MOTHER NATURE Orange Days And Purple Nights (WHCD036)
Responsible for a pair of obscure but exquisite early 1970s baroque pop/psych/folk singles, Buckinghamshire-based quartet Mother Nature also recorded a clutch of home and studio demos in a similar vein during their 1968-72 existence. Orange Days And Purple Nightsfeatures the best of these recordings together with all four single sides and the original, previously-unheard acoustic demo of the beatific, era-defining title song.
"Imagine my surprise at finding that Chesham, my local Bucks teenage kick-about, had a psychedelic pop past! Resident quartet Steepy Rojo (later Mother Nature) not only managed to upset Mickie Most and make two wonderful progressive folk pop singles, but also recorded a bunch of similarly digestible demos and unreleased recordings between 1968 and 1972. By far the best moment is ‘Orange Days and Purple Nights’ aka prime Fading Yellow orchestrated bliss. The lush orchestral arrangement - reputedly by Paul Buckmaster - in combination with the delicate West Coast-influenced harmonies and folksy electric guitar work results in a sound musically not dissimilar from Marmalade’s ‘Reflections of My Life’ but with more kudos. Equally enchanting follow-up ‘Once There Was a Time’ maintains the quality but, as is the way with this kind of archival project, the material starts to spread thin when filling an entire CD. Nevertheless it remains worthwhile. Chesham…tell me more about Chesham..." (Shindig!)
One of the undoubted star turns on this year’s enchanting Dust On The Nettles box set, Mother Nature had – as far as anyone knew – only winked into being for a brace of unimpeachable singles before instantaneously sinking back into the underground folk mulch. However, the revelatory, dot-joining demos on this invaluable compilation elevate them to the head of the “great lost bands of their era” class. It could all have been so different. It took until 1971 for debut single ‘Orange Days And Purple Nights’ to gain a release, by which time the magic bus had long since pulled away. Winningly plaintive and decorously garlanded with strings, you’d swear (if you didn’t know any better) that the song was birthed at the exact clock chime when Kaleidoscope turned into Fairfield Parlour. Pleasingly, time has since proved it, er, timeless. The retrospectively-applied “progressive folk” label accounts for the band’s pillowy harmonies, plus a preponderance of mandolins (‘Games’, ‘Green And Brown’) and acoustic 12-string guitars (‘Dreamclouds’), but the aerated falsetto pop of ‘My Yesterdays’ and ‘All You Dreamers’ gatecrashes Badfinger and Supertramp territory. By the time you reach the dulcet, tinkling ‘Mister Pigeon’, you’re so besotted that you even forgive them singing, “Do you remember punting down to Kew?”(Record Collector)
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