DEAR MR. TIME Grandfather (WHCD029)

1. Birth – The Beginning

2. Out Of Time

3. Make Your Peace

4. Yours Claudia

5. Prelude (to Your Country Needs You?)

6. Your Country Needs You?

7. A Dawning Moonshine

8. Years And Fortunes

9. A Prayer For Her

10. Light Up A Light

11. On A Lonely Night

12. Grandfather

Bonus tracks

13. Only Fooling

14. Henrietta Hall

15. Not Now At All

16. Victorian Blue

17. This Place Was Us Was Home

Highly sought-after on the collectors’ circuit for many years, the Dear Mr. Time album Grandfather is an obscure but genuinely impressive example of the British late psychedelic/early progressive rock sound, firmly in the same vein as the likes of the Moody Blues and early King Crimson. Originally released in February 1971 by the small independent label Square Records, it now finally receives a first-ever official reissue. Taken from the original master tapes, this definitive release adds a batch of home demos of similar vintage by the band’s guitarist and chief songwriter Chris Baker. It also tells the band’s story for the first time and includes many previously unpublished photos.

 

“As concept albums go, Dear Mr Time’s Grandfather could be a distant relative of S. F. Sorrow, being a WW1-based reverie upon one man’s episodic lifestyle. The very minute the brooding King Crimson flute and pious Moodies harmonies kick in on ‘Birth, The Beginning’, it is instantly apparent upon which side these Chelmsford challengers liked their bread buttered. Originally issued in a meager run of 1000 copies on the miniscule independent Square label in 1971, Grandfather may well wear its influences like peacock feathers – see also the ‘Schizoid Man’-derived stop-time riffing of ‘Your Country Needs You’ and ‘A Distant Moonshine’, and the ardent Graeme Edge-style spoken word passages in ‘On A Lonely Night’ – but it earns its own validity thanks to guitarist Chris Baker’s propensity for penning uncommonly pretty acoustic vignettes (‘Yours Claudia’, ‘Years And Fortunes). Besides which, you wouldn’t find the chuckling banjo and floppy boot stomp of the excellent single ‘A Prayer For Her’ on any King Crimson album.” (Shindig!)

As everybody knows, prog is supposed to sound a bit pompous and overblown – which is possibly why this local Essex band’s particular take on the King Crimson/Moody Blues’ schtick sounds somewhat underblown. The songs, perhaps inevitably, trace a conceptual trail through a man’s life in the 20th Century, from Birth – The Beginning, via war and love to Grandfather; but no amount of attempts to inflate the sound with brass, cello, Mellotron and square-peg folksiness can help it sound anything other than modest, ambitious… ultimately second division. Recorded for the tiny Square label in 1971, only 1,000 copies were originally pressed up, making it an inevitable “sleeper” of enormous value to collectors. The best-known track, ‘Your Country Needs You?’, appeared on the Perfumed Garden 5-CD box set of English psych. In truth, though, these are post-psych sounds looking back three long years to In Search Of The Lost Chord. Even so, in the less lumpy tracks, repeated plays will have you asking, “What if?” And when it comes to such whimsical nostalgia, who said there’s anything wrong with second division?” (Record Collector)

 

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