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Garden of Jane Delawney
Inspired by British folk-rock progenitors Fairport Convention (and particularly by that collective's benchmark albums Unhalfbricking and Liege and Lief), The Garden Of Jane Delawney was one of two albums released by semi-mythical English quintet The Trees on CBS records in 1970. Alas, potential unfulfilled, they disbanded before the release of a third. But while it's true to comment that The Trees lacked the instrumental dynamism and dexterity of their more famous folk peers (the amateurish version of "Glasgerion/Jack Orion" included here could hardly hope to knock Bert Jansch off his barstool), they certainly had something that not even Sandy Denny/Richard Thompson et al could conjure up, namely an extant "other-worldliness", the fabric of which accounts for the The Trees still-ongoing cult appeal. The two prime examples here are the misty, salty beauty of "The Great Silkie", a version of the traditional "Great Selkie of Skule Skerry", derived from the old Orkney Islands myth of the Selkie folk, half-man half-seal beasts who come ashore at night looking for prospective brides. The other is the title-track itself the song "Garden Of Jane Delawney"--subsequently covered by both Gallic chanteuse Francoise Hardy and wispy 80s hippies All About Eve--is rightly regarded as an ethereal folk classic a supernatural fairy-tale woven from silk-like threads of harpsichord and acoustic guitar and intoned by singer Celia Humphris with a near-paranormal degree of spectral pathos. The song is the equal of anything in the genre, and the album is worth hearing for this track alone.