Andwella — “The World of Angelique”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 22, 2023


770) Andwella — “The World of Angelique”

A gorgeous, ethereal and diaphanous ballad off of People’s People, the third and final album from Belfast’s David Lewis and his band Andwella (see #714). Did I mention gossamer?

Andwella’s — then Andwella’s Dream — first album is their most “famous” (among collectors). The “stunning debut LP ‘Love & Poetry’ . . . captures the moment when psychedelia was at the point of splintering into progressive and acid folk.” ( Well, Philip Chevron — yes, of the Pogues — says that the People’s People is “even better . . . . By th[is] time . . . [David Lewis] was at the top of his game, with a new maturity to his voice which gave added conviction to the material.” (liner notes to cd reissue of Love and Poetry). I agree!

Of the album, the Numero Group says:

People’s People finds David Lewis and his band of freewheelers stripping their sound down to the essentials. Emerging from the psychedelic haze, the trio find themselves at a crossroads of American southern rock and a pastoral English countryside and deliver an album with booming harmonies and transcendental hooks that could go head-to-head with The Band or The Allman Brothers. The final chapter in the Andwella story has all the makings of a classic LP, and if not for the Reflection label’s own chaotic dissolution around the time of the release, it probably would have been.


David Wells gives us some context:

[Andwella was] primarily a vehicle for the varied talents of pianist, guitarist, songwriter and singer David Lewis. . . . Something of a child prodigy, Belfast-born Lewis had been writing songs since he was eight yers old . . . by the age of 12 he was performing as a singer on various Northern Ireland TV shows. However, the Andwella’s Dream story really starts when he formed a Cream-style blues group, the Method . . . . [which] built up a bit of a following, and by March 1968 their leader was named alongside the likes of Rory Gallagher . . . in a Top 20 popularity poll of Ireland’s favorite rock and pop musicians. Flushed with such attention, the Method decided to move to London and try their luck . . . . Changing their name to Andwella’s Dream, they began to make the transition from covers to original material . . . .

Record Collector: 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records: High Times and Strange Tales from Rock’s Most Mind-Blowing Era

Philip Chevron adds that:

Irish radio in the 60s . . . took money — in the legitimate enough form of sponsored programming — to play cover version records by Irish showbands, a handful of them sublime, the rest truly awful. The showbands were a genuine phenomenon. In a rural culture which was still hooking itself up the the electrical grid in that era and in which not even television had yet made a major impact, the better showbands could draw three to five thousand people every day of the week, in enormous dancehalls . . . . In this climate, it took guts for a musician not to be in a showband. Van Morrison and Rory Gallagher were the two most celebrated defectors but there were dozens more . . . . Britain and America aspired to an underground a counter-culture, but Irish blues and rock was so involuntarily underground it was positively subterranean. . . . The more significant bands made this transition well. One such was Dave Lewis’s group The Method who . . . came out of the hub of the Maritime Hotel in Belfast . . . .

liner notes to cd reissue of Love and Poetry

Unfortunately, as 23 Daves says, “People’s People . . . sold slightly better than their debut but only by incremental levels. They split not long after the failure of People’s People“.

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