Da-De

 

Dada (UK): Dada (Atco 2400 030, 1971)
Blues/Soul/Rock
Elkie Brooks (joint lead vocals)
A schizophrenic affair indeed, partly because the band featured three lead vocalists with differing styles. The best cuts include the frenetic opener ‘Big Dipper’, with its startling shifts of mood and tempo, a bizarre, completely atonal reading of the Rolling Stones’ ‘The Last Time’, the richly melodic ‘This Is Our Song’, and Elkie Brooks’s bluesy solo showcase ‘She Walks Away’. On the downside, the band’s trademark eclecticism (which saw them embracing elements of blues, jazz, soul and folk) led them to record the pointless music-hall whimsy of ‘Seed Of Peace’ and the drippy hippie ballad ‘Jessamine’. GRADE: C+.
See also Elkie Brooks, Various ‘Flash Fearless Vs The Zorg Women, Parts 5 & 6!’, Vinegar Joe, Steve York’s Camelo Pardalis

Daedalus Spirit Orchestra (France): Ampulla Magnifying (Vocation VOC1465, CD, 2009)
Progressive
Cecile Alves (keyboards), Lise Cantin (vibraphone, flute)
As the odd and rather pretentious title suggests, this is rooted in jazzy avant-prog, although some passages suggest that the band members may have had backgrounds in prog-metal and mainstream rock. There’s plenty of variety and creativity here, with some excellent moments, but I can’t say I like the songwriting or vocal style very much, resulting in an album more admirable than it is enjoyable. GRADE: C+.

Dafnia (Spain/Venezuela): Olvidada (Tecnosaga WHCM-361, CD, Spain, 2011)
World Music/Folk
Marta Segura (lead vocals)
This project by Robert Santamaría and Marta Segura of Amarok and Parthenon is much closer to the former than the latter and could be considered a continuation of the band under another name. However, what made Amarok really interesting was its blend of progressive, experimental, world music and folk elements, and here the latter two aspects are emphasised. In fact, there are barely any rock elements at all, with a simple song-based style that’s fairly effective but not particularly memorable. On the plus side, the album does have remarkably beautiful artwork. GRADE: C+.
See also Amarok, Parthenon

Dague (France): Pop Occitana (EMI C 064-12.703, 1973)
Folk/Rock
Françoise Dague (principal vocals)
Despite the title, this isn’t pop at all but electric folk, reinterpreting traditional Occitan songs with ethnic instruments (including lots of bagpipes, giving an almost East European or Turkish feel) but also some rather psychedelic electric guitar. The overall mood is quite unusual, and this is certainly one of the more distinctive and interesting folk/rock albums to emerge from France in the seventies.

GRADE: B–.

Daisy Chain (USA): Straight Or Lame (United International LPM-13001, 1967)
Pop/Psychedelic
Shelle Pinizzotto (joint lead vocals, guitar), Rosemary Butler (joint lead vocals, bass), Camille (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Dee Dee Lea (joint lead vocals, drums, percussion, flute, harmonica)
This all-girl band’s sole album operates in two basic styles: woozy, folky psychedelia with a loose, amateurish vibe, and more tightly-arranged soul/pop (presumably intended to give them a hit single, which it didn’t). As a result, it’s rather uneven, although it’s winsome throughout, really hitting its stride with three consecutive winners on side one (‘All Because Of Him’, ‘Zzotto’ and ‘Run Spot Run’). The band later mutated into the rather better known Birtha. GRADE: C+.
See also Birtha

Dakrua (Italy): Inner Wastelands (Scarlet SC 011-2, CD, with digipak, 1999)
Metal
Eva Rondinelli (joint lead vocals)
This symphonic metal album combines professional playing with slightly amateurish vocals to create an unusual effect. Unlike many bands in the genre, Dakrua aren’t too pompous and don’t throw strings, choirs and effects into the mix to create a relentless wall of sound; their restraint works rather well, and their obvious love of seventies hard rock (I can hear references to both Heart and Led Zeppelin here) give this a mildly distinctive flavour. GRADE: C+.
Dakrua (Italy): Shifting Realities (Scarlet SC 042-2, CD, 2002)
Metal
Eva Rondinelli (joint lead vocals)
Their music has come on in leaps and bounds: the slight awkwardness that marked their first is gone, replaced by a more professional sheen. This soars and pummels in all the right places, with some nice folky passages to vary the mood, and is certain to please fans of gothic metal. However, it doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre, and is a little generic (both overall and in comparison to their first). 

GRADE: C+.

Marie Dalbane (France): Marie Dalbane (RCA PL 37175, 1978)
Singer/Songwriter
Marie Dalbane (lead vocals)
The big surprise here is that this dates from 1978, as it sounds early seventies in every way. Backed by the cream of French sessionmen, Dalbane delivers ten gentle, whimsical short songs with a childlike edge reflecting the inner gatefold sleeve. However, there’s plenty of variety here, from brief acoustic ditties to pieces with lively band backing and even the heavy psychedelic rock of ‘Super-Métrage’. Finding comparisons for her sound is difficult: to describe her as the French Vashti Bunyan doesn’t really fit the bill, as despite obvious similarities the mood here is much more upbeat, but that’s about as close as I can get. GRADE: C+.

