Bi

Bifrost (Denmark): Bifrost (CBS 81551, with inner, 1976)
Rock
Ida Klemann (occasional vocals, flute)
This isn’t folk/rock or psychedelic rock or progressive rock or new wave – it’s good old-fashioned melodic rock, mainly serving as a vehicle for singer/songwriter Tom Lundén. It’s quite varied too, ranging from the dreamy, folky ‘Idaho’ to the lengthy ’12 Faelder’, where the band rocks out in no uncertain style. This isn’t the sort of record I could imagine figuring among anyone’s all-time favourites, but for what it is it’s quite charming. GRADE: C+.

Bifrost (Denmark): Til En Sigøjner… (CBS 88264, double with insert, 1977)
Rock
Ida Klemann (occasional vocals)
Housed in an attractive textured gatefold sleeve, this 16-track double album is the band’s magnum opus, climaxing in the 15-minute side-long title track. That said, the side-long cut is simply a very long song rather than anything progressive and some of the other songs are a bit samey, though there are some nice diversions into folk/rock, so this isn’t really a step up from their first. GRADE: C+.
Bifrost (Denmark): Laen Dem Ikke Ud (CBS 83241, with inner, 1979)
Rock
Ida Klemann (joint lead vocals, guitar, synthesiser)
Bifrost were never the most ambitious band, but they have a rock strength that prevents their music from being disposable pop, and they’re quite adept at folky, atmospheric stuff too. However, it’s the presence of three talented singer/songwriters that gives them their edge, and at its best this hints towards Fleetwood Mac, who employed the same configuration to vastly greater commercial success. In fact, the solo that closes the album is almost uncannily similar to Lindsey Buckingham. GRADE: C+.

Bifrost (Denmark): Kassen Og Hjertet (Mercury 6344 237, with inner, 1981)
Pop/Rock
Ida Klemann (joint lead vocals)
Following their sojourn as Crazy Canary, Bifrost return to their original identify and Danish language songs for album number five. It’s another pleasant set, with a couple of mild experiments on side two: a disco bassline on ‘Ikke Min Dag’ and a reggae rhythm on ‘Kreditorernes Indtogsmarch’, though the best number is probably the catchy ‘Mod Kaerlighed’. GRADE: C+.

Bifrost (UK): En Tro Kopi (Mercury 6344 245, with inner, 1982)

Pop/Rock
Ida Klemann (joint lead vocals)
The crashing drums that open the album make clear that the eighties have caught up with Bifrost, and the production style means that this is their least enjoyable album to date. However the songs are as good as ever, and on several cuts (notably the title track and ‘På Vejen Ud’) they’re rocking harder than ever before. GRADE: C+.
Bifrost (Denmark): Bifrost (Mercury 818 661-1, with inner, 1984)
Pop/Rock
Pia Cohn (joint lead vocals)
Perhaps surprisingly, this is less overtly eighties than its predecessor. It also has somewhat catchier material, making for an enjoyable album, with the penultimate ‘Mellem Strenge Og Mål’ having a lovely melody and a propulsive rhythm. GRADE: C+.
Bifrost (Denmark): Van Jeg Kan Gå På (It’s Magic 1005, with inner, 1987)
Pop
Pia Cohn (joint lead vocals, piano)
For their final album, Bifrost were reduced to a duo of Tom Lundén and Pia Cohn, plus numerous guest musicians. It is not an auspicious end to their career, with the songs riddled with all the trappings of the times: funky bass lines, a surfeit of synthesisers and thin, heavy drums. However, only once it is unlistenable (the dreadful ‘Det Nederste Land’), suggesting that with the band in place and a different producer this could have been another solid LP. GRADE: C–.

