ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS – Alice Through The Looking
There were a group of musicians in the North of England during the early 70’s who made several albums under a number of different names, including Agincourt, Ithaca, Friends, Tomorrow Come Some Day, and this one, Alice Through The Looking Glass. Although this is generally regarded as the best of the bunch, I actually rate Agincourt slightly higher. Anyway, back to this one – it is a concept album based on the Lewis Carroll book, with each song being about one of the characters or situations, and with the tracks all linked by excerpts from the local amateur dramatic society’s stage adaptation of the book, for which the group were commissioned to write the music. ‘The Alice Theme’ opens proceedings with a gentle flute led instrumental, leading into ‘The March Of The Chessmen’, another instrumental, this time on keyboards with a military rhythm. ‘Jabberwocky’ is the first vocal of the album, and while some of these songs have been feted for their psychedelic lyrics, it is only because Carroll wrote them like that, with this track being a perfect example. Many of the other tracks are in a folk mode, with acoustic guitars and flute much in evidence, and the vocal tracks are well sung with pleasant melodies. While obviously being restricted in what they could write by the fact that is was going to be incidental music in a play, they have come up with some pleasant tunes, and the other vocal tracks – ‘The Walrus And The Carpenter’, ‘A-Sitting On A Gate’, and ‘Whose Dream’ - are extremely good. It hangs together very well even today, although the stage excerpts could get a bit tedious on repeated playings. If you have the Agincourt or Ithaca albums, then this would be worth hearing for its connection to those groups, but generally I could only recommend this to avid folk fans.