonium, bamboo flute, recorder, and violin. 

But by the time Hush came out on the Australian Sweet Peach label in June 1971, Extradition had broken up, with Campbell and Karlin joining Tully. Tully broke up at the end of 1971, the members scattering to various other projects, with Karlin performing in the mid-'70s with Baton Rouge, a band that included Christina Amphlett, later of the Divinyls…….. by Richie Unterberger….allmusic….. 

In late 1970 Richard Lockwood and Ken Firth contributed to the debut LP Hush by Sydney band Extradition, released in June 1971 and now a rare collector’s item. Both bands had been closely associated for some time, and shared similar musical outlooks; this led to Extradition members Colin Campbell and Shayna (Karlin) Stewart joining Tully at the start of 1971. Campbell played an important role in the later career of Tully and he wrote or co-wrote a considerable proportion of the material on both the Sea Of Joy and Loving is Hard albums. 
Terry Wilson and Robert Taylor both left the group in December 1970. According to rock historian Noel McGrath, this was largely due to the fact that Carlos, Firth and Lockwood were adherents of the Meher Baba sect (popularised by devotees like The Who’s Pete Townshend) – an interest Wilson and Taylor reportedly did not share. Taylor was not replaced, and Tully continued to perform without a drummer. 

Extradition was an Aussie hippie brotherhood, they belong to the earth and surely they showed it. Our cycle begins with water, pure and crystalline, as the first title “A Water Song” claims, you can actually hear calm water flowing mixed with the sounds of acoustic guitars; wooden sticks hitting each other accompanying the wind, distant flutes and of course the unearthly lush vocals of Shayna Karlin. 

“A Love Song” opens with the same lush vocals with some quiet guitar, but then a shamanic beat of a mute drum and a harpsichord appears in this litany of love. 

For me “Original Whim” it’s the earth speaking, screaming and singing by herself, I know, I know… it sounds extremely hippie, but you can actually feel a very deep and organic vibe (no bullshit pal). Gerald Van Waes describes this piece better than I can possibly do ever: “It’s an experimental meditative track, again as if driven and carried forth from the elements itself, starting from a more aerial element, like wind, with wood clicking sounds (Actually, according to the booklet, these must be stones, sticks, palm leaves, a tree, a Lebanese bell, Chinese and Turkish gongs, with some percussion instruments), becoming more melodic through Tibetan bells and chimes, and ending with the more deeply penetrating gong, all with the effect of an introductory musical “OM” for the next track. 

… Thanks Gerald!, the next track “Minuet” it’s a transitional piece, a very simple but effective and beautiful tiny classical repetitive dance with a piano laying in an harmonium, a joy for the spirit! 

A static holded note appears at the beginning of “A Moonsong”, sonically I interpret that holded whistle as a unique concentration point for what it comes… a litanic repetitive kinda prayer-chant, with a tabla marking the beat an a chorus repeating the prayer… mystical. 

“Dear One” is the lengthiest track of the lp, again quoting Gerald Van Waes: “On this track, Richard Lockwood sings as well”… “This is created with piano and harpsichord mostly, with similar balancing and slowly evolving individual notes, on chord organ near the end, and with some acoustic guitar” 

“A woman Song" is a melancholic theme with some violin indian vina. 

In the beginning “I feel the sun” It’s a classic woman vocals folksy song a la Anne Briggs with piano and Harpsichord, but surprisingly at the middle it turns into “Ice” certainly a Hammillean epic tour de force with solid male vocals, developing with drums, keyboards organ, cello and choir into an kind of anthem.  

With “Song for Sunrise”, the cycle ends as calm as it begins with the primeval wind blowing his message. 

Extradition’s Hush instead of be just a folk album, it’s a tradition breaker using the tradition itself, an “Ouroboros” (snake swallowing its own tail), a perfect circle amidst the chaos, creator and destroyer itself. I mean, you got all the traditional folk elements, but used in an innovative and effective way… this is no crappy “elfish” stuff, as I said previously, this is the Earth speaking, screaming and singing herself, The Real Deal! 
Hush, the original vinyl album recorded by Sydney group Extradition, remains one of the most rarest albums released by an Australian artist. Prices several years ago were above $100, but unlike many other albums of the early seventies, this album is not rock nor blues orientated. Instead it mixes folk, traditional folk with avant garde ideas, yet remains very listenable, even to this day. Having been to several folk festivals over the past few months, I can attest that several of their songs reflect the influence of English folk, particularly when vocalist Shayna Karlin takes on lead vocals: she has a classic, clear vocal sound reminiscent of Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention, although other scribes suggest Pentangle and Incredible String Band might also be other comparison reference points. 

I also hear nuances of Steeleye Span. However it is the creative input from Colin Campbell and Colin Dryden that pushes the normal boundaries of folk towards more less travelled paths. On tracks like Original Whim, drummer Robert Lloyd, uses unusual percussive instruments and rhythms, without losing the interest of the listener. Lloyd later became more interested in World music, which he explored at the time in 1971, before World music became a recognised genre. The band also used unusual instruments such as a harmonium (on the classical instrumental Minuet) or the sitar sounding vina on A Woman Song. Other instruments include bamboo flute, glass chimes, harpsichord and gongs. This re-issue of the original album includes 6 bonus tracks, all from a live recording of the band in concert. For my money two of these constitute the best tracks on the album. Honeychild and In the Evening are a traditional folk song and the latter is a cover, in the blues folk idiom. 

Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem of Oscar Wilde set to music, and they do a very creditable version of Tom Paxton’s Hold On to Me Babe. Dear One is a homage to the band’s spiritual leader, Meher Baba. The melody is very strong and if you can ignore the lyrics - ie if you are not a convert, this is a very pleasant outing. I liked the use of the male chorus underpinning of A Moonsong. The 16 page booklet which accompanies the set, is among the best liner notes of any re-issue album in the country, putting all the major labels to shame yet again. Ian McFarlane has done a great job researching the release by tracking down most of the original members and including comments and excerpts from their interviews. Despite the obscure nature of the original release, this album deserves to be heard by a much larger audience. However don’t expect to hear a progressive rock band; this is slow paced, gentle folk and washes of sound. Still this CD re-issue should be of interest to any collector of seventies’ music………. 

01. A Water Song 
02. A Love Song 
03. Original Whim 
04. Minuet 
05. A Moon Song 
06. Dear One 
07. A Woman Song 
08. I Feel The Sun 
09. Ice 
10. Song For Sunrise 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..