See also Crazy Canary, Ida Klemann

Big 3 (USA): The Big 3 (FM 307 / SFM 307, 1963)
Folk
Cass Elliot (joint lead vocals)
Obscure at the time, the Big 3 were retrospectively acclaimed as a folk supergroup since all three members (Cass Elliot, Tim Rose and Jim Hendricks) went on to stellar careers. Their debut album is typical mid-sixties folk, covering both melancholy and uptempo songs and varying considerably in terms of quality. Interestingly, Rose’s ‘The Banjo Song’ was almost certainly the inspiration for Shocking Blue’s global hit ‘Venus’, which directly lifts not only the underlying guitar riff, but also most of the melody. GRADE: C+.
Big 3 (USA): Live At The Recording Studio (FM 311 / SFM 311, 1964)
Folk
Cass Elliot (joint lead vocals)
Even wider-ranging than their first, this second and final set ranges from mellow traditional stuff (‘Anna Fia’ and ‘Silkie’) to lively folk/pop (‘Grandfather’s Clock’), fairly dull MOR sounds (‘Tony And Delia’) and insipid faux-gospel (‘Glory Glory’). A nice album overall, this would probably be little-remembered if not for its participants’ future careers. As a footnote, Elliot very unusually co-writes one of the songs. GRADE: C+.
See also Cass Elliot, Mamas & The Papas, Mugwumps

Big Big Train (UK): Bard (Treefrog TFCD001, CD, 2002)
Rock/Progressive
Jo Michaels (occasional vocals)
This band seem to have quite a reputation, with many listeners considering them one of the best modern prog outfits. On this evidence, it’s hard to see why. Despite one number of seventeen minutes and another of fourteen, this is merely mellow soft rock and neoprog: pleasant and mellifluous, but utterly lacking in originality or daring. GRADE: C+.
Big Big Train (UK): Gathering Speed (Treefrog TFCD002, CD, 2004)
Rock/Progressive
Laura Murch (backing vocals)
This is a bit of a step up from its predecessor, being more rocking, more atmospheric and in parts more subtly psychedelic. However, when all is said and done, this is still mellow soft rock that delivers little or nothing in the way of surprises. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK): The Difference Machine (English Electric Recordings EERCD 003, CD, 2007)
Progressive
Becca King (viola)
This is a touch more progressive and adventurous in parts, but I can’t say I like rather staccato and jerky tempo changes or the electronically treated vocals. Elsewhere, this offers their usual symphonic soft rock; parts of it are pleasant but none of it is really compelling. GRADE: C.

Big Big Train (UK): Folklore (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea EERCD0016/GEPCD 1049, CD, UK, 2016)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (violin, viola, cello, backing vocals)
The title is apposite, as Folklore is distinctly folkish – not in the music, which blends pastoral soft rock and neoprog, but in the lyrics, which tell compelling stories about nature, country walks, heroic messenger birds and retired racing drivers. However, therein lies the album’s drawback: poignant as the words are, the songs are packed with them, and moments when the band cut loose and play are few and far between. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK/Sweden): A Stone’s Throw From The Line (English Electric Recordings EERCD0018, double CD, with book sleeve, 2016)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (violin, backing vocals)
This live show, performed with a horn section, works well enough on its own terms: the performances are energetic, the drum solo is beautifully recorded, and ‘Wassail’ in particular is suitably anthemic. However, none of this changes my impression that Big Big Train are at heart an average neoprogressive band, despite their strong reputation. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK/Sweden): Stone And Steel (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea EERBR001/GEPBD9005, Blu-ray, with digibook, UK, 2016)
Rock/Progressive
Rachell Hall (violin, backing vocals)
This Blu-ray has the sound and picture quality you would expect from the format, which most of it consisting of a film alternating dialogue and a live-in-the-studio performance. There are also a few actual live cuts with an audience (which are much livelier, making one wish they’d included the entire show) plus a few rather marginal extras. However, the music is all rather lukewarm, only catching fire during a rousing version of ‘Wassail’. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK/Sweden): Grimspound (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea EERCD0019/GEPCD1054, CD, with book minisleeve, UK, 2017)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (occasional vocals, violin, viola, cello), Judy Dyble (occasional vocals)
As usual, the lyrics are fascinating, even if they’re covering old ground (tributes to war heroes and British explorers, English pastoral scenes; you know the drill). As usual, the music doesn’t quite equal the words, but this time it doesn’t sound like an afterthought – it soars and surges and impresses all the right places, and occasional use of female vocals (Rachel Hall on ‘As The Crow Flies’ and an oddly quiet Judy Dyble on ‘The Ivy Gate’) adds welcome variety. In fact, it’s a quantum leap forward for the band. GRADE: B–.

