Ho-Hy

Hobbits (USA): Down To Middle Earth (Decca DL 74920, 1967)
Pop/Psychedelic
A top-notch psychedelic pop LP, with the emphasis (unusually) as much on the psych as the pop part of the equation. The harder-edged, fuzz guitar-driven ‘Treats’ is the best thing on offer, but nearly every song has a great tune and a strong period arrangement. GRADE: C+.
Hobbits (USA): Men And Doors (Decca DL 5009 / 75009, 1968)
Pop/Psychedelic
Gini Eastwood
Their second is a much softer affair: big production ballads and pop with rich harmony vocals, sweeping orchestrations and few psychedelic elements. Whilst it’s a decent LP of its type, it’s mostly not a patch on their first, despite some unusual twists and turns (including the singer seeming to weep on the melodramatic ‘Feeling’). The highpoint this time is the trippy ‘Strawberry Children’, driven by sitar and bongos. The band later returned as the New Hobbits with an all-male line-up. GRADE: C.

Joanne Hogg (UK): Looking Into Light (Alliance Music 1901182, CD, 1999)
Folk/Rock
Joanne Hogg (lead vocals, piano)
The Iona singer’s solo debut is fairly MOR, including adaptations of a number of hymns, but the swirling keyboards and rich orchestrations create a suitably lush and ethereal mood. Not unlike the parent band without the rock and progressive elements, it’s a consistently sweet and satisfying LP but not a particularly memorable one. GRADE: C+.
Margaret Becker, Máire Brennan & Joanne Hogg (USA/Ireland/UK): In Christ Alone – New Hymns Of Prayer And Worship

(Worship Together 7243 8 20376/WTD 20376, CD, UK, 2001)
Margaret Becker (joint lead vocals), Máire Brennan (joint lead vocals), Joanne Hogg (joint lead vocals)
Folk/Rock
Uniting Hogg with her biggest influence Máire Brennan plus Margaret Becker (apparently an American Christian singer/songwriter), this collaboration features all-original material composed with pianist, arranger and producer Keith Getty. With most of Iona providing the backing, plus a host of other musicians, this unsurprisingly sounds like a more MOR hybrid of Iona and Clannad, featuring some attractive songs but also a fair degree of filler. GRADE: C.
Margaret Becker, Joanne Hogg & Kristyn Lennox (USA/UK): New Irish Hymns #2 – Father, Son And Holy Spirit (Kingsway Music KMCD2490, CD, UK, 2003)
Pop/MOR
Margaret Becker (joint lead vocals), Joanne Hogg (joint lead vocals), Kristyn Lennox (joint lead vocals)
With Máire Brennan gone, as well as the backing musicians from Iona, volume two of the New Irish Hymns series oddly drops all the Celtic elements. Instead this is straightforward CCM, offering a selection of polished, melodic orchestrated pop songs that are tuneful, well executed and consistently bland and uninteresting. GRADE: C–.
Margaret Becker, Kristyn Getty & Joanne Hogg (USA/UK): New Irish Hymns #3 – Incarnation (Kingsway Music KMCD2564, CD, with slipcase, UK, 2004)
Folk/Rock
Margaret Becker (joint lead vocals), Kristyn Getty (joint lead vocals), Joanne Hogg (joint lead vocals)
After the deeply underwhelming #2, it’s surprising to report that this contains some really excellent cuts, notably the dramatic ‘Prologue’ (which makes you think they’ve turned prog) and the stunning orchestrated ballad ‘Fullness Of Grace’. Some of the rest is a touch cheesy, with the whole set seeming to have a Christmas theme, but it’s well composed, beautifully arranged and impeccably produced, placing it in a different league to the previous two outings. As a bonus, it’s very attractively packaged, with a spot-varnished booklet and slipcase. GRADE: C+.
Margaret Becker, Kristyn Getty & Joanne Hogg (USA/UK): New Irish Hymns #4 – Hymns For The Life Of The Church (Kingsway Music KMCD2650, CD, UK, 2005)
Singer/Songwriter/Pop
Margaret Becker (joint lead vocals), Kristyn Getty (joint lead vocals), Joanne Hogg (joint lead vocals)
The fourth and final instalment of New Irish Hymns marks a return to the style of #2 – not as twee or as MOR, but all fairly laid-back and inconsequential. In fact, the best thing by far is the long closing string instrumental. GRADE: C.
Joanne Hogg & Frank van Essen (UK/Holland): Raphael’s Journey (Download, 2008)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk/Rock/Progressive
Joanne Hogg (lead vocals, piano)
Hogg’s second solo album outside the New Irish Hymns franchise, recorded with Iona drummer and multi-instrumentalist Frank van Essen, is an appealing mix of dreamy songs and almost ambient moments – once again not a million miles from the parent band. Two years later, the set was released on CD (No label, with minisleeve). GRADE: C+.
Joanne Hogg (UK): Personal (Kingsway Music KMCD3120, CD, 2008)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk/Rock
Joanne Hogg (lead vocals, piano)
Like its predecessor, this is rather lovely, bearing a strong resemblance to her songwriting contributions to Iona. Polished, melodic and superbly crafted, it’s probably the best release from her solo discography. GRADE: C+.

