Mandy Morton and the Spriguns - Magic Lady (1978)

A non-request re-up but this album is so great (and expensive to buy) that it's an absolute necessity to have it available on this blog. If there is one (actually there are more than one) undiscovered musical treasure in history it's this one. Doom folk at its best with one of the greatest singer (totally monotonous tone I know but this reaches genius to my ears). If you are into Comus or String Driving Thing you'll be stunned. So here it is again. Don't miss it. 

Until recently, the only women that could inspire to me intense emotions were Billie Holiday and Melanie Safka. But this was before I discovered Mandy Morton, specially this album, and found that another woman voice could make me shiver. Mandy Morton has a very quiet voice but with something severe and a resignation in it that produces a feeling of fatal fate that I would call doom. She really is the perfect vehicle to carry a quality of despair more often represented in the funeral doom movement than in the classic folk one. It is true that traditional songs are often full of morbid visions and tragic destinies, but here Mandy Morton never seems to mimic these old times and makes these words as relevant today than they were in their times. It must be specified that all the songs are originals and none old ones arranged. The miracle is that the music perfectly suits her vocal approach, whereas in the english folk planet of the seventies, virtuosity and demonstration often ruined any emotional quality. Not here. The album is her first released under the name of Mandy Morton and the Spriguns. The previous ones were released only as the Spriguns. Honestly, no one of these previous works can rivalize with this masterpiece. They all have too much "exercices de style" on them to convince and Mandy has only a secondary role. Here, the band is at her service and she deserves it. All the songs are gems. It has been really difficult to chose one for a streaming listening. This post is the first of a long series from S'Heaven Tease, articles published in the music mag Xroads and in which I comment some obscure treasures of the seventies. These LPs are often impossible or very hard to find in CD, and most of the time quite expensive. So, to propose them here in reduced quality format such as the MP3 is, will help to know if you think they are worth the financial sacrifice. Mandy has published 2 other albums after this one, no more under the name of the Spriguns, certainly because of her separation from her companion, one of the founders of the band. They are not as fantastics as this one but still very good. She works for now several years in a radio in which she has a cultural show and I hope she doesn't miss the music since the music does miss her. Enjoy this magic lady here (the magic lady is Sandy Denny, dead the previous year and to whom the eponymus song is dedicated)

Here the text from "Witchfinder", that you can hear below

"They’re going to hang a witch". Shall we build the scaffold high to stretch their necks until they die? Shall we build the fire up to send them straight to hell? Oh it doesn’t matter how they go as long as we can make a show. Down through the mist comes the rider. The death bell tolls a warning to his prey. He’ll see us all in hell the witchfinder by torturing our life and souls away. And what kind of man is this the witchfinder, who calls himself a holy man of the cloth? His wretched form a constant reminder of all the night black hags that he’s turned off. He’ll seek out all our covens and destroy them, and cruelly send our sisters to their deaths, and rid our lands of powers that defy him until our dark lord has no servants left. And when he sees the marks of his destruction, he’ll think that he rests easy in his bed. But we’ll come in the night to instruct him. In the rules of the land of the living dead.



cgm said...

Thanks for this - really underrated and hard to find. Completely at odds owith the times in which it was released, whihc might explain its "lost" status. Thanks again !

dk said...

You're right. I think it's the main reason. Even me would have not noticed it at the time I must admit.

Sam said...

Righteous shit man! Thanks!

dk said...

Many many dl for this record. A great pleasure for me to see that such a wonderful singer can survive through the net

Anonymous said...

I do totally agree with what you say about Slade!
Thanx a lot for what you do : the ATV posts, the Mandy Morton too and the rest that i'll read later...
And... right, Death In June songs are pretty welcomed

dkelvin said...

Thx. Appreciate very much your comment. I'll have a splendid ATV rarity to post. I'll try to rip it from my vinyl this weekend. And some more Slade singles to come with gorgeous B-sides.