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Formed in Liverpool in 1972, the religion-addled acid-folk trio of Sue McClellan, John Pac and Keith Ryecroft actually stemmed from the Trinity Folk, a turn-of-the-70s trio who featured on a `Sound Vision In Concert’ LP, an event recorded at the Albert Hall alongside Judy McKenzie, Carol, John & Aubrey, et al.
A modicum of success came in 1972 through their PYE-released near-Top 30 debut single, `Light Up The Fire’, a subsequent theme song for the Festival Of Light; parent album LIGHT UP THE FIRE (1972) {*4} was delivered to a muted response from critics and public alike.
PARCHMENT’s second set, HOLLYWOOD SUNSET (1973) {*5}, was augmented by Idris Jones (electric guitar), producer John Pantry (keyboards), Chris Lawrence (bass), Nick Ryan (bass and percussion) and Mike Wade (drums and percussion) and featured a cover of Washington Phillips’ `Denomination Blues’, but once again it fell on deaf ears. Other decent tracks on show were `Death In Jerusalem’, `Hard Road’ and `Dobbie’s Song’, most coming across as a hybrid of DOLLY PARTON, JOHN DENVER and The NEW SEEKERS.
Roping in Brian Smith to replace their newest recruit, Jeff Crow, and dropped by PYE Records (who shelved a third, long-lost LP), PARCHMENT re-grouped in 1975 for a somewhat overly-religious set for Myrrh, SHAMBLEJAM {*5}. Of the best songs, `My Man On Love’ took the prize, while there was a decent live feel to the jazzy `Speaker’s Corner’; `Light Of The World’ was poor man’s BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST (not quite The MOODY BLUES then) and nice ’n’ breezy formulating on `Long As I Can See You’.
REHEARSAL FOR A REUNION (1977) {*4} signed the band off (Smith had been substituted for Pete Yates-Round) for good in the studio, while their last live appearance was at 1978’s Greenbelt Festival. After some time away from the music scene, Sue (Mack) returned in 1998 with a new band, River, who completed a handful of albums: `Praise Him In The Streets’ (1998), `Rise Like The Sun’ (2001), `Shadow And Flame’ (2004) and `River Live At Riverhouse’ (2004), before disbanding after final gig in December 2006.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Sep2015

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