Joanne Hogg (UK): Uncountable Stars (No label, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2013)
Singer/Songwriter
Joanne Hogg (lead vocals, keyboards)
Another solid solo set from Hogg: perhaps a bit more uptempo and energetic than usual, but still firmly in a singer/songwriter vein. This isn’t the most striking or memorable of records, but it contains some good tunes and some appealingly mellow moods. GRADE: C+.
See also Dave Bainbridge, Iona

Hogweed & The Aderyn (Turkey): I (Wounded Wolf Press, CDR, with minisleeve and obi, UK, 2012)
Folk/Psychedelic
Gözde Omay
With four tracks totalling around 14½ minutes, this EP offers dreamy, lo-fi acid-folk with a few slight ethnic touches befitting their origins. The results are gentle, charming and beatific, though given the format this is inevitably a rather slight release. GRADE: C+.
Hogweed & The Aderyn (Turkey): II (Wounded Wolf Press wound13, CDR, with minisleeve, UK, 2012)
Folk/Psychedelic
Gözde Omay
Nearly twice as long as its predecessor, this maintains the same trippy, dreamy, cosmic style, with ethereal vocals buried under layers of echoing, shimmering instrumentation. Again it all feels a little inconsequential, but this should have appeal for fans of everyone from the Cocteau Twins to the Incredible String Band or Fit & Limo. As a footnote, both EPs were combined onto a single, self-titled CDR (Reverb Worship RW 214, UK, 2013). GRADE: C+.

Hölderlin (West Germany/Holland): Hölderlin’s Träum (Pilz 20 21314-5, West Germany, 1972)

Folk/Rock/Psychedelic/Progressive

Nanny de Ruig (principal vocals)

The opening ‘Waren Wir’ is maybe the best piece of Krautfolk ever: a magnificently rich, spacy tapestry of haunting singing, organ, Mellotron, flute and viola over hypnotic hand percussion. Aside from the extended closer ‘Träum’, the remaining cuts aren’t in the same league, but this is a fine album of trippy folk/rock with notable similarities to Bröselmaschine. The resemblance perhaps isn’t all that surprising, since the two bands shared a label, producer (the ubiquitous Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser) and engineer (the even more ubiquitous Dieter Dierks), and two members of Bröselmaschine guest on one cut. GRADE: B.

Hoelderlin (Germany/Finland): 8 (EMI 00946 85385 2 3, CD, Germany, 2007)

Progressive

Ann-Vi Eötvös (principal vocals, violin)

Following the release of Hölderlin’s Träum, Hölderlin mutated into Hoelderlin, releasing a string of more mainstream progressive rock albums with an all-male line-up before reuniting decades later with a new Finnish singer. With only the drummer remaining from Träum, this is radically different, being mellow, atmospheric soft rock and progressive with folkish and symphonic edges. GRADE: C+.

Kay Hoffmann (West Germany): Floret Silva (Belle Antique 8502, with booklet, 1985)
Classical/Folk/Progressive
Jacqueline Darby (principal vocals), Kay Hoffmann (keyboards, percussion, backing vocals)
With both Jacqueline Darby and Gaio Chiocchio on board, this could in some ways be regarded as the third Pierrot Lunaire album, although virtually everything was composed by German keyboardist Kay Hoffmann. Recorded in 1977 and 1978 but unreleased until 1985, Floret Silva blends mediaeval classical music (complete with Latin lyrics) with contemporary folk styles and occasional hints of jazz and rock. With 17 short vignettes – some acapella, some instrumental, only one with full rock band backing – this is an unusual and intriguing album that steps forward from Pierrot Lunaire’s avant-classical prog whilst pursuing somewhat different territory. As a footnote, Hoffmann went on to issue a number of albums in a quite different bossa nova-cum-world music vein. GRADE: B–.
See also Pierrot Lunaire