Big Big Train (UK): The Second Brightest Star (English Electric Recordings EERCD0020, CD, with book minisleeve, 2017)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (violin, viola, cello, backing vocals)
Issued just a couple of months after Grimspound, this features 40 minutes of new material (actually outtakes from Folklore and Grimspound, from what I can tell) plus extended reworkings of a couple of previously released cuts. The former material is soporific in the extreme, essentially being singer/songwriter fare, whilst the latter is excellent. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK/USASweden): Merchants Of Light (English Electric Recordings EERCD0023, double CD, with book sleeve, UK, 2018)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (violin, backing vocals)
On their live Blu-ray, the anthemic ‘Wassail’ completely dwarfed their other material in terms of quality, energy and power. It does on this live double album too, but not to the same extent: this is capable pastoral prog throughout. However, I suspect that Big Big Train are best enjoyed in a studio setting: it’s not just that they lack the variety to sustain excitement over a lengthy live set, but that a lyric sheet is essential to convey the excellent narratives behind their merely good music. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK/Sweden): Grand Tour (Belle Antique BELLE 193123, SHM-CD, with gatefold minisleeve, booklet, poster booklet and obi, Japan, 2019)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (violin, backing vocals)
As usual with Big Big Train, the music here is soft, pastoral and engaging, and the lyrics are unusual and interesting. I could have done with more unusual and interesting music too, as this doesn’t break any new ground for them, but it’s certainly one of their best, balancing song-based sections with some fine extended instrumental passages. The Japanese pressing, which is elaborately packaged with an oversized 7" booklet, features a fairly short (but pretty good) bonus track ‘Journey’s End’. GRADE: B–.

Big Big Train (UK/USA/Sweden): Reflectors Of Light (English Electric Recordings EERBD002, Blu-ray, with digibook, 2019)
Progressive
Rachel Hall (violin, backing vocals)
Complete with a horn section, Big Big Train aren’t so much a band as an orchestra on this Blu-ray, which is epic and widescreen in every sense of the terms. That’s the secret of its success: whilst their hooklines generally aren’t that catchy and their singing and playing is generally understated rather than astonishing, they inhabit the huge stage at the Cadogan Hall with aplomb. In fact, David Longdon – a supremely dapper and urbane frontman – looks like he was born to do this, making their song-stories spellbinding. GRADE: B–.

Big Big Train (UK/Sweden): Empire (English Electric Recordings EERBR0016, Blu-ray plus double CD, with digibook, UK, 2020)

Progressive

Rachel Hall (violin, backing vocals)

Rachel Hall’s final gig proves that Big Big Train are an unusual proposition indeed: how often can you describe a progressive rock band as both grandiose and understated? Yet here they’re both: with thirteen people on stage, including their own horn section, and with a giant video screen behind them, they’re clearly an outfit with significant pretentions. Yet their material is subtle and delicate and David Longdon is a dignified yet charismatic frontman as he celebrates steam trains, war heroes and even loyal pigeons whilst sipping from a Union Jack mug; and it’s those contradictions that make them so fascinating. GRADE: B–.

Big Big Train (UK): Common Ground (English Electric Recordings EERCD0028, CD, with digibook, 2021)
Progressive
Carly Bryant (occasional vocals)
On the 15-minute ‘Atlantic Cable’ and the instrumentals ‘Headwaters’ and ‘Apollo’ they sound like themselves, but on the remainder they sound like their former selves, back in the day when they were a run-of-the-mill neoprog band. As such, this is something of a curate’s egg, and their gift for storytelling – with their lyrics frequently having been the highpoints of previous albums – seems to have deserted them too. GRADE: C+.

Big Big Train (UK): Welcome To The Planet (English Electric Recordings EERCD0029, with digipak and booklet, 2022)
Progressive
Carly Bryant (occasional vocals, keyboards)
This is a better album than the slightly underwhelming Common Ground, but by how much? The tragic death of David Longdon makes an objective appraisal almost impossible, but there’s no doubt that the rock sections are snappier, the symphonic textures richer and the ballads more affecting. If it all goes a bit vaudeville at the end – Carly Bryant’s songwriting showcase – even that works well enough in context. As for the opening ‘Made From Sunshine’, Longdon’s paean to family life and the giddy happiness of existence, I might once have dismissed it as slight but in context it’s simply heartbreaking. GRADE: B–.

