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Monday, 6 August 2018

THE GARDENING CLUB REVIEW

https://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=20750


Springett, Martin: The Gardening Club
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-08-02 22:32:54
My Score: 



Here is an album I had no idea existed, that is until now. The artist is Martin Springett and the album is from 1983 titled The Gardening Club. The good folks from Gonzo Multimedia has seen fit to give this one a complete revamp and after listening to the album it is readily apparent why they did.

First a little about this enigmatic artist. Springett was born in the UK but moved to Canada in 1965. He recorded an album’s worth of material based on Tolkien’s poems from The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit. Unfortunately for Springett, Christopher Tolkien did not allow the album to be released. Springett played in a few bands in the late ‘60/ early ‘70s and moved back to England in 1971 searching for a record deal. After touring in England for a while he moved back to Canada and hooked up with his friend Don Geppert who produced and engineered the album. Looking at the artist’s website it appears Springett has been fairly busy releasing a number of albums, artwork and quite a few children’s books through the intervening years.

What a pleasant surprise listening to The Gardening Club has been. Springett has an exceptionally melodic voice and when paired with his lovely twelve string acoustic guitar the results are superb. The Canterbury and late ‘70s era Camel influences are readily apparent but it doesn’t overwhelm the disc as this album has its own voice.

The first track “Midnight Road” is a real treat for the ears. The gorgeous melodies and combination of acoustic and electric guitar brings a light and airy feel to the proceedings. The ‘70s influenced “Andromeda” has a pastoral/spacey approach with lyrics to match. Later the track gets quite heavy, a nice contrast to the lighter moments and the wordless female backing vocals add more lushness to the sound. The crisp and clean electric guitar fills in “Mole Hole Blues” and the gorgeous soprano saxophone, recalling hints of Pink Floyd, in the up-tempo instrumental “The Traveller” are more highlights. The floating keyboards and swirling rhythm guitars in “Three Days At Brighton” and the acoustic arpeggios in the pastoral instrumental “The Garden” are more fine moments to savour.

Also included are four tracks from the digital EP titled The Greenhouse released in 2016. These tracks were originally recorded during The Gardening Club sessions and make a nice addition to the original release. The first of these is “After The Glow”, a nice bit of proggy pop rock with excellent guitar work followed by the funky grooves in “Upside Down Blackbird” where the quirky rhythms remind me a little of Talking Heads. All the extra tracks are worth hearing and certainly fit nicely within the framework of the original album.

Martin Springett is a true artist, in every sense of the word. I just hope more people get to hear his music including a new album titled The Riddle that should be released this year. For now, check out this thirty-five year old platter. You will be glad you did.  


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO

The Gardening Club
CD - £9.99

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