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13 Mar 2017

Bread, Love And Dreams “Amaryllis” 1971 UK Acid Folk

Bread, Love And Dreams “Amaryllis”  1971 UK Acid Folk
What can I say. I love this band ever since a friend exposed me to this band 10 years ago. I must have heard the 20+ minute title track to this album over 1000 times in the last 10 years and I never get tired of it. The album toys with emotions of joy, sadness, melancholy, fear and even has a sense of humor. The lyrics are wonder and can leave many with their own perception of what many of the songs are all about (I'm still trying to figure out what the lyrics of Amaryllis are all about after 10 years and lovin' every minute of the mystery). Etheral/pastoral vocals from both female/male, wonderful harmonies and unforgettable melodies up and down the album.
And if that is not enough, we are graced by Danny Thompson's (of Pentangle) hypnotic double-bass and Tony Cox (of Pentangle) on drums.

For me, it does not get any better than this. Sure I love bands like King Crimson, the italian prog acts, germany's finest, yes, etc... But with all of those bands, it's Bread/Love and Dreams that holds a special place with me.

Others may not be all that excited with this band but they strike a chord (and such a good chord with me).

The last 4-5 minutes of the title track is pure heaven with the organ (they just don't make it sound like that anymore. Even if it's dated, I love it more and more compared to the digital stuff they play today), etheral vocal harmonies, poetic lyrics and a fade off so appropriate that it begs for a replay.

This is just one of those albums I consider an acid-folk masterpiece. Mark Fry's "Dreaming with Alice", Roger Rodier's album and Montreal's "A summer night", the Justin album and the Nick Drake albums are on that list as well.

BLD = "Essential" for me. Check 'em out if you like Hippy psychadelic/flower folk with awesome melodies.

I wish this band would have made more albums. Guess they were dropped by the record label because their albums were not selling. Just proves to me that "quality music" and "sales success" are mutually exclusive. A lot of junk out their sells. A lot of quality out there is lost and forgotten. This is one such prime example.

If I could thank the members of this band personally for 3 great essential prog-folk masterpieces, I'd be honored. They deserve every last bit of thanks!!!

A classic to my ears!!!!..... by progbaby...........................

This is their second album released, but it was recorded at the same time as Amaryllis, as the original idea was to release a double album as their idols Incredible String Band had with WEE Tam & The Big Huge. But there was no way that their label would as they simply didn't believe in this group, only producer Horrick forcing the three albums deal to conclude. Now reduced to a duo, it's difficult not to keep comparing them to ISB. Graced with a superb psych and fantasy artwork, but also labelled with one of those unlikely lengthy name, Capt Shannon & Hunchback From Gigha is a selection of the double sessions, but does not carry better or more commercial tracks, although there are a few potential winners for attention. With the Pentangle's Danny Thompson and Tony Cox on the rhythm section, Tales is an excellent example of acid folk rock.
Past the expandable Dylan-esque opener, the album's real start is on the magnificent and upbeat Masquerade, where McNiven vocals get superb echoes from Rew's rebuttals. Excellent, tense, and the Pentangle members are on top of their games. Cigarette of course pales in comparison and if He Who Knows All build promises, Lobster Quadrille fails to capitalize and drive the opening side home. The flipside starts on a short Angie Rew monologue, but if Butterfly Land takes you to exotic isles, it is former member Carolyn Davis' last remaining track Purple Haze Melancholy that draws attention because she's backed with a bunch of distant horns, but it fails to materialize into something potent. The title is clearly the album's second highlight (but not better than Masquerade) with its 7 minutes, it is a delicate song filled with added instruments and closing with footstep on the beach.

It's hard to tell you who was right about the double album issue, but releasing them as one would've probably meant to sacrifice one of the two superb artworks, and most likely it would've been maybe a little long a listen in one shot. So most likely the label knew their job best: even though they did nothing to promote BL&D, it's also not that hard to see why they didn't really believe in them. Too derivative (of ISB and DSS), and drowned in a sea of folk rock that was a full block ahead of them (folk was now electrified ala Fairport or Trees), but they were simply too naïve for 1970 & 71. Whether this or Amaryllis is your call, because for me, they're fairly equal, but here Masquerade is their best Sean Trane ...........................