See also Judy Dyble, Fairport Convention, Ashley Hutchings, Trader Horne

Big Brother & The Holding Company (USA): Big Brother And The Holding Company (Mainstream 6099, 1967)
Blues/Rock/Psychedelic
Janis Joplin (principal vocals)
With well under 25 minutes of music, much of it rather perfunctory garage blues/rock, Janis Joplin’s debut gives few clues that she would go on to become a superstar and icon of the late sixties. Nonetheless, it’s a good period piece, with highpoints including the powerful Joplin-penned ‘Intruder’, the naggingly persistent acid-rocker ‘Light Is Faster Than Sound’ and the eerie, raga-like ‘All Is Loneliness’. GRADE: B–.
Big Brother & The Holding Company (USA): Cheap Thrills (Columbia PC 9700, 1968)
Blues/Rock/Psychedelic
Janis Joplin (principal vocals)
A quantum leap forward from their debut, with the band cutting loose on jams of up to nine minutes. Quite simply, this is the pinnacle of acid-blues: savage, dirty and intense, driven by harsh fuzz guitars and a pounding rhythm section and overlaid with Joplin’s elementally thrilling guttural screams. From the frenetic opener ‘Combination Of The Two’ to the devastating conclusion with her signature piece ‘Ball And Chain’, this is one of the most remarkable albums the West Coast ever produced. GRADE: B+.
Big Brother & The Holding Company (USA): Live (Rhino RNLP 121, 1984, recorded 1966)
Blues/Rock/Psychedelic
Janis Joplin (principal vocals, maracas)
Recorded in 1966, this live set has decent sound quality and some excellent performances; it’s actually better than their rather tame studio debut (though nowhere near the heights they would later scale). The set was later reissued on CD, with a slightly altered track listing, as Cheaper Thrills (Acadia ACA 8001, 2000). GRADE: B–.

Big Brother & The Holding Company (UK): Sex, Dope And Cheap Thrills (Columbia 19075863522, double CD, 2018, recorded 1968)
Blues/Rock/Psychedelic
Janis Joplin (principal vocals)
This collection of outtakes and alternate versions of songs from Cheap Thrills is packed with great psychedelic and blues/rock jamming. However, like most such releases, it confirms that they reached the right decisions on what to include (and in particular that the exclusion of a brief joke track named ‘Harry’, intended to open side two, probably improved the final LP). GRADE: B.
See also Janis Joplin

Big Hogg (UK): Big Hogg (Neon Tetra Music, CD, with digipak, 2015)
Jazz/Soul/Rock/Progressive
Sophie Sexon (joint lead vocals, flute)
Whilst I’d broadly describe this as Canterbury, there are all kinds of different elements here: lots of brass, some funk, a bit of folk, even some good-time soul moves. With a relatively song-based style, they often hint towards contemporaries Schnauser, though without the zany humour, but I can hear frequent references to Spirogyra and Trembling Bells too. The end result is an intriguing, understated musical blend that also manages to be highly distinctive. GRADE: B–.
Big Hogg (UK): Gargoyles (Bad Elephant Music BEM038, CD, wih digipak, 2017)
Jazz/Soul/Rock/Progressive
Sophie Sexon (joint lead vocals, flute)
Lavinia Blackwall helps out with backing vocals this time around, and this is perhaps a mite folkier than their first (though perversely reminds me slightly less of Trembling Bells). It’s not as surprising as their debut inasmuch as it blends the same influences in a similar way, but there is still some excellent material here. GRADE: B–.

Big Hogg (UK): Pageant Of Beasts (Bad Elephant Music BEM088, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2021)
Jazz/Soul/Rock/Progressive
Sophie Sexon (joint lead vocals, flute)
The big surprise here is a cover of ‘Willow’s Song’ from the ‘Wicker Man’ soundtrack – it doesn’t better the original (what could?) but is pretty good nonetheless. Elsewhere, this is their usual eclectic mix of styles, often sounding like once again like Schnauser, though it often reminds me of a more song-based and less sombre Big Big Train. Music this catchy and playful may strike some listeners as insubstantial, but there is plenty to enjoy here and they’re undeniably accomplished at what they do. GRADE: B–.

