and now for the songs — November 5, 2021

From Pandamonium comes . . . deep, calming Thoughts and Words. As Vernon Joynson says, “[Martin] Curtis and [Bob] Ponton had been the founders and mainstays of Pandamonium but, tired of record company inteference, resolved in 1969 to proceed as a stripped-down duo.” Bob Ponton himself recollects (in the liner notes to the CD reissue of Thoughts and Words’ eponymous ’69 album from which today’s song is drawn):

It got me down. I went to bed and couldn’t get up for a month.

We were furious at the way we’d been treated, so decided to ditch the production-heavy approach and make more simple, straightforward music together instead.

We were getting more and more into acoustic sounds and absolutely loved the Incredible String Band.

As to the album, Ponton calls it “‘classical folk’ — many of [the] chord progressions are straight out of Bach.” Vernon Joynson calls it “a dainty collection of earnest folk-pop.” Richie Unterberger says in All Music Guide that:

Thoughts and Words itself is by and large pleasant folk-rock, but lacked either the identity or strong material necessary to make a strong impression on the late-’60s British rock scene. Certainly they were a versatile group, as “Morning Sky” was about as close as any U.K. act came to approximating the sounds of the Byrds circa 1967. 

I have never disagreed more with Richie Unterberger than with his first sentence. The album is stellar. Unfortunately, as the CD reissue’s liner notes note:

Despite the LP receiving enthusiastic notices in IT, Melody Maker and elsewhere, Liberty [the record label] did little to promote it and sales were sluggish. Morning Sky, the album’s soaring opener . . . didn’t gain momentum.

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