Spriguns was a folk rock group that participated in the tail end of the limited popularity of English electric folk. Fairport and Steeleye Span had cornered the market, and the genre wasn’t doing all that well as a whole (more’s the pity). Nonetheless, Spriguns managed to make a couple of very nice records for Decca in the mid to late seventies. The band was lead by vocalist Mandy Morton, who possessed some pretty, Sandy Denny-esque dulcet tones.
This is their second record after dropping the “of Tolgus” from their name. Earlier the band had concentrated on traditional material mainly, but this album finds Morton stretching out as a songwriter. All of the tunes have traditional-style melodies, but the lyrics are usually more sparse. Morton had a penchant for dark tales of witchcraft and war, with the occasional love song thrown in. The band’s sound was quite close to that of “All Around My Hat” Steeleye Span at the time, with some big guitar riffs creeping in, as well as some ripping electric violin, but with an overall dark, morose feel. Orchestral arrangements on a couple of tunes were provided by Robert Kirby (N. Drake’s arranger). Kirby had joined the Strawbs at this time, and there is a great deal of crossover appeal to Strawbs fans here, since there are also a lot of good atmospheric keyboard (mostly string synth) parts as well.
Despite a bit of saminess in the vocal melodies, I was pleasantly surprised by this record, which I would heartily recommend to fans of Steeleye Span, Strawbs, Renaissance, Illusion and maybe even Gryphon as well. (by Heptade)
This is Spriguns’ follow-up to Revel Weird and Wild, and it is much more pop-oriented than that 1976 offering. All but one song was composed by lead singer Mandy Morton, and fiddler Tom Ling, who was a full-time member on Revel Weird and Wild, was relegated to guest musician here; so the traditional or folk elements were noticeably reduced. Robert Kirby’s lush orchestration adorns three selections in a manner similar to Sandy Denny’s Like an Old Fashioned Waltz.
Sandy Roberton, who produced Steeleye Span’s early folk albums, opted for a more pop and rock sound, as the implementation of electric keyboards and rock guitar demonstrates. This would be the last album for this band under the name Spriguns, but Morton would resurface in 1979 in another folk-leaning recording, Magic Lady, with her revamped band Mandy Morton and Spriguns. (by Dave Sleger)
This album is a must !!! A forgotten jewel of Britisch folk-rock !!!
Dennis Dunstan (drums, percussion)
Wayne Morrison (guitar, mandolin, vocals)
Mandy Morton (vocals, guitar)
Mike Morton (bass, vocals)
Dick Powell (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Lea Nicholson (concertina)
Tom Ling (violin)
01. Dead Man’s Eyes 3.49
02. All Before 2.47
03. For You 3.39
04. Time Will Pass 2.31
05. White Witch 3.07
06. Blackwaterside 5.16
07. You’re Not There 2.54
08. Devil’s Night 2.55
09. Letter To A Lady 5.12
All Songs written by Mandy Morton