Bill & Taffy (USA): Pass It On (RCA APL 1-0214, 1973)
Country/Rock
Taffy Nivert
The duo formerly known as Fat City here offer a very good album of rural rock under their own names, peaking on the delicate acid-folk of ‘There’s A Man In China’. They went on to cut a second and final album, Aces, in 1974, which I haven’t heard, and worked extensively with John Denver throughout the seventies. GRADE: C+.
See also Fat City

Birds’ Way (Russian Federation): Birds’ Way (Casus Belli Musica/Beverina Productions CBM 024LP/BP 056, one-sided LP, some on

multicoloured vinyl, with download card, 2015)

Folk/Rock/Progressive

Aleksandra Terekhina (lead vocals)

This symphonic folk/rock mini-album resulted from the collaboration of a singer and an arranger (who was also presumably the keyboardist). Drawing heavily on Russian folk traditions, it hints towards the numerous folk operas issued by Melodiya in the eighties, whilst also being modernistic and highly synthesised. Only 100 copies were pressed as one-sided LPs, with half on multicoloured splatter vinyl; 15 of the latter copies were issued as a deluxe numbered edition with a thick faux-suede gatefold sleeve with pasted-on artwork. GRADE: C+.

Ms Amy Birks (UK): All That I Am And All That I Was (No label MABCD01, with 7" gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2020)

Singer/Songwriter

Amy Birks (lead vocals, piano, percussion, samples)

Ms Birks may have won ‘Prog’ magazine’s female vocalist of the year award, but this isn’t rock of any kind: it’s sedate piano-based singer/songwriter music, and with erstwhile Beatrix Players colleague Jess Kennedy co-writing most of the songs bears a strong resemblance to her former band. It’s more varied in terms of the arrangements, though, and at times recalls everyone from early Kate Bush to Sandy Denny. To Birks’s credit, this is nearly as well arranged and produced as The Kick Inside or Sandy; on the debit side, her material, whilst heartfelt, is nowhere near as good as theirs so this is more atmospheric and admirable than memorable. GRADE: C+.

Ms Amy Birks (UK): In Our Souls (No label MABLP02, LP plus CD, 2022)
Singer/Songwriter
Amy Birks (lead vocals, samples)
Birks’s two previous albums – one with the Beatrix Players and one solo – had a beguiling sound but lacked the killer songs to take them to the next level. I’m not convinced she’s managed it third time round, but this is certainly her best to date, partly because it’s less precious than her previous ventures, intermittently using a rhythm section to add a little rock heft. The lovely instrumentals near the end is also a significant plus, acting as a very effective coda. GRADE: B–.

See also Beatrix Players

Birmingham Sunday (USA): A Message From Birmingham Sunday (All American AA 5178, 1968)
Pop/Psychedelic
Debbie Parke, Jean Heim
This is one of the scarcest commercially-issued American albums, suggesting that it might have been withdrawn after release (or maybe it just sold extraordinarily badly). It offers accomplished psychedelic pop with a definite Moody Blues influence, including lashings of Mellotron, which lend a dreamy, symphonic feel to most of the tracks. GRADE: C+.

Birtha (USA): Birtha (Dunhill 50127, 1972)
Rock
Shele Pinizzotto (joint lead vocals, guitar), Rosemary Butler (joint lead vocals, bass), Sherry Hagler (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Olivia Favela (joint lead vocals, drums, percussion)
One of the first high profile all-female bands, Birtha obviously idolised Janis Joplin – so it’s no surprise that Gabriel Mekler produced their LP. It’s good-natured, melodic hard rock with bluesy and soulful edges and Joplin-influenced vocals. There’s nothing original or challenging here, but this is simply a great rock LP: lively, unpretentious, catchy and good fun. GRADE: C+.
Birtha (USA): Can’t Stop The Madness (Dunhill DSX 50136, 1973)
Rock
Shele Pinizzotto (joint lead vocals, guitar), Rosemary Butler (joint lead vocals, bass), Olivia Favela (joint lead vocals, drums, percussion, harmonica), Sherry Hagler (keyboards)

The big difference between this and their debut is the production: whereas Gabriel Mekler opted for a vast wall of sound with some dominant Hammond organ and crunchy guitar riffs, Christopher Huston takes a much more stripped-down approach. As a result, this isn’t a patch on its predecessor, despite some good songs and performances. That said, they’re still considerably better than their nearest competitor, Fanny. GRADE: C.
See also Daisy Chain

Bismuth (UK): The Eternal Marshes (Tartarus TAR002, cassette, with patch, 2012)
Metal
Tanya Byrne (lead vocals, bass)
This is doom at its sludgiest and most funereal: über-slow riffs (played on bass rather than guitar), walls of feedback and blackened screams. It’s both interesting and elemental, if quite unsettling, with a single 16-minute piece that repeats on both sides. GRADE: C+.

