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Bread Love And Dreams iTunes Tracks

Bread Love And Dreams

With mentors PENTANGLE, The INCREDIBLE STRING BAND and DONOVAN all the rage, BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS designed their twee template of flower-power prog-folk possibly a little too late in the day to obtain any real credibility. Formed 1968 in Edinburgh by David McNiven and Angie Rew, the pair completed the line-up with third singer Carolyn Davis.
Discovered at a festival by Decca producer Ray Horricks, the trio ventured south to London, where they toured alongside TYRANNOSAURUS REX and MAGNA CARTA. The group’s eponymous acid-folk debut, BREAD LOVE AND DREAMS (1969) {*6} – which featured their one and only 45, `Virgin Kiss’ – sprung all the above comparisons, although themes of melancholy, mystical storytelling (told by Glaswegian McNiven) over haunting strings gave them some sort of musical identification. Tracks such as `Mirrors’, `Artificial Light’ and `Yellowbellied Redback’ arguably stood out from the pack, making this set – as with their other two – somewhat rare and extremely pricey. It was noted too, that if BERT JANSCH had fronted The INCREDIBLE STRING BAND (circa 1968 with Rose Simpson and Licorice McKechnie on board), this is how they would have sounded.
Having subsequently spent time working on a project with actors at their local Traverse Theatre, director Max Stafford commissioned one piece, `Mother Earth’, which later became the lengthy `Amaryllis’.
Surfacing from the studio in mid-1970, the duo – now without the parting Davis – were advised not to go the road of Messrs HERON and WILLIAMSON and their `Wee Tam & The Big Huge’ double set, opting instead for single set, THE STRANGE TALE OF CAPTAIN SHANNON AND THE HUNCHBACK FROM GIGHA (1970) {*7}. With an array of session talent including bassist Dave Richmond, Alan Trajan (organ and piano), co-arranger Graham Robertson, conductor Robert Cornford, plus the PENTANGLE alumni Terry Cox (percussion) and Danny Thompson (double bass), the album should’ve shifted bigger sales numbers. With sides split into semi-acoustic and acoustic, tracks such as McNiven’s `Hymn For Sylvia’ (very PETER SARSTEDT), `Masquerade’ and the brilliant `He Who Knows All’, led the best of side one. Side two saw McNiven take a leaf from 19th century children’s writer, Lewis Carroll, who was co-credited as the inspiration for `The Lobster Quadrille’. Rew, meanwhile, contributed two pastel/ISB-like cues, `Butterflyland’ and `Sing Me A Song’, while original member Carolyn Davis got behind her solitary MARY HOPKIN-esque leftover, `Purple Hazy Melancholy’. To give the set its finale with fine picturesque aplomb, McNiven went SARSTEDT again for the dreamy, 7-minute title track, apparently based on a pipe-smoking seaman living in a wooden hut in Gigha in the Inner Hebrides.
Released more than half a year on, AMARYLLIS (1971) {*7} – showcasing the lengthy title track on one side – was very progressive and adventurous for a so-called folk-rock act. The dark, PINK FLOYD-ian instrumental Part 1’s opening two minutes was defiantly saddled with `Captain Shannon’ leftover `Out Of The Darkness And Into The Night’. A concept piece – much like the work of The INCREDIBLE STRING BAND again! – the `Amaryllis’ saga continued through the 10-minute journey of `Zoroaster’s Prophecy’ and poem/”part 3”, `Light’. Back to convention and standard-length song structure, side two was highlighted by `Time’s The Thief’, `Circle Of Night’ and the Rew-penned `Brother John’, the latter BL&D’s best offering of all time. One of folk-rock’s long-lost treasures, it was more than a pity that the duo subsequently split.
© MC Strong 2002-2010/GSM-GFD // rev-up MCS Aug2015

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