England has incredibly good folk music items. Some groups are more leaning towards traditional folk, some are more folkrock (of which Trees is one of my favourites). Some of the more original/progressive folkrock will be listed on these pages more easily (The Pentangle, Gryphon, Spirogyra, Fotheringay are some of my own favourites). And also The Spriguns are also one of the more original bands who were rooted in folkrock, but Mandy Morton thoroughly conceptualized her own visions, with the help of the band, comparable to what Sandy Denny tried. Sandy Denny was heavily admired by Mandy Morton, who dedicated the titletrack of her 1978 album to her, “Magic Lady”.
Even when albums like that and “Time Will Pass”, which are the strongest starters of all Mandy Morton & Spriguns related albums, we had to wait for reissues of these albums for a very long time. The band had started off as Spriguns Of Tolgus with more traditional folk inspirations with their own visions. Both albums are also very much worth tracing. Most of these albums were only very limited available mostly only through Japanese and Korean reissues.
Mandy Morton led much more the band away from the limitations in creativity of folk and even folkrock visions, but kept the whole typical linear heritage of England’s culture, with references to Renaissance and medieval times that brings an idea of magic, giving that way more colour and depth in background to the inspirations. Sandy Roberton did the production. He produced before the early folk/folkrock albums of Steeleye Span. Especially on the opener “Dead Man’s Eyes” we can hear a comparable approach of an influence of folk mixed with a straight rock rhythm.
The lush orchestrations on “All Before” by Robert Kirby* are comparable to some Sandy Denny tracks, while especially on the closing track, “Letter to a lady” the arrangements that confirm the old England blossoming days with bassoon and such, are most impressive. Most arrangements are definitely making the best of a singer-songwriting vision, with tracks that have rather progressive or often crafted even at times with its own subtleness, heavy rocking arrangements.
I must also mention how Mandy also has a beautiful coloured voice and singing and a personality and vision that give this album a masterly musically conceptual vision, which made this album an essential classic.
1. Dead Man's Eyes - 3:46
2. All Before - 2:44
3. For You - 3:37
4. Time Will Pass - 2:28
5. White Witch - 3:04
6. Blackwaterside (Traditional) - 5:13
7. You're Not There - 2:51
8. Devil's Night - 2:52
9. Letter To A Lady - 5:11
All songs by Mandy Morton except track #6
*Mandy Morton - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Wayne Morrison - Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitars, Mandolin, Vocals
*Dick Powell - Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
*Mike Morton - Bass, Vocals
*Dennis Dunstan - Drums, Percussion
*Robert Kirby - Orchestral Arrangements
*Lea Nicholson - Concertina
*Tom Ling - Electric Violin