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19 May 2017

Tony, Caro & John "Blue Clouds" 2012 CD 1972-1977 recordings UK Acid Psych Folk

Tony, Caro & John  "Blue Clouds" 2012  1972-1977 recordings UK Acid Psych Folk
Vinyl LP pressing. Fans of the classic 1972 acid folk LP All on the First Day rejoice! There is still more! - Blue Clouds, a collection of the bands outtakes, rarities & live recordings spanning 1972-77. There are full band rockers here as well as quiet, stripped down home recordings, plus a little drum machine sprinkled among the folksy whimsy. Even casual fans of ‘60’s psychedelic folksiness will enjoy this odds and sods compilation, as it stands up as a “great lost album” and certainly serious fans of English pastoral folk like Incredible String Band, Bert Jansch, Left-Handed Marriage, the Holyground collective, Dr. Strangely Strange, Forest, etc., will need to grip this fast………… 

“Fans of the classic 1972 acid folk LP All On The First Day by Tony Caro & John rejoice! Yes, if you have one of the hundred or so copies of the original UK private press (with the hand-spray-painted cover, then you are probably a millionaire), or you purchased the ultra-limited Shadoks label reissue with EP in 2001, or the Gaarden records reissue of said reissue (if not, pressing two is still available, folks), there is still more! Drag City Records, Gaarden Records, and Galactic Zoo Disk have united forces to bring you Blue Clouds, a collection of the band’s outtakes, rarities and live recordings spanning 1972 –1977. There are full band head-rockers here as well as quiet, stripped down home recordings– plus a little drum machine sprinkled among the folky whimsy. Even casual fans of 60s psychedelic folkiness will enjoy this odds and sods compilation, as it stands up as a 'great lost album’ (do we even need mention that the trendy popsters Beach House ripped off a tune from TCJ’s Tony Dore? ah, probably not) and certainly serious fans of English pastoral folk like Incredible String Band, Bert Jansch, Left-Handed Marriage, The Holyground collective, Dr. Strangely Strange, Forest, etc. will need to grip this fast.”…… 

Tony Caro & John released an album of pretty impeccable UK psych folk pop in 1972 titled All On The First Day. It was originally very hard to come by, but after a couple of reissues you can find your way to adding this record to your collection pretty simply. Lucky for us though – the kind folk over at Drag City have gotten together and compiled an LP of rarities and outtakes from around the same period called Blue Clouds. It’s being released early this November and we can safely say that it’ll find itself perfectly in your Winter listening pile. The melodious British trio lean more toward the Fairport Convention side of things in this new compiliation – and it has us pretty excited. You can preview a track from it below and click further for the whole tracklist. Drag City is always one of our favorite labels around – but this one is pushing them over the top. Thanks, guys… 

Band History 
Multi-instrumentalist Tony Dore and bassist John Clark were childhood friends in Derby, England, and played together on both the rock and folk circuit. After university they reunited in 1970, when John came to London to join Tony and Caroline (Caro), who had played university folk clubs together. “All on the First Day” was made in 1972 with almost no budget and primitive equipment, recorded on Clark’s 2-track; they could overdub in mono only by re-recording the backing track at the same time. They self-pressed the LP in an edition of only 100 copies, with the home-grown nature of the product emphasized by individually spray-painted covers. 
Expanding the band lineup with Simon Burrett on lead guitar, Jonny Owen on Harmonica and Rod Jones on keyboards, Tony, Caro and John continued on the college circuit for a little while under the name “Forever and Ever” but the gigging stopped in the late seventies, when families and careers took precedence. The band continued to jam together, and to record in Clark’s by now, multi-track studio. 
Then in 2001, Tony Dore was contacted by Shadoks Music in Germany, when it transpired that there was an underground following for the “All on the First Day” album, and copies were changing hands for substantial sums of money. The band agreed that Shadoks could produce a limited release of vinyl albums from the original master, and at the same time release the album on CD. The release included five bonus tracks recorded around the time of “All on the First Day”. Almost simultaneously the band released some of the studio tracks recorded since “All on the First Day”, as the limited edition CD-R album “Retrospect” under the “Forever and Ever” band name. This can be obtained from the “Forever and Ever” website (see below). Sadly, bassist John Clark died in 2005. 
Following the wider release of the band’s material, one of Dore’s compositions “The Snowdon Song” was covered by the successful indie duo Beach House, on their eponymously titled 2006 debut album. Although given a different title (Lovelier Girl), Beach House do not dispute authorship of the song.[2] 
Current Activity 
Now living in Texas, Tony continues to write songs, and between 2006 and 2010 recorded 13 new tracks which were finalized in 2010 in Rod Jones’ studio in France. This collection, “Fall Away Like Leaves” by Tony Dore and Friends, was released digitally in 2011 by Gaarden Records of Baltimore. Gaarden have also reissued “All on the First Day” as limited editions on green and maroon vinyl and are planning a digital release of rare Tony, Caro and John outtakes and live tracks………… 

While bands of today continue to explore, experiment, and try to change the way we listen to music, there’s something to be said about the untouched music of our past. Such is the case with the release of Blue Clouds from British rockers Tony, Caro & John also known as Tony Dore, Caroline Clark, and John Clark. The group first performed as a folk-rock trio, and self-released a rather primitive 100 copies of All On The First Day in 1972. This album, despite its sales numbers, solidified the trio as a coveted staple of British psychedelic folk music. 