Dales (UK): Lucky Thirteen (Deroy 953, 1975)
Lounge/‘Incredibly Strange Music’
Carol Dale (joint lead vocals)
The sleevenotes state that the Dales ‘are already well-known and loved throughout Clubland, and have worked alongside such stars as Ken Dodd, Billy Dainty, Bobby Bennett, Neil Reid, Stu Francis and Glyn Poole’. Quite who Dainty, Bennett, Reid and Francis were I have no idea, but this is a kiddie pop monstrosity par excellence, filled with clumsy, end-of-the-pier renditions of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, ‘Happy Heart’ and ‘Long-Haired Lover From Liverpool’. The closing ‘Day In, Day Out’ is a wonderfully inept proggy piece for organ and drums, making the album essential for the ‘incredibly strange music’ crowd. GRADE: C.

Patricia Dallio (France): Procession (DTR 554, CD, 1992)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Patricia Dallio (keyboards, programming)
Patricia Dallio rarely composed in Art Zoyd, so her solo career gave her the chance to demonstrate what she could do. Like Art Zoyd, this is mainly instrumental music that draws heavily from the classical avant-garde, with liberal use of sound effects and tapes; unlike later Art Zoyd, it’s quite symphonic and melodic, whilst frequently being quite weird. GRADE: C+.
Patricia Dallio (France): Champs De Mars (Body & Soul BS CD 00193, CD, 1992)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Analia Perego (occasional vocals), Madame Dominé (occasional vocals), Patricia Dallio (keyboards, programming)
Like its predecessor, this is a melodic, relaxed, unusual set. In parts, it’s downright lovely, but it’s also a bit ponderous here and there. With music this flowing and graceful, the modern ballet it was composed to accompany must have been quite a spectacle. GRADE: C+.
Patricia Dallio (France): La Ronce N’est Pas Le Pire (Body & Soul BS CD 00294, CD, 1994)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Susan Belling (lead vocals), Patricia Dallio (keyboards, programming)
Another ballet score, and another interesting, minimalist album of classically-influenced piano and synthesiser music. This time round, there are strong ethnic elements here are there, and the feel is once again close to the more sombre end of Art Zoyd. GRADE: C+.
Patricia Dallio (France): D’Où Vient L’Eau Des Puits? (MSI CDMS 1175, CD, 1996)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Patricia Dallio (keyboards, sampler)
Probasbly Dallio’s best solo album, this offers spacy keyboard-based music with a few rock elements (including some assertive lead guitar) overlaid with a range of narrations. The end result is often quite beguiling, and notably superior to Art Zoyd’s contemporary work.

GRADE: B–.
Patricia Dallio (France): Barbe Bleue (MSI CDMS 1179, CD, 1997)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Patricia Dallio (keyboards, sampler, programming)
Whilst in a similar style to its predecessor, this is much more austere and much more self-consciously weird and challenging. The results, although interesting, are more of an acquired taste, and the disc overall shows Dallio repeating her usual themes and styles. GRADE: C+.
Patricia Dallio (France): Que Personne Ne Bouge… (MSI BSCD 0199, CD, 1999)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Patricia Dallio (keyboards, sampling, programming)
Wholly instrumental and more electronic than her earlier work, this is an interesting LP that resembles a more tuneful and restrained contemporary Art Zoyd. It’s also a definite step up from Barbe Bleue, whilst not representing her very best work. GRADE: C+.
Patricia Dallio (France): L’Encre Des Voix Secrètes (In-Possible AZ 2006, CD, with digipak, 2003)
Classical/Avant-Garde
Patricia Dallio (principal vocals, keyboards, sampling, programming)
This is decidedly Dallio’s weirdest albums, at times taking her close to Ruth White (most notably on ‘Pale Faced Moon’). However, despite all the oddnesses the disc remains atmospheric and compelling, making it far superior to most of Art Zoyd’s later work. GRADE: C+.
See also Art Zoyd, Alain Eckert Quartet

Kathy Dalton (USA): Amazing (DiscReet MS 2168, 1973)
Rock
Kathy Dalton (lead vocals)
In some ways, this could be considered the second Daughters Of Albion album, since all the material was written and produced by her former collaborator Greg Dempsey. However, the backing band is none other than Little Feat and the style is Americanised bluesy rock in a style not dissimilar to Ruby Starr or mid-seventies Elkie Brooks. GRADE: C+.
See also Daughters Of Albion

Dame I Rød Rumdragt (Denmark): Dame I Rød Rumdragt (No label, cassette, 1984)
Rock/Avant-Garde
Cathrine Lervig (principal vocals)
This three-track EP (running for around 20 minutes) offers quirky funky rock with wordless vocals and backing mostly from nimble fretless bass and drums. At times it hints towards zeuhl and RIO, but ultimately doesn’t really sit anywhere, making it a quirky and fascinating little curio. GRADE: C+.
Dame I Rød Rumdragt (Denmark): Dame I Rød Rumdragt (Musica Mater, cassette, 1984)
Rock/Avant-Garde
Cathrine Lervig (lead vocals)
Like their first, this is a fairly short EP; and also like their first it consists of odd vignettes combining quasi-classical singing with funky bass and drums. Once again, it’s almost impossible to classify and can only be described as ‘interesting’. GRADE: C+.
See also Atlantis Transit, Hunk Ai, Cathrine Lervig

