The autumnal sound of Britain at the turn of the 70s, looking out through wet window panes to a new decade with a mixture of melancholy and optimism for what might come next. With The Beatles gone and the pound sinking, a new and distinctive sound emerges, led by flutes and mellotrons. Available in 18-track CD and 19-track double LP formats. The LP version is pressed on 180g vinyl in heavy-duty gatefold sleeve.
Any song on this collection could have been on the soundtrack of Bronco Bullfrog, Barney Platts-Mills’ film about bored youth trying to get its kicks in crumbling 1969 East London; each of them could have been the title song for the same director’s Private Road, with its young couple holed up in a country cottage, directionless, travelling without a destination. The post-psychedelic, pre-progressive age was brief, but rarely has contemporary music summed up a sense of place and time so perfectly. Some of these songs pre-date and post-date this era but all of them share an atmosphere.
Plenty of the acts on this compilation only got to make one album. Some got to make many more, but even with the bands who became leviathans of progressive rock, their debuts tended to be more focused, more human-sized; significantly, they pre-dated the term, and therefore the connotations of “prog”.
English Weather was also the name of a record shop I loved when I first moved to London, out in Crouch End which, back in the mid-80s, was deep bedsitter land. The shop was run by Dark Star magazine’s Steve Burgess – a major influence on my tastes and my writing, Steve put me onto records such as Mellow Candle’s Swaddling Songs, Fairfield Parlour’s From Home To Home and the now-venerated Spring album: “It may look like prog”, he said of Spring, sensing my scepticism at the peak of prog’s unfashionability, “but it's beautiful”. He was right. I hope he’d have liked this selection.
1. Caravan - Love Song With Flute
2. The Roger Webb Sound - Moon Bird
3. The Parlour Band - Early Morning Eyes
4. Scotch Mist - Pamela
5. Spring - The Prisoner (Eight By Ten)
1. The Orange Bicycle - Last Cloud Home
2. T2 - JLT
3. Bill Fay - Til The Christ Come Back
4. Van Der Graaf Generator - Refugees
5. Aardvark - Very Nice Of You To Call
1. John Cale - Big White Cloud
2. Belle Gonzalez - Bottles
3. The Way We Live - Watching White Stars
4. Offspring - Windfall
5. Camel - Never Let Go
1. Daevid Allen - Wise Man In Your Heart
2. Matching Mole - O Caroline
3. Prelude - Edge Of The Sea
4. Alan Parker and Alan Hawkshaw - Evening Shade
Release Date: 27 Jan 2017