Week of May 19, 2002

Tea and Symphony


Dave "Clem" Clempson - Guitar
Jeff Daw - Flute, Guitar, Vocals 
Gus Dudgeon - Drums
Bob Lamb - Drums
James Langston - Guitar, Vocals, Woodwind 
Nigel Phillips - Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion
Anton Phillips
Pete Stark
Bob Wilson - Keyboards, Guitar, Bass, Percussion


An Asylum For The Musically Insane (Harvest SHVL 761) 1969
(Reissued on CD (Repertoire REP 4559-WP) 1995)

Jo Sago (Harvest SHVL 785) 1970


Boredom/Armchair Theatre (Harvest HAR 5005) 1969 

A progressive outfit from Birmingham who played some of the most esoteric and experimental music released on the Harvest label. They had some similarities with Principal Edwards Magic Theatre insofar as their act was a sort of travelling theatre incorporating music, drama and mime. They followed the above 45 with an album of interesting material which utilised a diverse range of instruments and some attractive vocal harmonies. They were assisted on this effort by members of Bakerloo and Locomotive. This is a pandemonium of wilful, oblique and obscure tunes, all filled with a manic musical magic that will either appall or take you by storm. Improbable instrumental combinations and unexpected barbed-wire dissonances are treated with excellent musical craftmanship. There is no sloppiness like Dr. Strangely Strange, nor any tendency to get mystical like The Incredible String Band. Instead the madness is musically and lyrically defined, which makes this album obligatory to anyone into this kind of style. A title like "Maybe My Mind (With Egg)" speaks for itself. 

The follow-up, "Jo Sago", was every bit as adventurous as their debut. The side-long title cut was an interesting attempt to relate the problems of a young Caribbean jazz musician living in Birmingham, but it pales in the company of the short tracks on the other side. These are more in the vein of the first album, but even better - ranking as among the best British acid-folk cuts. Sadly it was a bit too esoteric for wide public consumption and only sold a few hundred copies. It is now one of the label's rarest and most sought-after items. Both albums are recommended. The group split not long after its release but vocalist James Langston later resurfaced in the short-lived heavy rock outfit Mean Street Dealer in 1979. 

They are also featured on Harvest's Picnic (double LP) sampler singing "Maybe My Mind (With Egg)".

(Vernon Joynson/Marcel Koopman)

Taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson
ISBN 1 899855 04 1

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