Damenbart (West Germany): Impressionen ’71 (Dom Elchklang DOM EK 002, 1989)
Progressive/Psychedelic/Avant-Garde
Martina Schlebusch (principal vocals)
Recorded by members of the new wave band Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa, Impressionen ’71 was marketed as a lost Krautrock album from the early seventies. It doesn’t sound remotely seventies, refracting vintage Krautrock (particularly the Cosmic Jokers) through an eighties industrial/avant-rock prism, with a very weird and tripped-out feel. The end result is an interesting and quirky homage to Krautrock; the CD reissue (Psychedelic Pig PIG CD 03, USA, 2003) adds over 20 minutes’ worth of bonus material in the same avant-Kraut vein. GRADE: B–.

Damon & Naomi (USA): More Sad Hits (Shimmy Disc SHIMMY 058, CD, 1992)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang
One might expect this to sound like Galaxie 500, only with Naomi Yang and Damon Krukowski singing, but the vibe is much folkier and the indie elements far less pronounced. Mark Kramer is still their producer and musical collaborator, and there are some clever production touches here (notably the samples on ‘Astrafiammante’ and ‘This Changing World’). However, the songwriting is fairly rudimentary, though this is a pleasant and atmospheric set from start to finish. GRADE: C+.
Damon & Naomi (USA): The Wondrous World Of Damon And Naomi (Sub Pop SPCD 322, CD, 1995)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (joint lead vocals, bass)
Like their debut, this is a charming, gentle album of psychedelic folk/rock; also like that album, the singing and songwriting is sometimes a little shaky. The best number this time around is ‘Pandora’s Box’, with its hazy washes of Mellotron. The band and their producer Mark Kramer disagreed over both the mix and the running order, with Kramer favouring fuller arrangements; his version was released for Record Store Day 2013 as a ‘bootleg edition’ in a modified cover for The Wondrous World Of Sonny And Cher (20|20|20 202020.14LP). I slightly prefer the latter version, but there’s not much in it. GRADE: C+.
Damon & Naomi (USA): Playback Singers (Sub Pop SPCD 425, CD, 1998)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang
Having parted company with Kramer, the band offered more stripped-down home recordings for their third albums. The move paid off, as this their most consistent and winsome LP to date. GRADE: C+.

Damon & Naomi With Ghost (USA/Japan): Damon And Naomi With Ghost (Sub Pop SPCD 501, CD, with digipak, 2000)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (joint lead vocals, bass, harmonium)
This union of Damon & Naomi and the Japanese psychedelic folk outfit Ghost creates real synergy: their piercing acid leads and hazy Mellotron washes lift the duo’s songs enormously. The more varied arrangements also resolve the slight monotony that plagued early Damon & Naomi LPs, with side two’s lengthy ‘Don’t Forget’ climaxing in a mantric rock section that puts me in mind of Popol Vuh circa Hosianna Mantra. GRADE: B–.

Damon & Naomi On Tour With Kurihara (USA/Japan): Song To The Siren (Sub Pop SPCD592, CD with DVD, 2002)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (joint lead vocals, bass, harmonium)
Following their collaboration with Ghost, Damon & Naomi embarked on a tour with Ghost member Michio Kurihara, documented on this live CD and tour diary DVD. Kurihara’s electric leads lift the mood significantly, particularly on ‘The Great Wall’ and the subsequent ‘I Dreamed Of The Caucasus’, but with just three musicians on stage the sound is fairly minimalist. The accompanying tour diary is mildly interesting, interspersing live footage (by both Damon & Naomi and the bands they played with), but not the kind of thing I can imagine anyone wanting to watch more than once. As a footnote, the set was reissued (as a white vinyl LP and DVD) as 1001 Nights (Factory25 FTF-002, with booklet and insert, 2009). This reissue also includes significant additional DVD footage. GRADE: C+.
Damon & Naomi (USA): The Earth Is Blue (20|20|20 202020.01, CD, with poster booklet, 2005)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (joint lead vocals, bass, keyboards)
Retaining Michio Kurihara on lead guitar and adding a saxophonist and trumpeter here and there, The Earth Is Blue expands Damon & Naomi’s sonic palette with a few modern jazz touches. Kurihara’s guitar again lifts the music enormously and the duo managed a fine set of original songs, as well as a beautiful cover of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, making for an excellent album. GRADE: B–.
Damon & Naomi (USA): Shibuya-O-Nest Tokyo, Japan 2005 (No label, DVD, 2005)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (principal vocals, bass, synthesiser)
The duo’s first live DVD, on which they’re accompanied by Ghost’s Michio Kurihara and Masaki Batoh as well as saxophonist Bhob Rainey, is visually unspectacular but musically very satisfying. Half the songs were later compiled on 1001 Nights. GRADE: B–.
Damon & Naomi (USA): Within These Walls (20|20|20 202020.05, CD, 2007)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (principal vocals, bass, keyboards)
The back cover claim that this album offers ‘ballads in a lonely mood with rich backgrounds’ sums the disc up rather well. Retaining Kurihara and the horns, Damon & Naomi add strings (including Espers’ Helena Espvall and Fern Knight’s Margaret Ayre on cello) and up the jazz quotient for a much lusher sound. The results are pleasant, but this has a definite MOR edge and doesn’t have the trippiness that made their previous two studio sets so impressive. That said, at its best this harks back to mid-seventies Sandy Denny: not an influence I’d previously detected in their work. In particular, ‘Stars Never Fade’ is downright gorgeous. GRADE: C+.
Damon & Naomi (USA): Shibuya-O-Nest Tokyo, Japan 2008 (No label, DVD, 2008)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (principal vocals, bass, synthesiser)
As with their earlier DVD recorded at the same venue, Damon & Naomi don’t present much of a visible spectacle but deliver some beautiful and haunting music. This time round, their backing band was expanded by Helena Espvall on cello. Once again, half the material reappears on 1001 Nights. GRADE: B–.