 The first Bread Love & Dreams album, much like the band’s brief career, is a study in glimpses of unfulfilled promise and underappreciated talent. It would be followed up with the more eclectic and ambitious duo of records ‘Amaryllis’ and ‘The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha’. The former explored the ‘acid’ side of acid folk more fully then the debut; and the latter employed a broader array of guest musicians including Carolyn Davis, who departed the band after the first album. Both albums (originally intended to be a double-disc release) would be the more memorable contributions the group gave to progressive folk music, with their self-titled debut relegated to back shelves for years before being quietly reissued on the dubious Hugo-Montes Productions label in 2001.
But in some ways this opening exhibits charms that draw belated fans like me to acid folk, more so than their more well-known works. This one is rather sparse despite having both Angie Rew and Carolyn Davis to accompany multi-instrumentalist David McNiven on the abundant vocals that fill every track. The latter two albums featured only Rew and McNiven for the most part, with more emphasis on varied instrumental arrangements and psych-leaning lyrics as opposed to rich vocal harmonies. The band also doesn’t seem to be taking themselves all that seriously on this record, with songs like the hangover anthem “Switch out the Sun” and the somewhat silly “The Yellow-Bellied Redback” showing a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor on the band’s part.

At times the trio doesn’t stray far from what most would consider traditional folk, particularly in the middle of the album with the laconic “Lady of the Night”, the almost too-staid “Falling Over Backwards” and the slightly self-indulgent ballad “Poet's Song”. But elsewhere there are little flashes of creativity. “Main Street” layers backing vocals from both ladies with harmonica and an upbeat tempo for what is probably the liveliest song on the album. McNiven lapses into ballad-like vocals and acoustic guitar- strumming on “Mirrors”, but here again the vocal harmonies are quite beautiful and the string arrangements and other keyboard flourishes make for a charming vignette.

This isn’t a very memorable album, but it is certainly good enough to merit a proper reissue on some prog-friendly label at some point. Bread Love and Dreams were clearly heavily influenced by the Incredible String Band, and although they began their brief career in a similar vein, the duo of McNiven and Rew would never reach the level of creativity or establish the following that kept ISB going for so long. Too bad. Three stars (but just barely) for this record, with a mild recommendation for serious prog and acid folk fans if you can find it. The Hugo-Montes CD is the only reissue I’m aware of, and doesn’t include any bonus material or anything else to enhance interest, but like I said – hopefully someone, someday will give this a proper re-release with handling appropriate to its place in prog folk ClemofNazareth........

On Bread, Love and Dreams' third and final LP, their approach hadn't changed much since their 1969 debut album, aside from expanding the production some and getting into more ambitious song structures. It still hovered between British folk and British folk-rock, and the genteel pleasantry had an acoustic guitar base, but was sometimes embellished by added instruments like organ, electric guitar, and percussion. The big adventure on this outing was "Amaryllis," a suite of songs that took up all of side one. It sounded much like their other work save for the length and the fairly inscrutable lyrics. It was delivered and constructed in a manner suggesting an epic and/or a journey, yet ultimately in such a vague and impressionistic manner as to be impenetrable as to its specific intention. Side two went back to separate, more standard-length songs, and this worked better, with "Brother John" the most haunting piece on the record. At times, as on "Circle of Night," there's a resemblance to some of the work of Bert Jansch and Pentangle, though the similarity isn't incredibly strong. Ultimately it was pleasant but unmemorable U.K. folk with a few pop and rock touches, the songs sometimes seeming to be trying to bite off more than they could chew in their wrestling with abstract and philosophical images and stories.
~ Richie Unterberger.....................

Amaryllis is the third and final album by the Edinburgh-based duo of David McNiven and Angie Rew. It was recorded simultaneously with their classic album with the long title The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback From Gigha. By the time they entered Decca's West Hampstead studio for five days in the summer of 1970, they had enough material to fill two albums, so Captain Shannon were concieved as a double LP. For the sessions, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox of Pentangle joined the duo.Decca baulked at the cost of issuing the albums together, however, so they were separated, with Captain Shannon appering first, in november 1970. Though it recieved warm reviews, when it didn't sell, the label barely bothered to release Amaryllis at all."When it came to deviding up the songs, we decided to put the more mystical songs on Amaryllis", says David McNiven. It also included the 22 minutes long epic title track on the entire a-side of the LP. "It was about the earth being destroyed, but something positive emerging from the calamity", David explains.When it finally was rereased in july 1971, the press was again enthusiastic, but Amaryllis was damned by lacklustre publicity and poor distribution, and when it didn't sell, Decca droped the duo.Amaryllis is now one of the mot sought after psych albums and essential for all fans of psychedelic singer-songwriting.
~ Internet Source.................

