24 February 2016

Michael Blount - Beautiful Morning/ Feathered Cloud

Label: York
Year of Release: 1972

While very, very few of the records were actual bona-fide hits, the sixties and early seventies must have nonetheless felt like a time when it was perfectly possible for many British folk artists to score deals with major labels. Even minor acts like The Wedgwoods put out scores of singles across the two decades, and LPs besides... I doubt many of these people (if any) lived in wealthy circumstances, but folk certainly had way more mainstream television and radio exposure then than it does now. Nick Drake might not have been prime chat show interlude material, but a lot of the other artists were.

Michael Blount is a case in point. Mainstream enough to score a deal with York Records, connected to the business of regional TV company Yorkshire Television, both sides of this single are sweet enough for you to hear their mainstream appeal, but rustic enough not to completely betray their roots. "Beautiful Morning" in particular has a delicate lilt though could have perhaps sounded better without the chocolate box orchestral arrangement. Still though, it highlights the fact that Blount was capable of writing uplifting songs about rural Albion in a careful and intelligent way.

"Beautiful Morning" was also granted a release in the USA on Decca Records, where it also failed to make much of an impression. 

He put out three LPs, one on CBS in 1970 ("Patchwork") and the other two on York ("Souvenirs" and "Fantasies") which have had a mixed response from fans of the genre. That weighty and lofty tome "Tapestry Of Delights" warns readers away, while other online sources recommend them - I personally would argue that the average listener's tolerance for his work is going to depend on their taste for contemplative Fading Yellow styled acoustic pop. It's not necessarily a bad thing in my view, but a lot of collectors tend to prefer to have more angst and experimentation in the grooves, which would account for some of the rather harsh overviews. 

Blount is also apparently still active on the circuit, making him something of a rare individual so far as this blog is concerned. 

(Confession time - I've also stolen the images for this blog entry from 45cat user The Toad, as I'm presently miles away from a usable scanner. If he or the mods at 45cat object, I'll take them down and replace them with a scan from my own collection in a few days time. Not having access to the usual facilities felt like a poor reason for not updating the blog!)


Arthur Nibble said...

I always wondered why the early York label didn't have the logo reversed, so you could watch the chevrons follow the main part of the logo as it spun clockwise on your turntable. I need to get out more!

Klepsie said...

To nitpick, the US "Beautiful Morning" was on London, not Decca.


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