Damon & Naomi (USA): False Beats And True Hearts (20|20|20 202020.12, CD, 2011)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (principal vocals, bass, keyboards)
Like its predecessor, this is once again a bit mellow, with lush, polished arrangements making good use of Michio Kurihara’s guitar. However, lovely though these songs are, the ethereal weirdness of the duo’s best work is largely absent, making for an album that’s enjoyable but in no way remarkable. GRADE: C+.

Damon & Naomi (USA): Fortune (20|20|20 202020.15CD, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2015)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang
Created as the soundtrack to Naomi Yang’s film of the same name, this is by far Damon & Naomi’s shortest and slightest album – the total running time is around 28 minutes and nearly half the songs are under two minutes. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely LP with some haunting and delicate material, with some of the short instrumentals working surprisingly well. However, the lack of a guest lead guitarist means it’s not among their more psychedelic works. GRADE: B–.

Damon & Naomi with Kurihara (USA/Japan): A Sky Record (20|20|20, download, some with booklet, 2021)
Folk/Psychedelic
Naomi Yang (joint lead vocals, bass, keyboards)
A Damon & Naomi album isn’t ever going to deliver any surprises; in fact, they’re the kind of outfit where hearing one or two of their albums is akin to hearing them all. Ultimately, whether you need this depends on how much you like their dreamlike, slo-mo, vaguely post-rock-influenced music. I love their music and I need this. GRADE: B–.
See also Galaxie 500, Magic Hour

Liz Damon’s Orient Express (USA): At The Garden Bar Hilton, Hawaiian Village (Makaha MS 5003, 1971)
Lounge
Following its local release, this Hawaiian lounge band’s album gained a major label reissue (White Whale MS 5003) as Liz Damon’s Orient Express. It sold well, giving them a top 40 hit with ‘1900 Yesterday’, and should please anyone liking the style. GRADE: C.
Liz Damon’s Orient Express (USA): Try A Little Tenderness (Delilah DS-1001, 1971)
Lounge
Once again, this was strangely released in two different versions, the other being Liz Damon’s Orient Express Vol II (Anthem ANS 5900). It’s lush lounge stuff in the same vein as her debut, with a baroque edge in parts that should appeal to fans of late-sixties pop. GRADE: C.
Liz Damon With The Orient Express (USA): Me Japanese Boy (I Love You) (Delilah DS-1003, 1972)
Lounge
Album three is basically more of the same, though with a more stripped-down sound (possibly for budgetary rather than artistic reasons). ‘Little Song’ even has some fuzz guitar, and is possibly their best number. Damon had obviously developed quite a liking for Neil Sedaka, as four of the eleven cuts are covers of his material. GRADE: C.

Liz Damon’s Orient Express (USA): Packaged For Pleasure (Cartan Tours CT-10178, 1973?)
Lounge
Damon’s fourth and final album was issued as a promotional disc for a holiday company, and the centrespread of the gatefold advertises a number of their destinations. She seems to have got over her Sedaka fixation here, with material from a wider range of sources, but musically this is business as usual and should appeal to anyone liking the idea of a low-budget Fifth Dimension. GRADE: C+.

Dando Shaft (UK): Dando Shaft (RCA Neon NE 5, 1971)
Folk/Progressive
Polly Bolton (joint lead vocals)
With complex all-acoustic arrangements and plenty of hand percussion, this sometimes resembles Pentangle, although the band is influenced as much by American and Bulgarian folk as by British music. Other tracks have more tranquil and haunting atmospheres, with a faintly ethereal edge, although this isn’t really psychedelic folk in any meaningful sense of the term. The musicianship is outstanding throughout, but a little more variety in the arrangements or approach would have made for an even better LP. GRADE: C+.
Dando Shaft (UK): Lantaloon (RCA SF 8256, with poster, 1972)
Folk/Progressive
Polly Bolton
This is another charming folk set, with the same intricate arrangements as its predecessor. On ‘The Harp Lady I Bombed’, Polly Bolton’s voice sounds uncannily similar to Sandy Denny’s, although elsewhere she has her own style. GRADE: C+.
Dando Shaft (UK): Kingdom (Rubber RUB 034, 1977)
Folk/Rock
Polly Bolton (backing vocals)
This reunion effort is possibly Dando Shaft’s best album, adding a few rock touches (including electric guitar and drums) to their familiar sound, and often taking them close to Pentangle. Although credited as a band affair, this was basically a duo effort by Dave Cooper and Martin Jenkins, with Polly Bolton merely contributing backing vocals to about half the cuts. GRADE: C+.
See also Apostles, Polly Bolton, Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra, Ashley Hutchings

