18 May 2014

Mormos - Magic Stone/ Hey Gilles

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1972

Like Head West who we discussed some entries ago, Mormos were an American group who shifted to France to try to gain an audience there. Formed from various members of the defunct Illinois-based psychedelic rock group The Spoils of War and consisting of James Cuomo, Sandy Spencer, Tobia Taylor, Anne Williams, Rick Mansfield and Elliot Delman, they produced intricate yet traditional acoustic sounds akin to the folk scene happening across the water in the UK, with elements of The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention in their sound. Why they based themselves in France rather than hopping over the English Channel to try their fortune in a more sympathetic marketplace is an interesting question.

They issued two LPs on CBS in France, "Great Wall Of China" and "The Magic Spell of Mother's Wrath", both of which are extremely scarce in their original pressings now, and even rare in the form of their subsequent nineties reissues. Tales are regularly spun about the group's relative popularity among French hippies, but clearly that wasn't enough to shift them to the levels of even moderate fringe success in that country, and their records remain highly sought after.

"Magic Stones", a single issued in the gap between the two LPs, is possibly the band at their most fluid and commercial - a merry, chirpy melody, performed and arranged with enormous dexterity, it will appeal to the kind of people who like their folk music to be simultaneously child-like and progressive. Any claims dealers make for their work being "lost classic folk" are wildly exaggerated, but it certainly could have done better than to languish in relative obscurity.

Sorry for the pops, clicks and surface noise on this one - it's not a perfect copy of the single, unfortunately.

1 comment:

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