40 years later, Drag City decided to pick up where the trio left off, and released rare recordings from the trio between 1972-1977 as Blue Clouds, also as a joint collaboration with Gaarden Records and Galactic Zoo Disk. While you can still pick up and hear All On The First Day, Blue Clouds takes a deeper glimpse into the psychedelic folk band. The eleven song compilation is a mixture of folk, fantasy and a supernatural musical phenomena of the past. 

Opener “Forever and Ever” has an immediate electric guitar punch to transport you back to the ’70s. Following closely is the folky “Bye Bye I Love You,” orchestrating a blend of soft lyrics, light guitar strums and a faint overlaying of airy flute throughout the song. From the mirror-deep vocals on “Sally Free and Easy,” to the harmonica-infused “Ton Ton Macoutes” or the grating guitar in the final “The Road to Avalon,” the album is somewhat of a mystery wrapped in psychedelic folk. 

Blue Clouds is an organic and harmonious album, but when all is said and done, the only negative lies in the decades this musical masterpiece has been hidden from your vinyl collection…….. EMILY PROVANSAL…………. 

One of the numerous acts (i.e. FOREST, DR. STRANGELY STRANGE et al) that basically cloned the sound of psych-folk icons The INCREDIBLE STRING BAND. The harmony trio of TONY, CARO & JOHN formed in 1970 from ex-London university graduates Tony Dore (vocals, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter), his wife-to-be Caroline (vocals, kazoo, etc.), plus the former’s old Derby schoolmate and Sheffield uni grad, John Clark (bass). 
Recorded by the latter on a small Ferrograph tape recorder in some hippie commune in London, the limited-edition ALL ON THE FIRST DAY (1972) {*7}, was surprisingly well produced, each tree-loving, apocalyptically-inspired vignette delivered with a certain degree of ISB flavour; additional personnel included Simon Burnett (electric guitar), Rod Jones (keyboards), Jonny Owen (harmonica) and Julie Dore (vocals). Well worth its £350 collector’s tag price (before its CD re-release), the set spread a sense of squeaky innocence all the way from opener `The Snowdon Song’. However, it’d be tracks such as the BEATLES-esque `Eclipse Of The Moon’, Tony & John’s JANSCH-ish instrumental `Snugglyug’ and the salty AL STEWART-ish `Sargasso Sea’, that marked TC&J out on their own. The album’s highlights were arguably the acoustic `There Are No Greater Heroes’ and `Morrison Heathcliff’ (the best songs HERON & WILLIAMSON never wrote!), while Caro got her chance courtesy of `Waltz For A Spaniel’. Incidentally, the aforementioned CD re-issue added outtakes, including the glorious prog-like 6-minute title track, not on the original vinyl. Like too many one-off folk counterparts, the exercise was short-lived, with all three finding day jobs after a stint as Forever And Ever (also a track on the CD). 
Further offerings from the vaults (1972-77), came via the outtakes, rarities and live archival LP, BLUE CLOUDS (2012)……….. MC Strong 2010……………. 

All On The First Day by Tony, Caro and John was first issued in 1972, the result of a one-year burst of creativity triggered by a lucky encounter between us - three hippy folkie musicians - and our first decent tape recorder. It all started like this…..John and Tony had met in their hometown, Derby at the age of 11 and played together in various rock bands (called beat groups at the time) from their early teens. They graduated in the mid-60s to the folk club circuit in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire where, like everywhere else on the folk scene, experimentation was competing for attention with the traditional stuff. And if you are wondering where our sympathies lay in this little episode, check out Don’t Sing This Song…..They headed off to university in 1967, John to Sheffield and Tony to London. In London Tony met Caro, just arrived from Bristol, and they began playing the university folk clubs together. On graduation in 1970 John came down to London, others joined us and a flat-cum-commune was born. 

