Jeremy Dormouse - The Toad Recordings (1967, Can, folkbeat, Hallucination CDrip, single wav + cue, log, artwork)
*** Reviewed by great fellow Adamus67 ***Initially on Label: Void Records only 500 copy pressing. "Legendary Canadian folk/psych rarity from 1967-68. One of the hardest to find album collectibles there is. This recording also features a very young Lynda Squires (Reign Ghost) and many other Canadian folk notables of the day. Original cover art is here as well as liner notes . The master came from the band and sounds great, with male/female throughout. Standout cut for me is 'Believe Me', a folk gem of the day. This project is also related to the 'Rejects' LP, another lost Canadian rarity."
Reissue in 2001 by label Hallucination Records of extremely rare Canadian privately pressed 60's psych-folk artifact from 1967! PSYCHEDELIC FOLK, typical underground vibe. Featuring Lynda Squires (REIGN GHOST) and Cris Cuddy (Mr. Dormouse). This came from Bob Bryden's (CHRISTMAS) musical library and was specially remastered.
Dormouse (aka Cris Cuddy) had previously been with a late sixties folk outfit, The Rejects, who also put out an ultra-rare privately-pressed album. He is supported by a range of backing musicians on this horrendously rare privately-pressed album, which was housed in a beautiful silk-screen sleeve. Four of the tracks - 'Portrait For Marianne', 'By The Way', 'October Morning' and 'Apple Annie' - were penned by Chris Cuddy, one of the supporting musicians and four others - 'Young Face', 'Sometimes You Ain't Got Nothing Boy', 'Believe Me' and 'Small Man' by another, M. Waddington. There are interesting interpretations of Dylan's 'Baby Blue; and Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love', but the highlights of this superb album are the vocals of Reign Ghosts' Linda Squires on High Flying Bird and Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne'. Obscure folk LP with a transition sound from 60s coffee house into 70s downer/loner moves. Lost in time atmosphere and idiosyncratic singing and playing makes for a trip with a clear identity, yet the connection between the arrangements, vocal mannerisms and underlying tunes seems random and "for the hell of it", rather than conscious explorations. Some tracks work, others don't, and all over it's pretty inconsistent. Covers of Dylan, Cohen and Bo Diddley (!) come off more like insults than bold interpretations, while the Lynda Squires led take on "High Flying Bird" is pretty cool. Of the originals most is average contemporary folk, with a high-point in the only track not by Dormouse (Cris Cuddy) or Marcus Wattington, Don Tapscott's sublime 'Just To Hear The Bells'. The album is semi-acoustic with electric bass and occasional percussion. Oddly, the LP has a similar sound (minus the autoharp) and the precise same problems as the Folklords. The album was recorded in 1967, and precedes the Rejects LP sessions. The Hallucinations CD is titled 'The Toad Recordings' and shows traces of vinyl press noise and high-end distortion in a few spots.
(History of the band by Cris Cuddy, aka J.W. Dormouse)
It was my good fortune while at university to meet some exciting musicians including poetic composer-singer Marcus Waddington and his friends guitarist-arranger Peter Cragg and guitarist-singer Don Tapscott, both of whom had played in a trio with Marcus' future wife, vocalist Gail Nicholson.
At that same time I was part of a trio called The Purity Complex with guitarist Charles Meanwell and vocalist Lynn Perry at school, and back home was friends with guitarist Richard Gullison, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Dennis Delorme (aka Rev. Orval Rutabaga), his wife vocalist Carol Delorme and his partner fiddler-vocalist David Mazurek (aka Zeke Zilch).
At the Green Door Coffee House in Oshawa and the Bushel Basket Coffee House in Whitby I became acquainted with other musicians who also participated in the Toad recordings, notably Terry "T.R." Glecoff, John Gurney and Kathy Reid. Shortly thereafter, in Peterboro, pianist and now visual artist Stu "S.D." Cisco appeared as did vocalist-composer Paul Grady, guitarist Gordon Peck, banjo player Luke Wilson and his partner singer Paul Morin.
While playing with Gullison, vocalist Lynda Squires and bassists David McKay and Nick Corneal, the concept of the Jeremy Dormouse LP arose and led to the living room sessions with Mike Clancy engineering while the Waddington/Cragg/Tapscott songs were recorded at the university language lab by Peter Northrop.
The cover was silk-screened by Barry Gray on blank covers bought at a failed pressing plant's auction and the discs made by Quality Records.
After the LP came the EP "The Entire Castle Illusion" featuring two JD originals and two songs sung by Kathy Reid, one her own and one by Moe Ewart.
Contrary to the opinion of some collectors, the "Rejects" LP was the last of the three sessions, and the covers were completed by friends in Peterboro while I was visiting Britain for the first time. Many of these sessions were recorded at the country home of Cisco using his old tack piano, or at the home of Peter and Lynn "Moonbeam" Cragg and occasionally featured the formerly uncredited bass playing of Bob Boucher (Jesse Winchester) etc
Thank you so much Adam for that effort
There were numerous albums in the mid- to late '60s by the likes of Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, Eric Andersen, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Fred Neil, Bob Lind, and Phil Ochs in which the singers were tentatively bridging the folk and folk-rock sound. There aren't, however, many locally pressed LPs from the era that try to emulate that sound with a much lower budget. Jeremy Dormouse's Toad, released in Ontario, Canada, in 1968, is one of them. But even if you're a big fan of the singer/songwriters mentioned in the first sentence of this review, it's unlikely you'll take a great shine to this. It really is bare-bones -- sort of more like a demo presenting songs for the aforementioned artists to consider covering, rather than a full-bodied record on its own merits -- although the acoustic guitar that's the dominant instrumentation is sometimes embellished by harmonica, strings, and mild percussion. As a more crucial flaw, the songs -- largely originals, although there are covers of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," Billy Ed Wheeler's "High Flying Bird," Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" -- aren't on the same level as the work of the songwriters who are the obvious inspirations. And most gallingly, the singing ranges from adequate to poor, culminating in an album that straddles the line between the amateur and the professional, with one foot in the troubadour folk era and the other in an almost frightened, "dip the toe in the water" glance at early folk-rock. Actually, some of the songs, like "Just to Hear the Bells," "By the Way," "Portrait for Marianne," and "October Morning" -- several of which have a baroque-folk-rock tinge, and the last of which is quite reminiscent of early Tim Buckley -- aren't bad, and you could just about imagine some of them being sung by the likes of Buckley, Lightfoot, or Andersen. Those mild pluses, however, are outweighed by the overall mediocrity of the majority of the tracks, as well as the somewhat annoying lugubrious downbeat feel to some of the vocals and tunes.
(~allmusic) by Richie Unterberger
01. Baby Blue
02. Young Face
03. High Flying Bird
04. Portrait For Marianne
05. Just To Hear The Bells
06. Sometimes You Ain't Got Nothin'
07. By The Way
08. I Need A Friend
10. Believe Me
11. October Morning
12. Small Man
13. Who Do You Love?
14. Apple Annie
By The Way - Jeremy Dormouse
[Rip and Scans by gigic2255]