CAEDMON – Caedmon (1978)

Review by: Charly Saenz
Album assigned by: Ed Luo

So much interesting music from Scotland, right? Caedmon’s is not an exception. This album (their only one until a recent comeback record) comes from 1978, but might as well be from 1972 or 1969.

There is a Christian background, a Christian impulse, let’s say, and if Christ gets you to write such great songs, well, count me in for Salvation! 

You have pretty much everything in here. Biting electric guitar, pulsating bass, both competing with several acoustic instruments. And the great female 
voice of Angela Naylor. She’s really an angel in the best Annie Haslam tradition. 

Take “Ten Maidens Fair” as an example. The leading female voice, that middle age chorus, that *hard* rock guitar, the sublime organ, the mandolin. Great interplay in fact. “Maker man”, more jazzy, almost Bossa Nova in certain bits, great percussion, tasty guitar, a drone feeling that sticks around.

Or “Death Of A Fox”, which is like full speed Folk, with horns and another great bassline, until the Violin is left alone to great effect, to be swept away by a sudden acoustic guitar and the Angel Voice of Angela (seriously I just realized her name is that adequate). These are four non-idle minutes, believe me.

“Sea Song” is Floydish to my ears, started by the male singer this time. Haunting specially when the electric guitar steps in and grows stronger, with a furious acoustic guitar trying to keep pace. 

“Aslan” has a great bass introduction, a chant somewhere, the electric guitar with the bass always upfront: frenzy. And then, the violin rushes into madness over the vocals…  But it’s the turn of the guitar and the voices end up singing for their lives. Those cellos!
“Beyond the Second Mile” is something I’m sure Led Zeppelin would have loved to include in their III album but heck that happened nearly 10 years before.

“Living in the sunshine” is another highlight, almost experimental for the record, quite jazzy too, goes off the beaten path while staying on the pretty sound of the whole set. A magnificent song.

On the second side (Kids, there used to be two sides in those LPs you know!) it gets a little tiring, maybe it’s just me or maybe the first side is so gorgeous that I don’t need anymore. Nothing offending, except perhaps “Give Me Jesus” which is, maybe just too explicit, a little dull indeed. But then again this is a Christian band, so that’s acceptable.

Nothing prevents this from being a beautiful experience. And it comes to show, that folk rock (or any genre, for the matter) doesn’t have to repeat formulas. Forever Changes from 1978? That’s surely going too far, but indeed they get a great mix of ingredients in this timeless album. 

A compelling listen for those who want to fly without wings or substances. Just plain old good music.

Author: tomymostalas


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