This is a strangely compelling album.
I've just heard about the death of Richie Havens and this music is surely inspired by his generation's bohemian influence. It has the whiff of patchouli oil in its 70s sodden folk rock; you can smell the sheepskin jacket that the ever present flautist is wearing. The Band, Fleetwood Mac and CSN&Y haunt the tracks.
Yet lyrically the songs have the ambience of a 19th Century Arcadian drama; quaint and proper; there's an almost religious rigor to these tales of pioneering, settling and community building. If they remade 'The Whicker Man' (they already did?) and reset it just off the Donner trail these guys would surely write the soundtrack.
It's otherworldly and strangely familiar; there's something very traditional in the musicality and something quite charming in the simplistic trust in, and love of nature:
For myself I must remind, that the woods are usually kind. We like the newness, the newness of all that has grown in our garden soaking for so long...
This is earnest, earthy, optimistic music that's rooted in the past, yet music that reaches forward. I'm unsure of what the concept is, but there surely is one.
I'd like to think that Richie Havens would have loved this album's vibe.
It certainly makes me want for a better, bohemian lifestyle.
Woodstock or Wooburn?
That is the question...