Saturday, September 13, 2008
Stephen Whynott - From Philly To Tablas (1977)
Here's a somewhat odd release that I think some of you will enjoy. I think it sometimes gets categoirzed as psych-folk but I think that's a bit misleading, there are definitely folky elements and some psychedelic or at least proggy ones too but there are also some jazz influences and the whole thing has a definite downer vibe. At times it reminds me of Tim Buckley, although Whynott's vocals are not in the same league.
The record appears to tell the story of a trip across the US, but it's a pretty uneventful trip. Whynott goes a few places, meets a few people, and manages to sound wistful about it all. There's a girl in Rock Springs who sings, then some flying without a plane, then some other woman who reminds him of a lioness, and then a trip into the mountains while it's raining. The lyrics are kind of trippy and a little annoying, at times, because they don't seem to be really saying anything. However, the overall effect works--you come away feeling something listless and removed.
The record does feature tablas as well as some other odd percussion. It was issued on the Music is Medicine Label in 1977. I haven't been able to find out much about Whynott but he did record four albums after this one: Apology to the Animals, Calico, Geography & Lost Land. Some of these you can pick up on CD if you search for them. This album is also available at a reasonable price.
One note: I'm not sure if I correctly assigned the Gamelan interlude between tracks 4 & 5 on side A to the correct location (with track 4). The Gamelan sound seems to come in again in track 5 but the only silence I could find was between the Gamelan interlude and track 5. The music is encoded as high quality variable bit rate MP3s and the file includes my own crappy photos of front & back covers. You can get it here. (I'm trying massmirror one more time since they seem to be up again & all of my attempts to post on sharbee failed).
I will be posting again this month, as a regular blog reader Mark has made his recordings of the two albums by the group Pollution (featuring Dobie Gray and others) available. My next post after that will likely be a Jackie Washington album (Morning Song) followed by the sole Bermuda Jam album.