The Daughters of Albion
a review of
Daughters of Albion, Fontana (SRF-67586)
In these troubled days of “super” musicians, I find myself turning more and more to the finer facets of newly released albums.
Whereas previously I could really get into many lengthy virtuoso instrumental solos, I now discover that second-best Claptons are myriad and that no one plays Clapton as well as he, so why bother?
All this lengthy rap, which probably doesn’t mean twenty francs to most of you, is leading up to the arranging and songwriting abilities and aspect of the “Daughters of Albion.”
This album is the sum total of everything implied by the words “production and arranging.” Greg Dempsey and Kathy Tesse from Hollywood provided the vocals for this album. I assume, since there are no credits given on the album cover or label, that they also wrote the material. Both are fine singers.
The highlight cuts are three. These are chosen simply because they are the best songs, sung in the most superior fashion, to the best arrangements.
“Still Care About You” is beautiful, as is “Hey, You Wait, Stay,” which I feel is somewhat related to the former. Both songs give me the distinct impression that they were both written for/about the same person. “Hey, You Wait, Stay,” the title and chorus line, is repeated, whilst Kathy sings it, in a whisper—nice on stereo.
The arranging is provided by Leon Russell of the Asylum Choir, and in whose basement the album was cut.
Leon’s “finest hour” is the seven minute musical diary of 1968, called “1968 John Flip Lockup,” in which a bad Liverpool accent describes how “...‘e ‘ad us believin’ ‘m, and the first thing you know we printed up all those posters. Then we found out ‘e was Pope Paul—in drag.”
Although multi-tracked and filled with sound effects, the whole song is an entity unto itself in such a manner that nothing seems artificial or strained. Even the musical tribute to Dylan and the phone call stolen from Zappa’s “Only In It For the Money” album have relation to the song and the ideas which produced it.
Towards the end of “1968” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together” by the Stones, the entire album, although sounding vaguely familiar, is all original material.
“The Daughters of Albion” is an excellent album. It doesn’t have “Toad” on it, or “Season of the Witch” or Al Kooper.
Why, it wasn’t even recorded live at the Fillmore.