Bismuth (UK): Collapse / Undersmile (UK): Titanaboa (Tartarus TAR023, some on red splatter vinyl, with insert, 2014)
Metal
Bismuth [Tanya Byrne (lead vocals, bass)], Undersmile [Taz Corona-Brown, Hel Sterne]
This split effort between female-fronted experimental doom practitioners Bismuth and Undersmile sees each outfit contribute a side-long track. Bismuth’s ‘Collapse’ is their usual über-heavy sludge, drenched in bass feedback hinting at a number of modern Japanese psychedelic outfits, whilst Undersmile’s ‘Titanaboa’ also stays true to form, offering a typically mournful excursion with cathedral-like vocals and slight psych and Krautrock edges. GRADE: C+.
Bismuth (UK): Live At SOAN 25/07/2014 (Download, 2014)
Metal
Tanya Byrne (lead vocals, bass)
Bismuth’s first live album features versions of ‘Collapse’ (from the split album with Undersmile) and ‘Tethys’, which would later appear on Unavailing. Again, their sludgy doom sounds almost Japanese at times, with echoes of everyone from Kousokuya to Yoko Ono. GRADE: C+.

Bismuth (UK): Live At SOAN 18/12/2015 (Download, 2015)
Metal
Tanya Byrne (lead vocals, bass)
I’m not sure whether they’ve got better or they simply caught me on the right day, but these two live pieces connected with me in a way that earlier Bismuth didn’t. Sure, they’re one-trick ponies, but if you’re in the right mood their ultra-bleak grinding doom really hits the spot. GRADE: B–.

See also A Hundred Black Kites, Maybeshewill, Megaldoom, Monoliths, Nadir

Bitter Blood Street Theatre (USA): Volume One (Vetco 701, 1978)

Psychedelic

Gwenivere Carmichael Hale (joint lead vocals, maracas)

Bitter Blood Street Theatre apparently lived up to their name by offering experimental multimedia shows including performance art and elaborate costumes throughout their career. However, despite supporting some major acts they never managed to release any albums during their career, morphing into Blacklight Braille before issuing two retrospective collections in 1978. With excellent sound quality, the music is mostly powerful acid-rock and borderline hard rock with occasional forays into more experimental territory, but whilst they had a great sound the album is perhaps a little short on truly great hooks. GRADE: C+.

Bitter Blood Street Theatre (USA): Volume Two (Vetco 703, 1978)

Psychedelic

Gwenivere Carmichael Hale (joint lead vocals, maracas)

Like their first, this is good post-Jefferson Airplane acid-rock, with all kinds of later influences thrown in, including bits of Blue Cheer and Cream. Once again, there’s nothing to suggest that they were ever likely to hit the big time, but this is on a par with many fêted rarities – Haymarket Square and Touch immediately spring to mind, and there are also hints of Gold without the funky and Latin edges – but at a fraction of the price. GRADE: C+.

Bitter Blood (USA): III/In Search Of The Snark (Razzle Music, CD, 1995)

Blues/Folk/Rock/Psychedelic

Gwenivere Carmichael Hale (joint lead vocals, shakers)

The band’s third and final album is the only one to be conceived as such, being recorded (both studio and live) in May 1993. It isn’t enormously different from their recordings of 15-20 years earlier, though it is folkier and bluesier, but it is certainly more organic: mixing songs, jams, effects and poetry, it gives a fair indication of how they must have come across live. As such, it’s probably the best of their releases, but whilst it’s mostly excellent it’s once again slightly generic, preventing me from scoring it higher. Despite the title, a cassette of archive recordings with one side by Bitter Blood and the other by successor band Blacklight Braille was issued in 1987; I have not heard it. GRADE: C+.

Bitter Withy (UK): Sampler (Nevis R005, 1972?)
Folk
Lesley Hale (joint lead vocals, guitar)The effusive sleeve notes describe Bitter Withy as ‘a really significant group’, but this is standard early seventies folk club fare: well played, sung and recorded but utterly generic. The hyperbole gets wilder, too: ‘This is the Bitter Withy’s first album and Nevis Productions is accepting small bets of up to about seventeen million pounds that it will be the first of many.’ Wrong: their only other recordings were a couple of contributions to the 1969 Golden Birdcompilations that also featured a young Barbara Dickson. GRADE: C+.

See also Various 'The Golden Bird'