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6 Mar 2017

Lamb “A Sign of Chance” 1970 US Psych Folk Rock




Lamb “A Sign of Chance” 1970 US Psych Folk Rock
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Lamb rare video….

First time on CD for this rare Psychedelic gem. In the early 1970's, Columbia Records started a new offshoot label based on the legendary Fillmore auditorium. They had their own logo & the albums featured performers who were regulars at the Fillmore. One of those bands was Lamb. Sign Of Change is a rare Psychedelic album featuring vocalist Barbara Mauritz...............

Lamb was a San Francisco-based rock group. They tend to be remembered only for their appearance on the Fillmore: The Last Days concert album, where they were one of several non-star artists on a set dominated by bigger names like the Grateful Dead, Santana, and Jefferson Airplane. They also played at the The Ribeltad Vorden in San Francisco. However, they did issue three albums: A Sign of Change (Fillmore, 1970), Cross Between (War. Bros., 1971) and Bring Out The Sun (War. Bros., 1971 - Billed as: Barbara Mauritz & Lamb).

Their music blended jazz, folk music, singer-songwriter pop, gospel, and even some classical and avant-garde influences.
Reminiscent in spots of such varied artists as Tim Buckley, Judy Collins (in her art-song phase), David Ackles, and Savage Rose (in that band's most gospel-soaked period), their records were ultimately idiosyncratic enough to defy ready comparison to anyone.

Their debut album on the Fillmore label, A Sign of Change, was perhaps their most uncompromising and experimental, relying largely on jazz-folk acoustic arrangements and spotlighting Mauritz's impressive voice on impressionistic, dream-like lyrics. .............

Boy, did this album ever hit me out of left field. Barbara Mauritz's vocal stylings contain the control of a jazz singer, the emotion of a blues singer, and the plantive, moody cry of a singer of keening folk songs, all rolled together. She's also a good instrumentalist, playing tambourine, guitar and piano, along with the majority of the composistion credits. LAMB's " A SIGN OF CHANGE" contains songs with a great range of stylings, from slow folklike dirges, which could pass for a song like AUTOPSY from the second FAIRPORT CONVENTION album, or when the instrumentation (ie flute and string chart) is denser, to one of the slower numbers from NICO's first album. A couple songs (ADVENTURE OF INCREDIBLE MR. SANDMAN, for example) mixes her controlled, sonorous vocal quality with a mildly psychedelic bowed cello, and guitar work. Those provide the moments resonating with HOPE SANDOVAL vocal qualities: dark, mystic, long sustained vocalizations floating over the SLOW as syrup tempo. Other numbers could have come right off NINA SIMONE's early 1967 album THE BLUES. (tho I dont hear blues as much as I hear jazz in both their voices). Especially the album's last song, the seven minute long WHERE I'M BOUND, places Barbara's voice over her piano stylings (not quite as sophisticated as Nina's, but captivating none the less). PREACHERS HOLIDAY also workes together blues, folk and jazz, with lots of space within the arrangement, and POWERFUL upright string bass playing, to give a song that moves the listener thru many places, due to the way the tempo picks up, when Barbara incorperates her Tambourine weave, into the song. The composistions thruout provide proof that sophisticated, arresting, simple arrangements can still chill you to the bone, while providing psychedelic flights of fancy to the mind. Altho the album cover suggests wild psychedelia, the overall sound falls close to Tim Buckley around his HAPPY SAD period.....ByW.T.Hoffman..............

36 minutes in length approximately. The sound is very clean and clear,with the vocals out front and the instruments having their own space in the mix. The booklet lists titles,lyrics, song times and musicians. It's to bad that the lyrics are almost microscopic (at least a good magnifying glass would help),because they're important in fully appreciating this album. The booklet is a reproduction of the original album,which is why the lyrics are so small-it's not a 12"x12" album cover.

If there's another album/group that better typifies the wide-ranging musical tastes in late 60's/early70's San Francisco,I don't know what it could be. LAMB (the core members were Bob Swanson-guitar and Barbara Mauritz-guitar and vocals),played a cross primarily between ethereal folk/jazz vocals,and similarly atmospheric musical arrangements. The vocals and the instrumental backing were woven seamlessly into a very deep,subtly immediate whole. During this time period,the Bay area was known for encompassing folk,jazz,blues,country,rock,and r&b-or any combination of the above. There were a number of bands (like LAMB) who played around the area,but never became popular outside their region. But that didn't matter. What mattered was the connection between musician and listener. This is one of those albums. You should probably disregard the "psychedelic band" description on Amazon's info page. They were psychedelic only if you REALLY stretched that frame of reference to it's fullest extent.

All the songs on this album were written by Mauritz and/or Swanson. The accompanying musicians (playing cello,viola,flute,English horn,double bass,and various string and wind instruments) fleshed out the words and Mauritz's vocal style perfectly. The thoughtful lyrics had a solid foundation,which in this instance,is particularly important. Mauritz could sound cool,yet at times very emotional,and the musical backdrop followed her effortlessly. At times the group (especially the double bass) had a jazz sound from the late 50's/early 60's. Yet just as easily they could sound like some of Tim Buckley's jazzier flights of fancy. There were also strains of gospel singing in Mauritz's vocal inflections and timing,which gave her voice a warm,human quality. While the instrumental backing had a unique sound and could follow her anywhere,Mauritz brought an organic feeling to these songs,and it's easy to hear her connection with those songs.

This album needs several listenings to fully appreciate the music. This band was unique (even for their era) and their music takes some effort by the listener to fully appreciate it's depth of feeling and the emotion that's packed into these songs. For those that "get it",there's much to like here. And just like the long ago era when I first heard LAMB,a number of people weren't pulled in by that remarkable voice and the sympathetic backing,and that's fine too. I'm just glad this music is still available for those who can still be drawn in,even today....ByStuart Jefferson...............

Credits
Arranged By [Strings And Wind] – David Litwin
Bass – Bill Douglass
Cello – Douglas Blumenstock
Design [Cover] – Sam Sirdofsky
Engineer – Fred Catero
English Horn – Robert Hubbard
Flute – Diva Goodfriend-Koven, Walter Rapaport-Shepherd
Guitar – Bob Swanson
Photography By [Cover] – Mary Kuret
Photography By [Liner] – Edmund Shea
Producer – David Rubinson
Viola – Ed Bogas
Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Tambourine – Barbara Mauritz
Written-By – B. Mauritz*, B. Douglass* (tracks: A4), B. Swanson* (tracks: A2 to B2)

Tracklist
A1 Traveler's Observation 5:10
A2 Adventures Of The Incredible Mr. Sandman 2:40
A3 In My Dreams 5:42
A4 Barbara's Soul II 5:17
B1 The Odyssey Of Ehram Spickor 3:14
B2 Preacher's Holiday 8:00
B3 Where I'm Bound 7:04

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..