THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
838) Agincourt — “Dawn”
This lovely gift of UK folk is a “jaunty and upbeat number with . . . lovely harmonies from the three charming singers.” (Psychedelic Paul, https://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=7290)
“Dawn” comes from an ultra-rare privately pressed album that Psychedelic Paul calls a “charmingly beautiful English Psych-Folk album to delight the senses and leave one feeling in a cheerful and ebullient mood. . . . conjur[ing] up bucolic images of a pastoral idyll. . . . full to the brim with lovely harmonies and first-class musicianship”. (https://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=7290) It is “an intricate, dreamy psychedelic album, made all the better by the fragile female vocals on offer from Lee Menelaus” (https://lightintheattic.net/releases/449-fly-away), “proggy folk with a bit of rock leanings, spiced with a bit of psychedelic west coast” (Gruvan Dahlman, https://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=7290), and a “psychedelic folk oddity [with] a quaint innocence fitting of the era and . . . shades of pop, a touch of West Coast and even jazz in places.” (https://www.forcedexposure.com/Catalog/agincourt-fly-away-lp/TDP.54056LP.html)
Richie Unterberger says of the album:
Though [it] is sometimes described as folk-rock, it’s really more accurately pegged as a combination of folk-rock (of the contemporary rather than traditional British variety), a bit of psychedelia, and a bit of swooning pop. Certainly it’s got more drive and catchy pop melodies than most of the plentiful oodles of obscure barely pressed British folk-rock releases of the early ’70s, though there are similarities in the gentleness of the approach and the wistful, slightly sad melodies. As these kind of U.K. folk-rockish rarities go, it’s certainly one of the better ones . . . ￼among the upper tier of things you should check out if you’re accumulating unknown albums in that realm. Lee Menelaus has a sweet, high voice that’s lighter and more innocent-sounding (to good effect) than many woman singers of the style, and the original tunes have a way of shining with pleasing sunniness while steering clear of the saccharine.https://www.allmusic.com/album/fly-away-mw0000467934
As to Agincourt, Forced Exposure writes:
Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) adds:
During the mid-1960s, deep in the Sussex countryside of southern England, aspiring musicians Peter Howell and John Ferdinando played in a few school bands before recording together in Howell’s father’s garage. Through Ferdinando’s connections with a theater group, the duo created a musical companion for their production of Alice Through The Looking Glass, which the duo pressed privately; then, Fly Away, credited to Agincourt, was produced in a spare bedroom, an advertisement bringing Lee Menelaus, whose lilting voice provided a stirring female counterpart to theirs. . . . Pressed in minute quantity on another private press, original copies have been known to sell for £1500 or more; the duo continued recording, notably on work credited to Ithaca, before Howell became a full-time member of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where he notably worked on the Doctor Who theme.https://www.forcedexposure.com/Catalog/agincourt-fly-away-lp/TDP.54056LP.html
The concoction of John Ferdinando and Peter Howell, two childhood friends . . . AGINCOURT was in fact not actually a band but rather simply a name given to the trio of musicians who recorded it . . . . Ferdinando and Howell recorded several albums in Ditchling during the latter sixties and early seventies, during which time they appeared at times as members and guests of various regional acts such as MERLIN’S SPELL and THE FOUR MUSKETEERS. The two (sometimes with Menelaus) also recorded albums under the names ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, ITHACA, FRIENDS and as simply FERDINANDO & HOWELL.https://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=7290
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