Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Makin' Tracks by The Fivepenny Piece

Like finding a needle in a haystack, sometimes we don't fully appreciate a treasure we have in our online store-- until it's SOLD! I remember never taking a second look at this album, with its early 1970s hairstyles and the group posing in front of a big steam locomotive. Folkies posing in front of trains-- well, it just didn't stand out. Then we sold it and by tomorrow it will be gone; but thank heavens we dropped the needle on this baby!
If you, like me, often wonder how such immense musical genius can go unrewarded by the consuming public, you would like this vintage 1973 album too. And, you might like the group, which does have a website. The group is called The Fivepenny Piece, or just Fivepenny Piece, and the album we have/had is called "Makin' Tracks." The music speaks for itself, and rather than bore you further with my take on it, I will just reproduced the liner notes, by a fellow named Peter Pilbeam:
"Fivepenny Piece, a coin value 5np, which could equally well stand for 'five nice people': Lynda and John Meeks, Eddie Crotty and Colin and George Radcliffe who make up one of my favourite groups. I've been listening to them for a while now and, having heard this, their latest LP, I think it can be described as definitely one for your collection.
Our Fivepenny Piece has three faces, and all are here. For example, Side One begins with Lou-Lay-Lye, words by Colin Radcliffe and music by John Meeks, a combination of talents that occurs throughout any program by Fivepenny Piece. In contrast to this plaintive song, the nonsense lyrics of Land of the Musical Telephone have distinct overtones of Edward Lear. Lynda, with assistance from John and Eddie, sings about Winter Sun and then, again in complete contrast, Eddie holds forth about those ever-popular evening classes where gallons of Homemade Brew are made.
Emerald Dew brings Lynda and brother John together again with thoughts similar to those you must have had on a summer's morning, whereas John's The Old Tyrant bemoans the cold of winter. The tempo quickens with He Willy Nilly, the man who lives in the warm, warm sun and then we are at the end of Side One with The Journeys of My Mind; but don't despair, there's more on the other side . . .
. . . beginning with The Time is Now, in which our three vocalists take an inward look at themselves. A Gradely Prayer is one of three dialect songs included in this album; Eddie takes the solo part. An old Lancashire prayer provided the words, which still make a lot of sense.
The Passing of Today poses a question for all of us as members of the human race, whereas in The Day of the Rain John tells about . . . - but I'll not spoil the end for you. It's comedy time again folks, with a brand new song from our prolific pair, as Eddie complains I'm Henpecked! Last song but one is Rembrandt; it tells how that famous Dutch painter ended his days. Leaving you on a happy note, which is the way Fivepenny Piece always leave me, we have another nonsense song, a catchy tune with lyrics to match in See-Saw Song.
I can't leave these notes without mentioning the sympathetic backing of Colin and George on guitar and bass guitar; to me they help tremendously in the enjoyment of all these songs. Well, there it is, all "homemade brew" (to pinch one of their titles), and if this is your first experience of the music of Fivepenny Piece, I guarantee you'll come back time and time again to this disc and fifteen songs that are different. In this day and age that's saying something!"

A few other quick notes before I send this album out to the lucky buyer: A couple of familiar British musical stars are credited: Kevin Godley on drums and Alan Parsons as recording engineer (along with Dave Fleming.) Producer was Bob Barratt. The front cover photo was taken at the Dinting Railway Centre, Glossop, Derbyshire. The label is Columbia / EMI and the record number is SCX 6536. If you ever see this record in a bargain bin, don't let it escape your clutches!

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