Friday, 8 July 2016

"Morning Way" by TRADER HORNE (2015 Earth Records 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...







"...Here Comes The Rain..."

This obscure and rare Vinyl LP from 1970 "Morning Way" by TRADER HORN (booked at £150 with its insert but can sell for twice that and more) has seen its share of CD reissues - Sanctuary's Castle Music in 2000 and Cherry Red's Esoteric Recordings in 2008.

Now its the turn of new kids on the Acid-Folk block - 'Earth Records' of the UK who focus on seriously rare Folk and its musical environs – British ex Pentangle guitar virtuoso Bert Jansch, America's folky Jackson C. Frank (produced by Paul Simon and featuring a non-album S&G song "Blues Run The Game"), Australian multi-instrumentalist and cult artist Steve Warner and Tasmanian hippy Howard Eynon who recorded one album in 1974 delightfully called "So What If I'm Standing in Apricot Jam" (know what you're saying mate).

This 2015 Earth Records CD Reissue of Trader Horne's lone outing on Dawn Records apes the track run of the Esoteric Recordings version in that it includes two Bonus Tracks - their one-off non-album UK 7" single "Here Comes The Rain" b/w "Goodbye Mercy Kelly" from February 1970.

TRADER HORNE was essentially a man and woman duo - Northern Ireland's multi-instrumentalist JACKIE McAULEY (born in Coleraine) who was ex Belfast Gypsies and Them while JUDY DYBLE had of course fronted Fairport Convention on their 1968 debut Polydor Records LP prior to Sandy Denny joining for 1969's "What We Did On Holidays" (she also spent a brief stint with the offshoot King Crimson trio - GILES, GILES and FRIPP). McAuley and Dyble supplemented their sound with three sessionmen of re-known (see Players below). Here are the Children of Oare and Elven Kings (if you know what I'm saying)...

UK and USA released 16 October 2015 – "Morning Way" by TRADER HORNE on Earth Records EARTHCD006 (Barcode 809236170675) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster in a 5” Single Sleeve Card Repro with a Gatefold Insert and Two Bonus Tracks. It plays out as follows (52:51 minutes):

1. Jenny May
2. Children Of Oare
3. Three Rings For Elven Kings
4. Growing Man
5. Down And Out Blues
6. The Mixed Up Kind 
7. Better Than Today [Side 2]
8. In My Loneliness
9. Sheena
10. The Mutant
11. Morning Way
12. Velvet To Atone
13. Luke That Never Was
Tracks 1 to 13 are their debut and only album "Morning Way" - released early March 1970 in the UK on Dawn Records DNLS 3004 and in the USA on Janus JNS 3012. Produced by BARRY MURRAY - it failed to chart in either country.

All songs are Jackie McAuley originals except three - a cover version of the Traditional "Down And Out Blues" while "Morning Way" is by Judy Dyble and "Luke That Never Was" is a co-write between Judy Dyble and guitarist Martin Quittenton who played on all of the Rod Stewart albums between 1969 and 1973 on Mercury Records (including "Maggie May"). 

BONUS TRACKS:
14. Here Comes The Rain
15. Goodbye Mercy Kelly
Tracks 14 and 15 are the A&B-sides of a non-album 7" single released February 1970 in the UK on Dawn Records DNS 1003. 

The Players:
JACKIE McAULEY - Lead Vocals Guitar, Harpsichord, Organ, Piano, Flute, Congas and Celeste
JUDY DYBLE - Lead Vocals, Electric Auto-Harp and Piano
RAY ELLIOTT - Alto Flute and Bass Clarinet
JOHN GODFREY - Bass Guitar and Arranger
ANDY WHITE - Drums

It's as well that Earth Records put a large info sticker on the shrinkwrap of the single card sleeve – because apart from the repro of the fabled and rare gatefold insert that came with original LPs – there's no booklet and therefore bugger all info by way of anything. There's an 'Earth Records' inner card sleeve (the same generic label inner came with my copy of Bert Jansch’s beautiful "Avocet" - equally bare) that has a logo but no other info. Frankly to be charging full whack for this CD (which is what I paid for it) – it’s a bit tread-bare to say the least and is docked a star for lack of effort and imagination. And although their adverts promise and suggest a 'Remaster' – there are no mastering credits or reissue details anywhere on the packaging or disc. So neither you nor I know where 'Earth Records' got this CD remaster. The sound is good if not a little hissy in places – at times its even beautiful (much like the music). I don't have the former CD reissues so I can't compare but let's just say that it sounds good rather than great...

The sticker declares the album to be a 'shining example of British Psychedelia’ that is utter tosh. This is a Folk LP with more Madrigal arrangements that hard-hitting fuzz guitar workouts. You could put better songs like the Mellow Candle melodic "The Mixed Up Kind" and the Jethro Tull influenced Flute Acoustic and Piano "The Mutant" firmly into the Acid-Folk category ("Mutant" turned up on the "Dust In The Nettles" 3CD Box Set - see review). But twee stuff like the Instrumental "Three Rings For Elven Kings" and the dated madrigal "Growing Man" is hard to take. Judy Dyble alone handles the excellent "Down And Out Blues" and the Piano/Vocals of "Velvet To Atone" is stark Kate Bush (but a hissy transfer I'm afraid). The co-write with Rod Stewart's guitarist Martin Quittenton on "Luke That Never Was" gives us a pretty strummer - but best of all is the A-side to the single "Here Comes The Rain" - a genius melody that's better than much of what's on the album. Sanctuary Records chose it as good representative track on their "Garden Of Delights" CD compilation in 2006 compiled by Pete Lawrence and AJ of 'The Big Chill' Radio Program.

Judy Dyble would be replaced by Saffron Summerfield (sometimes known as just 'Saffron') but the band split before recordings were made. Summerfield would have her own Folk career in the 70ts, played with Lol Coxhill and made music into the 00's.

Like so many albums from the period - it's part knob - part brilliance. But thankfully the album has more good than bad...those magic moments being so worth it...

PS: Earth Records also pressed a limited edition COLOURED VINYL Edition of the Reissue (1000 Copies) 

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