Saturday, May 26, 2007

Three Great Grapevine Albums

Bill Davidson Stars Wars of Darkness and Light. 1978. Producers: Sue McClellan and Pete Yates-Round. Grapevine 119.
Bill Davidson was with the Joy Strings, the legendary Salvation Army pop band of the 60s, and later played with another, rockier Sally Ann band, Good News, which, so far as I know, produced one great album of driving early 70s style rock New Life.
Star Wars was the first of two albums Bill produced with Grapevine. The second was I Belong To You, Grapevine 129. It shows him as an under-recognised singer-songwriter, using some of the new electronic backing that was emerging at the end of the decade. Publisher is MCPS, rather than Parchment Music.
Some great, and often biting, lyrics include the following: If Jesus came today he'd be a folk singer/He'd tell the truth like it has never been told./He couldn't blame the church for growing old/But he'd crucify the church for growing cold.

Or this:
See God's holy ministers playing at careers/Treading on the meek to get influential ears/Christian love gets so selective/that it sometimes disappears.

The cover tries bravely to reflect the ambitious theme but there's no light sabres! Drums by Pete Yates-Round, Bill does the backing vocals himself. You can hear the earlier New Life album here on the Heavenly Grooves blog.

(30/8/07) This album's now been posted for download at the Ancient Star Song blog .

Salt Beyond a Song. 1977. Producer John Pantry. Grapevine 111.
Celtic tinged folk from a Northern Irish band of four guys and two girls. Pete Yates-Round on the drums. Wonderful instrumentation with instruments including the Bhodran, claves, flute, tin whistles, mandolin, harmonica and 12-string guitar. Hovers on the brink of being a folk classic but let down by the limited contribution from the women vocalists. Publisher is Parchment Music.

Andy McCarroll Epitaph for a Rebel 1978. Producer Andy Kidd. Grapevine 116.

Hugely enjoyable soft rock album with a Billy Joel piano-bashing feel. One song Tombstone is a Dylanesque epic. Published by Parchment Music but no other input from the band. Keyboards by Pete Banks, of After the Fire and earlier of Narnia. Shaggy-haired McCarroll went on to form a New Wave band, Moral Support. McCarroll's first album Through Different Eyes Now came out in 1975 and you can hear it here on the Heavenly Grooves blog.

1 comment:

pf said...

Thanks to the wonders of digital technology, I've now had a chance to listen to Salt a little more. The musicianship is terrific, especially if you're a mandolin junkie like me. The album's mandolin intro is an amazing piece of playing. It would be great to hear from band members, if only to get permission to post a sample.