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Friday, February 15, 2013

Hudson Ford - Free Spirit (1974 uk, significant progressive folk rock, Vinyl edition)

 Hudson Ford was the name of the band formed by Richard Hudson and John Ford when they split from the Strawbs in 1973. Playing a mixture of folk and rock not unlike the Strawbs they had left, they had a UK chart hit with Pick Up the Pieces peaking at number 8.

The original lineup featured Hudson (playing guitar rather than drums) and Ford, along with Chris Parren on keyboards, Mickey Keen on guitars, and Gerry Conway on drums. Conway left in May 1974 prior to the recording of “Free Spirit” and was replaced by Ken Laws. Mickey Keen left the band in December 1974 and was not replaced. The lineup remained stable from that point until the group dissolved in late 1977.

Their second effort "Free Spirit' saw the light of the day in 1974, and it's a wonderful mix of classic rock, progressive folk and psych vibes, amazing guitar parts and wonderful vocals completes the puzzle of a concise work..

1. Take A Little Word - 6:44
2. Free Spirit - 3:12
3. Mother Mild - 3:55
4. I Don't Want To Be A Star - 6:28
5. Silent Star - 8:27
6. Such A Day - 4:11
7. How Many Times - 3:13
8. Floating In The Wind - 4:19
Words and Music by Richard Hudson, John Ford

Hudson Ford
*Richard Hudson - Vocals, Accoustic Guitar
*John Ford - Vocals, Bass
*Micky Keene - Electric Guitar
*Chris Parren - All Keyboards
*Ken Laws - Drums, Percussion

Related Acts
1967  Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
1969  Ride A Hustler's Dream

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J F Murphy And Salt - The Last Illusion (1973 us, exceptional folk rock with jazz and country forms, Original Vinyl edition)

J. F. Murphy and Salt was an utterly unique sextet that became a popular college campus fixture during the early 1970s. The band's rebellious stance against the Vietnam War was part of the picture, but it was the original compositions by bandleader, J.F. Murphy, and an overtly creative non-traditional approach to the covers they developed that brought them such a dedicated fan base.

Dropped by MGM the band signed with Elektra.  Produced by Eddie Kramer, 1972's "JF Murphy and Salt" was a mostly live set capturing the band at a series of college performances including dates at The University of Hartford, Nassau Community College, and Trent State College.  The closing country-flavored track ' If Wishes Were Horses' was clearly a studio effort.   

Musically the set showcased the band's weird mixture of blues ('Kansas City'), country ('Country Jam'), jazz-rock fusion, traditional Irish tunes, straight-ahead rock, and social and political activism (the anti-war 'Waiting Hymn of the Republic').  It was definitely different and occasionally a bit disconcerting; particularly when they mixed all the genres together in one song - check out 'First Born', or 'Silver Horn' - the latter having a plotline about young guy trying to pass himself off as a Leprechaun at an Irish dance). Muphy was an okay singer who occasionally reminded me a bit of a bluesier Burton Cummings.  

All six members were impressive musicians (guitarist Joe Parrino deserved special notice), and there was no denying their professionalism, but there just wasn't much here that caught my ear.   The need to stretch out musically also didn't do the band any favors.  Their cover of the blues classic 'Kansas City' went on for over 12 minutes and was basically unlistenable. Guess you had to be in the audience to get the full effect.

1. Sweet Byrd - 3:44
2. Which One - 4:01
3. Teenage Fantasy - 3:20
4. Touched By Love - 2:46
5. Bell Toll - 5:16
6. New York City / Home - 10:38
7. Man Who Is Alone - 3:18
8. Last Illusion - 9:59
All compositions by J. F. Murphy

J. F. Murphy And Salt
*Ron Allard - Bagpipes, Soprano-Alto-Tenor Sax, Flute, Tambourine, Backing Vocals
*George Christ - Harmonica, Vibes, Conga, Maracas, Chimes, Backing Vocals
*J.F. Murphy -  Vocals, Piano, Guitar
*Bob Paiva - Drums
*Joe Parrino - Lead Guitar, Trombone, Flute, Backing Vocals
*Russell Warmolts - Bass, Backing Vocals

Related Act
The Merchants Of Dream - Strange Night Voyage 1969

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