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2 May 2017

The Tree People “The Tree People” 1979 US Private Hippie Psych Folk

The Tree People “The Tree People” 1979 US Private Hippie Psych Folk
watch review by psychedelic baby
Same titled album by Oregon group Tree People has finally reached its deserved status after the excellent CD reissue released by Japanese label Tiliqua a couple years ago. "Tree People" is no other than a fantastic piece of hippie acid folk that clearly anticipates today's "Freak Folk" movement. 

Very clean production, with an Eastern flavour noticeable in many passages and using acoustic guitars, varied percussions and flutes, while the strong vocals of Stephen Cohen finalize the picture. Remastered sound from masters, has insert with rare photos..............

The Tree People were an Oregon based acoustic group centered around guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Stephen Cohen (who had recently been transplanted hobo style - coffee house to coffee house - from Rhode Island). “The Tree People” was privately released in 1979 and quickly disappeared into specialists' collections. On the surface it would appear to be just another basic singer songwriter album, with an environmentalist message. Fortunately, it’s nothing of the sort. Rather “The Tree People” is a meditative, deeply introspective work, with a stunningly clear production, that really does make one feel they are amongst natural surroundings. The best tracks feature recorder and flute, such as ‘Opus’ (my personal favorite), ‘Pot of Gold’, ‘Morning Song’ and ‘The Pineapple Song’. Cohen has a slight rural twang in his voice, one that seems confident yet vulnerable. Despite the sparse nature of the recording, The Tree People are quite a distant cousin to the recent free-folk artists on exhibit today. For progressive folk fans, the comparisons go northwards towards some similarly minded Canadians. Perhaps most obvious would be the Vancouver based Ptarmigan, though there’s not a hint of aggression in The Tree People. But the acoustic guitar, fragile vocals and ample use of recorder are instantly recognizable. As well, there are similarities with their French speaking brethren in Quebec, such as L’Engoulevent or the earliest works by Connivence. I’ve seen comparisons as far-fetched as Comus, and I would say that’s about as far as one can get from The Tree People to be honest. Evil sounding aggressive pagan music? Not The Tree People! How about calling this a new movement such as Introspectica Americana? As is so often the case, due to family and career responsibilities, this was to be the end of the 4 piece band. They marched on as duo, even managing to get out a cassette in 1984 titled “Human Voices”. The CD reissue on Tiliqua Records is stunning. A beautiful Japanese mini-LP, extra thick cardboard, with a full history, photos, etc… It’s very obvious that this is a labor of love, and that the label owner is a huge fan of the album.

Pot Of Gold 
Morning Song 
Space Heater 
The Pineapple Song 
No More School 
Bring In The Water

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