A List of Things We Lost is the rare vinyl blog of the sometimes corporeal, always ephemeral Unbreakable Records.

Nothing posted here will be found on a compact disc. Links are lingering somewhere at the end of each post; go find 'em!

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Thursday, June 7, 2012


For those lovers of the (thankfully) bygone "freak folk" era of the early aughts, Accolade's self-titled debut [Capitol ST-597, 1970] is a small gem in the original genre.  The jazz-inflected, all-acoustic arrangements are mostly guitar forward, but supported by excellent bowed bass and wind instruments, though, surprisingly, precious few harmonies.

It's also a great example of how bizarre the rare vinyl market is, as you can find about 5 copies for sale online at most given times, yet at auction it routinely goes for $35, and is often set-listed for far higher.  For my money, it's not nearly enough like the Incredible String Band or Pentangle to warrant such erratic pricing, as most of the tunes are straight up folksy or bluesy light-rock numbers.  Also not sure why some people list it as having breakbeats - there's definitely some tight drumming in a funky mold, but a quick check on the essential Who Sampled shows that no one ever actually has used any of the record.  However, their superb cover of "Nature Boy" is on par with their label-mate Gandalf's freakier version, and makes the LP worth a listen, at the very least. . . although the inner Joycean in you will be severely disappointed that despite the amateur wordplay in the lyrics, the 12-minute "Ulysses" has nothing to do with Leopold Bloom's wanderlust but, rather the actual travels of Odysseus (guess a four syllable name was a little harder to chisel into the form and flow of the song). 

As a result, the mostly feel-good music comes off like the UK equivalent of the Lovin' Spoonful, while the excellent flute throughout puts me in mind of Jade Warrior, but less fuzzy and progressive.  Perhaps an even better comparison would be that Accolade was doing their across-the-pond version of American blues in the way that Danny Kalb & Stefan Grossman tackled British trad folk on their much underrated Crosscurrents.  

In any event, praise is definitely due to Accolade for having nestled comfortably in the weft of the flowing cambric of UK psych-folk's historical tapestry.

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