Attending Cheltenham Art College in the mid-'60s Johnny Cropping and fellow student/guitarist Al Fenn had been in the band Love To Mother. Fenn introduced Cropping to fellow student/guitarist Dave Bell and the pair began writing and playing together under the name Decameron. By 1969 Decameron had expanded to include Fenn on guitar and violin player Geoff March. The quartet slowly began establishing a reputation on the UK club circuit, the members eventually realizing they might be able to make a living in music.
The band's big break came when they were signed by Vertigo, making their recording debut in 1973 with the Sandy Robertson produced "Say Hello To the Band". At this point, a word of warning. If you see this one listed as a progressive album, it's not. These guys were English folk-rockers. Having listened to the album dozens of times over the years, I'm at a loss to find anything even remotely progressive in these grooves. Long meandering jams ? None. Wonking synthesizers ? None. Intricate melodies with lots of torturous shifts ? None. Nah, these guys were better described as an accomplished set of English folk-rockers who were at their best when they upped the rock part of their recipe. Imagine Fairport Convention, or The Strawbs if they'd occasionally indulged their rock and roll demons and you'd get a feel for their repertoire. With Bell and Coppin responsible for the eight original tracks, other than the plodding acoustic ballads 'Judith' and 'The Moon's In "A"' there weren't any truly bad song on the album. Their more traditional English folk numbers like 'Byard's Leap' and 'Innocent Sylvester Prime' weren't going to appeal to everyone, but they grew on you with time. At least for me, the highlights came in the form of folk-rockers like the radio-friendly title track, 'Crows', the single 'Stoat's Grope', and the closer 'Shine Away'.
(Reviewed by RDTEN1 on rateyourmusic)
Listen : A1. Say Hello to the Band
An excellent Folk Rock album from start to finish !
Record : EXC+
Cover : EXC+ (see pictures)
Price : 50,00 Euros (+ the expedition costs calculated by the Belgian Post)
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