Danielle (France): Véro Je T’Aime (La Kiosque d’Orphée KO/830701, 1982)
Folk
Most singer/songwriters performing with simple acoustic guitar backing take inspiration from Joni Mitchell, but Danielle sounds more influenced by Édith Piaf. Whilst this has none of Piaf’s harshness and little of her theatricality, it has her sensuality in spades and is as quintessentially French as a brie baguette. At times it’s haunting and beautiful, and it’s consistently accomplished, but despite some clever backing vocal touches the sparse nature of the arrangements also makes it a touch one-dimensional. GRADE: C+.
Danielle (France): De La Tendresse Sans Compter (La Kiosque d’Orphée KO/830701, 1983)
Folk
Like its predecessor, this is a collection of beautiful, delicate, rather precious songs with acoustic guitar backing (plus occasional harmonica and autoharp). Also like its predecessor, this sounds impossibly ancient, making it hard to believe that it dates from the eighties. GRADE: C+.
Danielle (France): Au Bout Du Bout De L’Île (La Kiosque d’Orphée KO/840901, 1984)
Folk
Her third and final album is a little more varied than her first two, including bass and drums on the rather underwhelming opener ‘Y’A Des Matins Comme Ça’. In general the material here is slightly jauntier, which is not a step in the right direction, though the LP is perfectly pleasant. GRADE: C+.

Ellie Daniels (USA): Both Sides Of The Coin (No label CSRV 2370, no sleeve, 1971)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk
Ellie Daniels (lead vocals, guitar)
Issued in a plain white sleeve, this 16-year-old singer songwriter’s album takes almost all its cues from Bob Dylan. Unlike Dylan, Daniels has a lovely voice, and the material works so well that the LP never becomes one-dimensional, despite accompaniment only from acoustic guitar (plus flute on three cuts). GRADE: C+.

Danks (USA): Danks (Colossus CS 1005, 1970)
Pop/Psychedelic
Stefanianna Christopherson (joint lead vocals)
This little-known album contains some real gems, including the rather psychedelic ‘Matthew Mouse’ (underpinned by growling fuzz guitar) and the unusual and dramatic ballad ‘I’m Lonely’. But mostly it’s good-natured uptempo pop/rock with lots of horns and some decent guitar work, with all the material being self-penned. GRADE: C+.

Danny & Lynda (USA): Gospel (Revelation DL-4045, 1971)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Lynda Kimer (principal vocals, keyboards)
For the most part, this rare album by a husband-and-wife duo offers lightweight folky rock, mainly distinguished by some wild fuzz and wah-wah guitar playing. It’s a solid if somewhat uneven LP, with the best cut being ‘Sing It Out’ which combines the finest hookline with some of the most ostentatious guitar work. The duo subsequently cut a further couple of albums under the band name of First Revelation.

GRADE: C+.
See also First Revelation

Dark Light Spectrum (USA): First Light (No label, CD, 2000)
Rock/Metal/Progressive
Mary Krstič (principal vocals, guitar)
This supple hard rock album features a stripped-down sound, funky rhythms, a few progressive edges and even some ‘soul man’ vocals on the unusual ‘Little Susie’. It’s all taut and effective, and another interesting addition to the discography of the intriguing Mary Krstič. 

GRADE: C+.
See also Mary Krstič, Toxic Pets

Darkher (UK): Realms (Prophecy Productions PRO187, double CD, with oversized book sleeve, Germany, 2016)
Metal/Progressive/Folk
Jayn H Wissenberg (lead vocals, guitar, organ, percussion, violin)
The one-woman project of Jayn H Wissenberg (assisted by husband Martin on guitar, bass and backing vocals plus guest drummers) blends doom metal, folky textures and ambient moods in a similar way to early Third & The Mortal. If it has a failing, it’s perhaps a little too self-consciously gothic, as the black-and-white artwork of stark trees, ravens and waterfalls confirms. Nonetheless, there is some excellent music here, and if she moves in a slightly more progressive direction Darkher could become truly special. The limited edition (700 copies) is a handsome package with an embossed and gilded leatherette 7" book sleeve and a second disc of acoustic demos. GRADE: C+.

