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Mellow Candle

+ {Flibbertigibbet} + {Alison O’Donnell}

One can trace the roots of MC back to 1963, when three Dublin Holy Child Convent schoolgirls (Clodagh Simonds, Alison Bools and Maria White) emerged as Killiney-rooted harmony act The Gatecrashers. In 1968, after sending tapes to disc jockey Colin Nichol at Radio Luxembourg, the girls were invited to record a one-off 45, `Feeling High’ (like a psychedelic FAIRPORTs) for CBS offshoot S.B.N.
Unperturbed by the flop of the single, MELLOW CANDLE Mk.II resurfaced in the early 70s, Alison and Clodagh were now joined by David Williams (guitar), Frank Boylan (bass) – ex-Creatures – and Glaswegian William A. Murray (drums); Alison married David and changed her surname accordingly. Released on the seminal Deram imprint, the David Hitchcock-produced SWADDLING SONGS (1972) {*8} took elements from PENTANGLE, FOTHERINGAY and even WISHBONE ASH. Group composition `Sheep Season’ was arguably the best on show here, while Alison’s songwriting and vocal prowess were restricted to three numbers, `Heaven Heath’, `Messenger Birds’ and `Buy Or Beware’. Clodagh’s ethereal and medieval prog-folk contributions came courtesy of SALLYANGIE-like `Silversong’ (the B-side of the rockier, STEELEYE-esque `Dan The Wing’), the JULIE COVINGTON-ish `The Poet And The Witch’ and `Break Your Token’. The YES-like rhythms on `Vile Excesses’ (penned by Williams and Murray), were verging into foggy prog territory, although the lyrics were always of the mystical ilk. However, the LP sold poorly, duly making it Deram’s most pricey artefact, selling today for upwards of 500 quid.
Clodagh subsequently sang backing vocals on the JADE WARRIOR album `Kites’, and guested for MIKE OLDFIELD among others; in 2006 she and Colin Potter (as Fovea Hex) released `Huge’ on German Die Stadt records; after a short stint together in the band FLIBBERTIGIBBET, Alison divorced David and became ALISON O’DONNELL, making solo records as recently as the ethereal HEY HEY HIPPY WITCH (2009) {*7}; she’d previously collaborated with neo-folkies The OWL SERVICE on their 2008 split EP, `The Fabric Of Folk’. Alison would join as array of genre-busting acts, including albums for UNITED BIBLE STUDIES, Head South By Weaving (`The Execution Of Frederick Baker’ 2012) and Firefay (`Anointed Queen’ 2014).
© MC Strong GFD 2010 // rev-up MCS Aug2015

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