Spring - s/t. 1971 England

Spring - s/t. 1971 Dawn

CD reissues: 1992 Laser's Edge (USA); 1994 Repertoire (Germany); 2013 Belle Antique (Japan mini-LP)

LP reissue: 2002 Akarma (Italy)

Packaging: Well, they don't come any more collectable than this: An incredible triple fold out cover that exists in very small quantities. I talk some about this in the below notes, but this album was always beyond my budget. I started in the 80s with a (gasp) bootleg LP and didn't like the music - at all. I tried again with the Laser's Edge CD in 1992. Bought and sold quickly. Then about 15 years ago or so, I wised up. I eventually bought the triple FOC version on Akarma - but buying non-Italian albums on that imprint makes you feel a little dirty. But I'll keep it until I can get an original (ho ho ho, keep wishing there sonny). For years and years, I kept hoping this title would come out as a Japanese mini-LP. And it finally did this year! It's a wonderful package to behold. And the music continues to improve for me as well.

Notes: If there was ever an album that confused me on what the term "progressive rock" meant, it had to be Spring's sole effort (sans later bootlegs of course). What do I mean by that? Ah yes, quick context setting for those reading this. In the 1980s, as a young lad hungry to hear everything that was labeled with the almighty "progressive" tag, I can assure you that Spring was very much at the top of every catalog writers' best-of lists. THREE MELLOTRONS!! TRIPLE FOLD OUT COVER! LONG TRACKS! My imagination went wild. Then I got hold of some crappy bootleg LP that I no doubt paid way too much for (even then, originals were way beyond my pauper budget). You won't see that boot LP listed in too many places (good!) but it came out in the late 80s. Dull single sleeve. Dull vinyl. Dull music. Well... that's how I heard it anyway. Bootlegs are never a good way to learn about an album (lesson learned for a young Tommy), but this one even went beyond the sloppy sonics. As in - exactly what is "progressive" about this? My cynical nature was coming to the fore - more like 3 people who play the mellotron - not 3 mellotrons (which is probably a true observation actually). Big deal! Not a time signature change in sight. Whoopdee-doo. Had RYM/Gnosis existed in 1988 - this would've got a 2 star / 7 rating.

So what changed? Me, of course. Years of spending time with the original late 60s / early 70's progressive movement has provided me with the right context for which this album had originally come from. Now I hear something that was considered progressive in 1971, but maybe not what the term meant to me by 1988. Spring features some fine songwriting, and wonderful textures (mellotron of course, but even the fuzz guitar and organ too). Even Pat Moran's infamous nasal vocals sound good to me now! If you're a fan of the Dawn / Neon / Transatlantic / Deram branch of early 70s English progressive rock, then no doubt Spring will be a welcome addition.

2 comments:

  1. OK, time to admit it: I too was fooled by the three mellotron hype :-) And like you it took me a while to forget what it was supposed to be and appreciate it for what it really is. Gets a good 4 from me on RYM instead of the 6 ;-) I was hoping for.

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    Replies
    1. Haha - nice to see I wasn't alone in the world! Thanks Bas.

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