ACCOLADE - 2

After one-man band Don Partridge topped the charts with his two hit singles of 1968 he joined up with a bunch of like-minded folkies (including fledgling guitarist Gordon Giltrap) and formed Accolade. They released two albums in the early 70’s, of which this 1971 offering is the second, and by all accounts the best. Not having heard the first I cannot comment on reports that a lot of the songs were too one-dimensional, but their second certainly has a wide variety of folk styles, with ‘Transworld Blues’ featuring lyrics in a number of languages, and ‘The Spider To The Spy’ having an almost rock backing. ‘Baby, Take Your Rags Off’ is a bluesy acoustic piece with a bitter lyric, while ‘Cross Continental Pandemonium Theatre Company’ is a song almost as long as its title, clocking in at over eleven minutes but not outstanding its welcome one bit. The song is full of imaginative imagery based on carnivals and travellers, with Brian Cresswell’s haunting flute adding to the atmosphere, and the shifting tempos allowing all the group to shine on their instruments. ‘Snakes In A Hole’ is a cover of a song from obscure Swedish rockers Made In Sweden, and quite an unusual choice to do in a folk version, but they pull it off admirably. ‘The Time I’ve Wasted’ is actually the first pure folk song on the album, with Partridge and his guitar accompanied only by Cresswell’s flute, while the whole band come back for ‘Sector Five Nine’, which has an appealing jazz flavour to it. Partridge’s vibraphone introduces ‘William Taplin’, a pleasant-sounding pop song which actually deals with the dark subject of an old man looking back on his life and the people he has lost along the way. ‘Long Way To Go’ is a rocking folk number to end this excellent album, which if nothing else goes to prove that Don Partridge was not the one-hit wonder that many people have written him off to be. Out on CD and well worth investigation for anyone with a taste for English folk-rock.

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