Darkher (UK): The Buried Storm (Prophecy PRO230LU, double CD, with book sleeve, 2022)
Metal/Progressive/Folk
Jayn H Wissenberg (lead vocals, guitar, bass, piano, percussion)
Like their first, this is a bit ponderous, and its spacy gothic atmospheres can cross the fine line between delicate and poncey. But it certainly contains some fine moments, juxtaposing passages of stately (and heavy) rock against the acoustic passages, though once again I wish Ms Wissenberg would stretch out and create some longer and more involved multi-part songs. GRADE: B–.

Darling (UK): Put It Down To Experience (Charisma CAS 1144, 1979)
Rock/Metal
Sandra Barry (lead vocals)
Led by Sandra Barry and Mick Howard, formerly of Slack Alice, this short-lived band offered bluesy hard rock with an early seventies flavour and a few slight glam edges. It’s not the most significant LP in the world, and must have sound very dated in 1979, but there is some decent music here, with the heavy riffing opener ‘Do You Wanna?’ working particularly well. GRADE: C+.
See also Slack Alice

Dasputnik (Finland): Parapsykosis (Art Safari AS0001, CD, 2009)
Progressive/Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock
Sinikka Niittykoski (saxophone)
No prizes for guessing from the band name and album title that this is space-rock, in this case with a definite jazzy edge and strong Canterbury elements. Almost entirely instrumental, the album hints at everyone from Ozric Tentacles to Gong, with a nicely muscular sound and a suitably trippy mood. GRADE: B–.
Dasputnik (Finland): Cyclokosmia (Art Safari AS0002, CD, 2011)
Progressive/Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock
Sinikka Niittykoski (percussion, saxophone)
Slightly different from its predecessor, this tones down the Canterbury edges somewhat whilst referencing Gong in a different way: the addition of tuned percussion here and there makes it resemble the short-lived 1975 line-up with Hillage at the helm. It’s a fairly short album, and a touch inconsequential, but they can certainly jam with some verve and intensity. GRADE: B–.

Dasputnik (Finland): Psykhixplosion (Art Safari ASLP004, 2015)
Progressive/Psychedelic/Jazz/Rock
Sinikka Niitykoski (saxophone, violin)
This is possibly their best album, and probably their heaviest and most dynamic. Stepping forward from Gong’s You and adding modern psychedelic and hard rock stylings, Psykhikplosion offers six intense, dynamic and tripped-out jams of considerable intensity. GRADE: B–.

Datura (Japan): One Night Dream (Mandrake Root 25 MR • LP • 004, with booklet, 1985)
Metal
Kyoko Ueda (lead vocals)
This supple hard rock band’s album has one side recorded in the studio and one live, but despite the latter being slightly livelier they’re very much of a piece. Ultimately, there’s only so much you can do with the combination of helium-pitched vocals, electric guitar, bass and drums, especially when you eschew any progressive diversions, but they undeniably do it pretty well. GRADE: C+.

Daughters Of Albion (USA): Daughters Of Albion (Fonatana 67586, with inserts, 1968)
Pop/Psychedelic
Kathy Dalton (joint lead vocals, percussion)
Some commentators have retrospectively claimed this complex psychedelic pop album to be a masterpiece, but whilst it’s certainly very catchy, it’s chiefly notable for its clever arrangement and production touches. The most notable cut is the lengthy, somewhat experimental closer ‘1968 – John Flip Lockup’. GRADE: C+.
See Kathy Dalton

Daughters Of Grief (UK): Songs For Mary WS (Reverb Worship RW 350, CDR, with DVD case and insert, 2017)
Folk/Psychedelic
Assisted by Grey Malkin from the Hare & The Moon, this female duo (I presume – the packaging doesn’t give much away) deliver a beautiful and haunting album of psychedelic folk. Delicate, sparse and eerie, they hint towards a number of other modern acid-folk acts, but more than anything I’m reminded of the folkier end of Mazzy Star’s repertoire. The only downside is that this lasts 20 minutes. GRADE: B–.

David (Canada): David (Sound Canada SC 7705, 1968)
Psychedelic/Pop
Deborah Kelly (joint lead vocals)
This rare soft psychedelic LP is a mixed bag, but includes some fine tracks. It’s wide-ranging indeed, from a couple of soft, folky numbers to the nostalgic whimsy of ‘Cup Of Tea’, an unusual instrumental with classical edges (‘Flight Of The Egyptian Army’) and the superb ‘Never Been In Love’, which slowly builds in power and intensity, climaxing with some heavy acid guitar. The two cover versions (‘Hey Jude’ and ‘House Of The Rising Sun’) don’t come close to equalling the originals, but they do contain some excellent guitar work. GRADE: C+.

