JAPAN IMPORT Made in England Castle Music Sanctuary Records Group. Alongside Renaissance vocalist Annie Haslam, Sally Oldfield is the other major British female vocalist to arise out of the 70s prog rock scene, the later part of the decade. This solo debut was the one that contributed to her recognition as a talented young woman, all the more admirable in a genre dominated by male acts. First of all, she proves herself a Jill-of-all-trades, playing a good 95% of what you hear on this release. Additionally, her writing style also displays the angular riffing, intricate time signatures, and subtle thematic transformations for which Mike is well known. But ultimately, it's the material itself on Water Bearer that makes it an outstanding effort. The entire first side is a classic slice of folk-prog at its best. With Sally's sweet harmonies, all of the songs here contain their share of moments that embody what I love about this genre at its most open and ultra-romantic. One of my happiest recent memories is listening to "Night Song" alone one clear night at a beach in Cape Cod, and it was just one of those moments you never forget, where music and environment coalesce perfectly. The second side, while not as consistent, still features some strong material such as "Weaver" and "Child of Allah." There are only two shortcomings on Water Bearer. One is the Tolkien references, saved somewhat by Sally's sincere delivery, the fact that this was still the 70s, and the novelty that for once it's a lady singing it rather than a Ronnie James Dio figure. The other is the wholly unnecessary but luckily brief vocal contributions of tenor Brian Burrows. But these are trifling complaints. This is considered by most everyone to be Sally's best work, and really it's a touchstone recording - the veritable blueprint of folk/pop/new age styling from which many female artists have borrowed from extensively since, if not outright stolen. Sally's influence should receive greater acknowledgement.
|Pavadinimas||WATER BEARER -SHM-CD-|