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THE BEVIS FROND – AN INTRODUCTION TO (2023) (Fruits de Mer Records)

I was late to discover this wonderful band masterminded by Nick Saloman, and had a lot of catching up to do. I enjoyed this period of my listening life immensely as I made my way through albums like “London Stone”, “Valedictory Songs” and “What Did for the Dinosaurs”; on the latter two Nick was joined by bassist Ade Shaw, most famous for his work with HAWKWIND (who nearly became a member of T. REX) and legendary CAMEL drummer Andy Ward, not forgetting his old confrere from the early days, Bari Watts.

This CD, to be released on 9th December, is not a career retrospective, but a compilation of tracks that have previously appeared on the Fruits de Mer label as well as unreleased songs. It starts with an early blues number as The Saxons followed by a faithful cover of THE BEATLES’ ‘Glass Onion’, a couple of creditable tracks (‘I’m A Stone’ and ‘Not Quite Home’) from FdM, and great covers of ‘Hard, Hard Year’ from THE HOLLIES’ ‘Revolution’ album and ‘Sand’ from American psych rockers CLEAR LIGHT’s only album. Nick is a well-known connoisseur of obscure psych and acid rock and extends the eight-minute opener of the Krautrock band Electric Sandwich’s only LP to 24 minutes (one side of the 2015 FdM box-set “Sideways”).

The unreleased demos are great and I liked the way tracks segue into one another, as is the case with ‘Not Until I Feel It’ with its DYLAN-esque lyric. ‘Condition Blue’ brought back fond memories of Ian Hunter singing on early MOOT THE HOOPLE, albums I still play. Albums by The Bevis Frond should never be far away from turntables or CD players either: the flowing guitar lines, plaintive vocals and retro keyboard sounds are deployed in a totally authentic way to capture the spirit of the late 60s and early 70s and propel it into subsequent decades. The CD can be pre-ordered from Keith Jones at FdM – see the link at the bottom of our home page.

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