6 May 2009

Goliath - Port & Lemon Lady

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Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1970


As the sixties waved goodbye and everyone wept - or so popular culture would have us believe, but it's safe to say that wasn't universally true - the old guard didn't so much change their stripes as gently mutate into other beasts. The bubblegum brigade largely turned their attentions to glam (Mud and The Sweet had both been around and been ignored during the sixties, lest we forget). The garage rock acts frequently morphed into full blown hard rock bands. And then the psychedelic hippies, seemingly for want of anything better to do, carried on exploring their pastoral and experimental influences until, in some cases, we got something rather like this lot.

Goliath were one of several prog-folk acts to emerge almost exactly at the same time as the sixties faded, and whilst as a genre it didn't really have any big-hitting names like Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin, it nonetheless ploughed its own particular furrow for a rather long period of time. Unlike many of their rivals (or perhaps we should say "fellow travellers") however, Goliath had a distinct blues influences to their work as well, and were probably one of the only acts of the era to combine raunchy vocals- courtesy of lead singer Linda Rothwell - with puffing flutes. As the various cultures clash and compete for your ear's attention across the grooves, it should be a tremendous mess, but amazingly it all hangs together very well.

"Port and Lemon Lady" was CBS's choice for the single off their sole eponymous album, and is a rather merry little number which I personally find close to irritating, but the B-side "I Heard About a Friend" is rather more serious and satisfying and displays the band's strengths much more successfully.

Some critics referred to them as being the British Jefferson Airplane - whether that's the case or not, they seemingly never had an opportunity to record another album, and petered out a few years later. Their sole long player has never been reissued, and is now extremely collectible - the single features nothing which isn't already on the album and is as such less desirable, but still pretty scarce. Enjoy, although I do feel that this is probably an acquired taste, more like gin in that respect than Port and lemon.

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