Betty Davis (USA): Betty Davis (Just Sunshine JSS-5, 1973)
Funk/Rock
Betty Davis (lead vocals)
Backed by a crack team of musicians (Gregg Errico and Larry Graham from Sly & The Family Stone, Journey’s Neal Schon, Jefferson Starship’s Pete Sears, Grateful Dead associate Merl Saunders and the Tower Of Power horn section), Davis delivers eight fat slices of dirty rocking funk, with attitude to match. Song titles like ‘If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up’ and ‘Game Is My Middle Name’ give a fair clue as to her approach, and she had talent to spare, writing and arranging everything on offer. GRADE: B–.
Betty Davis (USA): They Say I’m Different (Just Sunshine JSS-3500, with poster, 1974)
Funk/Rock
Betty Davis (lead vocals)
Basically more of the same: versatility and variety were never among Davis’s hallmarks. However, anyone who enjoys her style, like me, will find this thoroughly satisfying. Most tracks sound more like jams rather than structured compositions, though Davis takes all the songwriting credits. GRADE: B–.
Betty Davis (USA): Nasty Gal (Island ILPS 9329, UK, 1975)
Funk/Rock
This time she throws in a couple of ballads, but the rest is the usual gutbucket rocking funk – and it’s as good as ever. GRADE: B–.
Betty Davis (USA): Crashin’ From Passion (Unreleased acetate, 1976)
Funk/Soul
Her fourth album is no weaker than its predecessors, but it is less focused, including ballads, blues and even a couple of male vocal numbers; in any case, a falling-out with Chris Blackwell meant that Island refused to release it. It eventually appeared on CD 33 years later as Is It Love Or Desire?, since Crashin’ From Passion had been used as the title of a bootleg CD featuring Davis’s final recordings from 1979. GRADE: C+.

Betty Davis (USA): The Columbia Years  1968-1969 (Light In The Attic LITA 047, CD, with digipak, booklet and obi, 2016, recorded 1968-1969)
Rock/Soul/Funk/Jazz
Betty Davis (lead vocals)
This fascinating archive set compiles three 1968 recordings masterminded by Hugh Masakela and six 1969 demos arranged and produced by Davis’s then-husband Miles Davis. The former are standard sixties soul of no great distinction, but the Davis-produced numbers are much more interesting, blending R&B with proto-funk, rock and touches of jazz. The crew of backing musicians reads like a who’s who of the late sixties jazz/rock underground too, including Billy Cox, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Mitch Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, Wilton Felder and Joe Sample. It’s just a pity they left a lot of material in the can and only issued these nine cuts. GRADE: C+.

Dean Davis Company (USA): IInd Time Around (ETC Enterprises ST-1002, 1968?)
Folk/Rock
Paula Streiff (joint lead vocals)
Rooted in the coffeehouse movement, this is a pleasant folk/rock set with full band backing, but without any electric guitar leads. The long spoken-word passage on the first side is unfunny and superfluous, but overall this has good harmonies and some decent arrangements of material by Arlo Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Leonard Cohen, John Stewart and Buffy Ste-Marie. The disc is known with two completely different black-and-white front covers: one has lettering only, whilst the other depicts the band performing in front of some children. As the title, catalogue number and sleevenotes make clear, this was the band’s second album, but nothing is known about their debut; Dean Davis had also released an earlier solo album called Maria. GRADE: C+.
Dean Davis Company (USA): Stone County Road (ETC Enterprises ST-1003, 1969?)
Folk/Rock
Susie Schilling
As with its predecessor, this is a bit square in parts, with some overly sincere spoken passages from Davis being the lowpoint. However, it does display stronger hippie influences, including some mildly trippy flute on the opening title track, a pleasant version of ‘California Dreamin’’ and best of all a radical reworking of ‘White Rabbit’ based around acoustic guitar and organ. Davis later went on to the band Winterwood. GRADE: C+.

Liam Davison (UK): A Treasure Of Well-Set Jewels (Wymer TSA1003, CD, with slipcase, 2011)
Rock/Progressive
Anne-Marie Helder (occasional vocals), Heather Findlay (occasional vocals)
The late Liam Davison’s solo album sounds just like parent band Mostly Autumn, right down to his Bryan Josh-like vocals. As such, it offers mellow, mildly space rock with some nice symphonic and progressive diversions and a Pink Floyd edge – not cutting-edge music, but richly melodic and atmospheric. Mostly Autumn colleagues Anne-Marie Helder and Heather Findlay sing a couple of songs apiece. The deluxe edition of the disc featured two bonus tracks, a bonus video and a slipcase. GRADE: C+.
See also Ayreon, Heather Findlay, Anne-Marie Helder, Karnataka, Luna Rossa, Mantra Vega, Mostly Autumn, Odin Dragonfly, Panic Room, Parade, ProgAID

Davolinas (Denmark): Edge Of A New Day (Nasoni 032CD, CD, Germany, 2005)
Rock/Metal
Lene Kjaer Hvillum (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Anja Jargil (bass)
This mostly female power trio sing, compose and play competently, but with music this simple it would have taken great songwriting or incendiary solos to make this stand out. As it stands, this is merely workmanlike, but the vinyl version features a beautiful thick spot-varnished gatefold sleeve. GRADE: C+.