A lot has been written about the sixties and seventies as a social phenomenon, as a time of upheaval of values. However, at the time we had no idea that we were in some kind of historical transition. We were just being there. For all we knew, the eighties and nineties were going to be equally radical, or maybe there was not going to be any eighties and nineties at all. Vietnam was still raging, the Cold War was at its height and nuclear destruction was just around the corner - or so we thought judging by the Armageddon visions of Apocalypso and Children of Plenty. But man, did we have a lot of fun. The only rule was anything goes, everything is equally valid. Consequently, making candles, tie-dying trousers and getting into alternative mental states were at least as important as John and Caro’s day jobs and definitely more important than Tony’s postgraduate studies. The anarchy, naturally, permeated the music as well. Of course we loved Dylan and the Beatles, but at the time we were probably most impressed with the deliberate do-it-yourself amateurism of the Incredible String Band. Thus, on finding a battered old violin in a junk shop (Meg II) Tony naturally assumed he could play it (You assumed wrong - John). And it seemed perfectly reasonable to play two flageolets - neither of which were in the key of the song - simultaneously on Swordsman of Samoa. 
The songs were recorded by John on a Ferrograph tape recorder with track-to-track facility - quite low-tech even for the time, but the best we could do with almost no budget. The machine allowed us to overdub in mono, but only by re-recording the backing track every time. That meant you had to play the part right and mix the backing track in at the right level all in one go - tricky even on a good day. Luckily we didn’t know the rules or we would probably never have started, let alone attempted to mix in backwards guitars and seagull noises in Sargasso Sea! After a while we figured enough people had told us they liked the tracks, and that we had enough outlets through friends, clubs etc., to put it out on a record, so we saved up our cash, chose our favourite tracks at the time and had them mastered at Eden Studios in south London. We pressed 100 copies, we sold them quite quickly, then moved on…. 
Now, almost 30 years later, the reissue of All On The First Day has given us a chance to reassess what we did and did not include, and to adjust the balance a bit. The EP included with this reissue contains two out-takes from the album - Swirling Sphere and Children Of Plenty, and two tracks we recorded while the album was being pressed - All On The First Day, from which we cannibalized the album title, and Forever and Ever. These two tracks - both live favourites - benefit from us having just found a wonderful new lead guitarist, Simon Burrett, who had his own recording contract (with a band called Frame). We still play with him today. 

Shortly afterward we augmented the band further with Jonny Owen (Caro’s brother) on harmonica, Julie Doré (Tony’s sister) on backing vocals and Rod Jones (another childhood friend from Derby) on keyboards and started gigging in earnest under the name Forever and Ever. We played the rounds of the London colleges, worked with various drummers, and all in all had a great time. A few rough recordings remain of those gigs, including some reminders of pleasing audience responses and one graphic episode of Tony getting electrocuted and being catapulted off stage at University College London. Despite minor setbacks like this, we built up a nice little following but then, as often happens with bands, life got in the way…….we all split for different cities and different careers, kids arrived, the game changed. 

Were happy to say, though, that we’ve gone full circle and are together again - living within a few minutes of each other in London, still making music, still writing and recording songs. When we did All On The First Day we just recorded what was in our heads without worrying about what style or musical category we were in. Being under no pressure to deliver or to conform, we were able to jump from unashamed romanticism (Waltz For A Spaniel) to calls for revolution (Children Of Plenty) to trippy dream sequences (Eclipse Of The Moon, Morrison Heathcliffe) to personal angst (Hole In My Heart, There Are No Greater Heroes) with hardly a blink. Although the music we make today benefits from better studio equipment, the same philosophy remains. It’s about how you feel at the time, and its the act of creation that’s important. All On The First Day is about how we felt in the early Seventies - we hope you catch the vibe. . 

Tony, Caro and John London, 2001…… 

Tony Dore (tray back right), Caroline Dore (cover)and John Clark (tray back left).     
All voices and instruments by TONY CARO & JOHN, 
lead guitar and harmony vocal on “Forever and Ever,” 
lead guitar on “Ton Ton Macoutes,” “There Are No 
Greater Heroes,” and “The Road to Avalon” 
harmonica and backing vocal on “Ton Ton Macoutes,” 
jew’s harp and backing vocal on “There Are No Greater 
Heroes,” and backing vocal on “The Road to Avalon” 
backing vocal on “Forever and Ever,” “There Are 
No Greater Heroes,” and “The Road to Avalon” 
keyboard on “Ton Ton Macoutes” 
All songs written by Tony Dore, except 
“Sally Free and Easy” (Cyril Tawney), and “Pretty Saro” (Traditional). 

Forever and Ever 3:33 
Bye Bye I Love You 2:06 
Home 2:22 
Sally Free and Easy 4:24 
Where The Elephants Go To Die 2:18 
Ton Ton Macoutes 7:44 
Swirling Sphere 2:54 
Pretty Saro 4:18 
Children Of Plenty 2:19 
There Are No Greater Heroes 4:48 
The Road To Avalon 5:15 
All On The First Day (Alt.) 7:06 
Fountain of Snow 3:18 
Brigg Fair 2:53 
Reels (Live, 1974) 3:13 
My Grandfather’s Clock ( 2:38 

Previously unreleased recordings 1972-1977 
Tracks A1, A3, B4-B5 (1974) 
Tracks A2, A5 (1975) 
Tracks A4, A6, B2 (1977) 
Track B2 (1972) 
Track B3 (1971) - Outtake from LP All On The First Day 
Tracks B4-B5 recorded live at Collegiate Theatre, London 
Barcode printed on sticker of back of shrink-wrap.  

Tony Caro & John “All On The First Day” 1972 UK Private Psych Acid Folk only 100 copies pressed 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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