3rd and last album by Scottish duo Bread, Love And Dreams, which included singer David McNiven, who also wrote most of the material, and female singer Angie Rew. The group started originally as a trio with another female singer Carolyn Davis and they recorded their debut album a year earlier. After Carolyn left to pursue a solo career, the duo engaged in an extensive recording project, which produced enough material for a double album. Unfortunately the record label (Decca) refused to issue a double album (originally intended to be called “Mother Earth”) and as a result the first of the two was released a few month earlier under the title “The Strange Tale Of Captain Shannon And The Hunchback From Gigha”, taken from the title of the epic song included on that album, and the second a few month later, again taking the title from the epic three-part suite present on this album. The duo was lucky to have some great musicians taking part in the recording sessions, namely Pentangle’s rhythm section of Danny Thompson on bass and Terry Cox on drums, as well as saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith from Colosseum. Some of the songs were also beautifully arranged and orchestrated. The resulting music is a prime example of British Folk-Rock with some Psychedelic influences as well. Although the original albums sold poorly at the time they were released, in time they achieved a legendary status among British Folk-Rock enthusiast and became rare collectors’ items. Having them back in circulation is a long-awaited dream come true and no Acid Folk fan can call his collection complete without these two .......................

Another acid-folk act coming from Scotland, this time Edinburgh, BREAD LOVE AND DREAM was a trio lead by Glaswegian David McNiven, joining in with a two-women act: Carolyn Davis on guitar and Angie Rew on flute and lead vocals. They toured around Scotland for a while and started a loyal local following, but they sounded much influenced by another Scot act THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND, which was not surprising since they ruled acid folk and it was not the first band inspired by ISB: indeed the Irish Dr STRANGELY STRANGE sounds much like BL&D.

Spotted by Decca staff Ray Horricks at the Edinburgh Festival in 68, they were brought down to London by him to record their first album and it was released in early 69. This self-titled album contained some acid folk with some string arrangements, but the market being flooded by such albums, it sold poorly, enticing guitarist Carolyn Davis to quit.

Decca wanted to cut the band from its roster, but Horricks held good and the group was grudgingly allowed a second chance. Aware of this BL&D first went on the road (sharing stages with MAGNA CARTA and TYRANOSAURUS REX) and wrote new material for their upcoming album. It was during this time that BL&D developed a working project with the Traverse Theatre Group in Edinburgh. Their director Max Stafford wanted McNiven to adapt one of his pieces Mother Earth to the stage actors. It eventually became Amaryllis, given a twist of name. This piece was then performed in Edinburgh, then London, than on a European tour (Scandinavia, Benelux, France & Spain) to apparently great acclaim.

Although reassured of their recent successes, but still not well with Decca, BL&D recorded over 5 days in the summer of 70 two albums' worth of material with a bunch of added guests (including THE PENTANGLE's bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox); they even considered releasing a double album (ala ISB's Wee Tam & The Big Huge), but Decca decided against it. Strange Tales Of Captain Shannon was therefore released fall of 70 to critical acclaim, and it contained the lengthy title track that was again in the ISB mould. As their second album failed to sell, Decca quickly released (botched-up marketing and too few copies pressed) in early 71, Amaryllis, which is arguably their best works, but it fail to sell, or even match the sales of the preceding two albums. Although both albums came out with superb sleeves, it was not enough for the public to invest in a second version of ISB. Decca dropped the band after an Edinburgh's Royal Court Theatre's presentation and wrote the whole thing down as a tax write-off.

McNiven and Rew first married, then kept courageously on for a year or two before finally quitting. They would resurface in a Scot band in the mid-70's Mama Flier. McNiven has been writing music for Granada TV in the past two decades and Rew is toying away in theatres

Yet another Scot group that made a dent on the folk-rock scene and their music was inventive enough to be labelled progressive folk as well. 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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