Dawnbreakers (Austria): Dawnbreakers (Unikum St-UN 3304, 1977?)
Folk/Rock
This ten-piece Baha’i band’s debut album is as gentle and beatific as one would expect, with solo and massed vocals backed by well-crafted acoustic and electric arrangements, including lots of flute. It’s all very anodyne, and the choral vocals and relentless sweetness may grate on some listeners after a while, but only once it is unlistenable (the most uptempo cut, ‘Great Day’). At its best (‘Wie Ein Traum’, ‘Neue Melodie’ and ‘Das Verborgene Wort’), they create some exceptionally beautiful and fragile music, so anyone with a penchant for Christian folk/rock should enjoy the bulk of this. GRADE: C+.
Dawn Breakers (Austria): Das Kind (EMI Columbia C 054-33 238, 1979)
Folk/Rock
Mariam Colard, Shirin Khadem-Missagh, Badieh Poostchi
The good news is that they’ve shrunk to a five-piece (plus backing musicians and an occasional children’s choir), so there are few choral vocals here. The bad news is that almost half the album (‘The Spirit’s The Same’ on side one and most of side two) is virtually unlistenable. The clue’s in the title: the five songs in question are aimed at children, whereas the more adult material is mostly lovely (especially side one’s closer ‘Vater Und Sohn’). If they’d concentrated on the good stuff, this could have been a solid step forward from the debut, but with lyrics in English, French, German, Italian, Yiddish and Zulu they seem to want to try everything, with very little concept of quality control. GRADE: C.
Dawn Breakers (Austria): To A Friend – Mein Freund (Elite Special LP 30–823, with inner, 1983)
Folk/Rock
Mariam Colard (joint lead vocals), Shirin Khadem-Missagh (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Badieh Poostchi (joint lead vocals), Neda Lintschinger (joint lead vocals, keyboards), Shahin Anayati (joint lead vocals), Vera Michalnik (occasional vocals), Elizabeth Feuerstein (percussion), Marina Mehrain (santour)
For album three, they’ve expanded to a sixteen-piece, but they wisely avoid the massed vocals that marred their first (and even more wisely avoid the children’s songs that ruined their second). Without those distractions, this is a solid album, with some nice symphonic keyboards and some well-written songs that are a touch sweet and precious, like most in the genre, but also capable of achieving a genuinely haunting, sacred quality at their best. GRADE: C+.
Dawn Breakers (Austria): Vision (RST 85 244 01, West Germany, 1985)
Folk/Rock
Mariam Colard (joint lead vocals), Shirin Khadem-Missagh (joint lead vocals, piano), Badieh Poostchi (joint lead vocals), Neda Litschinger (joint lead vocals, piano), Mina Mazal (joint lead vocals), Fresia Golbarani (joint lead vocals), Marian Waigal (santour)
Their fourth and final album is decent enough, including enjoyable prog-tinged side openers (‘Hiroshima’ and ‘War’), a fine title track with lots of fuzz guitar and an unexpected foray into hard rock on the brief ‘Schau Di’ Um’. As usual, there are a couple of rather twee moments, but even the weakest cuts have nice soft rock arrangements, with rich symphonic keyboards. Appropriately enough, the disc (and their career) closes with a remake of their best song, ‘Vater Und Sohn’. GRADE: C+.

Daybreak (USA): A Celebration Of The Individual (Dome RHHS 51374, with posters and booklet, 1974)
Rock
Minette Rao (occasional vocals), Jeanette De Jesus (occasional vocals), Kim Lovell (occasional vocals), Cathie Abruzzo (occasional vocals, keyboards), Rose Cusanelli (occasional vocals), Melinda Cucchiara (occasional vocals, guitar), Anna Cusanelli (occasional vocals), Joann Girace (backing vocals), Darlene Soykin (backing vocals), Tammi Sanders (backing vocals)
This extremely rare school project album is similar to the York Pop Music Project LP in both its conception (different groups of musicians working together in different permutations) and sound (underground rock drawing on singer/songwriter, folk and jazz music). The overall standard isn’t brilliant, but it’s a solid enough set with an appealingly garagy sound. As a footnote, the disc is very lavishly packaged, with a printed full colour sleeve, two posters and a foldout lyric insert. GRADE: C+.

Daylight (UK/USA): Daylight (RCA SF 8194, 1971)
Folk/Rock
Chrissie Quayle (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Whilst this laid-back hippie folk set doesn’t have a particularly distinctive sound, it is unusual for a British album: I tend to associate these kinds of lazy, summery, jazzy grooves with Canadian bands, who seem to have a penchant for this sort of thing. Best track is the closing ‘Carry Me’, which combines a catchy and anthemic melody with lively bongo-driven backing. GRADE: C+.
See also Various ‘Sounds Like West Cornwall’

Days (West Germany): Good Good Morning (Bellaphon BLPS 19254, 1976)
Pop/Rock
Dagmar Zima (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
This rather odd album mostly offers naïve symphonic pop, slightly recalling Abba, but also occasionally delves into heavy glam-rock, bordering metal. It’s pleasant and enjoyable, but I wouldn’t fall over myself to acquire their other two albums. GRADE: C+.

Daystar (USA): Daystar (Black Sheep NR13971, with inner, 1982)
Pop
René Kammeyer (lead vocals)
From the cover photograph of the six-piece band (four women, two men), this looks like a Christian folk or lounge album. In fact, it’s slick country-tinged pop with MOR edges, featuring all-original material, and the band is a trio plus backing musicians. It’s all very catchy, very slick, very professional and very dull indeed, though vocally René Kammeyer bears more than a passing resemblance to Karen Carpenter. GRADE: C.