Hole In The Wall (Norway): Hole In The Wall (Sonet SLP-1420, with insert, 1972)
Folk/Rock
Anne Bolstad (violin, backing vocals), Elisabeth Braarvig (cello)
This rare album offers quite varied mellow folk/rock, with a definite hippie feel and occasional psychedelic edges, though it never recaptures the drama of the frenetic opener ‘Restless Man’. It’s a charming period piece, with a solid set of material and a very evocative mood. As a footnote, Anne Bolstad went on to become a successful classical soprano singer. GRADE: C+.
Hole In The Wall (Norway): Rose Of Barcelona (Mercury 9114 209, 1978)
Folk/Rock
Carmen de la Nuez (percussion, backing vocals)
The band’s long-delayed second and final album isn’t quite as good as their first, as it’s rather more whimsical, with several songs influenced by country, skiffle and busking music. That’s a shame, as when they take things more seriously (as on ‘Remnants Of Paradise’) they can be sublime. Fans of Pearls Before Swine (whom they often resemble) should love this, but it’s baffling to think that a major label could have released something like this in 1978 with any expectation of it selling. GRADE: C.

Hollenthon (Austria): Domus Mundi (Napalm NPR 067, CD, 1999)
Metal/Progressive
Elena Schirenc (occasional vocals)
The obvious reference point here is Therion’s Vovin, though this is harsher and more metallic; the big difference is the inclusion of world music elements, from Latin chanting to Arabic, North African and Celtic elements (and even a bagpipe solo). The husband-and-wife team of Martin (who contributes the music, nearly all the vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards) and Elena Schirenc (who provides the lyrics but barely appears, except for the closing cut) managed a fascinating fusion of extreme metal, classical and world music that constantly surprises and challenges. In fact, had this included a couple more long songs where the band stretched out, it would easily have been a B. GRADE: B–.
Hollenthon (Austria): With Vilest Of Worms To Dwell (Napalm NPR 091, CD, 2001)
Metal/Progressive
Elena Schirenc (occasional vocals)
Once again, this sounds like a harder, more low-budget and slightly more experimental Therion. They’ve considerably reduced the ethnic influences, however, and increased the classical element (including some snatches of actual classical music). The result is another powerful, diverse and dramatic record that’s full of intriguing twists and turns. GRADE: B–.
Hollenthon (Austria): Opus Magnum (Napalm NPR 242, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2008)
Metal/Progressive
Elena Schirenc (occasional vocals)
I wouldn’t call this their magnum opus, but it’s certainly the equal of the two albums that preceded it. They’ve expanded to a five-piece here, but the sound is pretty much as before: perhaps a bit tougher and slightly less classical, though still with the Latin elements and ethnic touches that make them such an interesting outfit. GRADE: B–.

Holy Angels (Japan): Metaphysics Meditation (Prescription 6, with insert, UK, 1998)
Psychedelic
Mineko Itakura (lead vocals, organ), Mako (guitar), Pee (bass), Non (drums)
Limited to 99 copies, this rare album by an all-female Japanese band (with the ubiquitous Asahito Nanjo helping out on electric sitar) features two side-long jams. ‘Holy Trip’ is excellent stuff, and if side two’s title track had been equally good I would probably have graded this B–, but the latter number is a touch more ponderous (though still very listenable). Since the members are listed by first names only, it is not entirely certain that ‘Mineko’ is indeed Mineko Itakura of the bands mentioned below, though some sources clearly assert this.

GRADE: C+.
See also Angel’In Heavy Syrup, Seventh Seal, Slap Happy Humphrey

Holy Mackerel (USA): Holy Mackerel (Reprise 6311, 1968)
Folk/Rock
Cynthia Ann Fitzpatrick (flute, backing vocals)
A mixture of sophisticated singer/songwriter and folk/rock elements, this covers a wide range of territory. Styles include trippy psychedelia with sitar, tablas and treated vocals (the excellent ‘Wildflowers’) and popsike with lyrics mixing Edward Lear and the Reverend Spooner (‘Prinderella’) through to throwaway country/rock (‘The Somewhere In Arizona At 4.30am Restaurant Song’). Most of it is fairly mainstream late sixties pop/rock, though, and very well executed, with the more psychedelic tracks definitely being the standouts. GRADE: C+.

Homestead & Wolfe (USA): Our Times (Topo TOPO HB-100, 1975)
Folk/Rock
Janice Gundy (joint lead vocals), JoAnne Avery (joint lead vocals, keyboards, tambourine)
This is an album of odd contrasts: it’s an obscure private pressing but features a superb recording and top session men (Hal Blaine, Ben Benay, Jay Dee Maness and others) and it was recorded in the mid-seventies but sounds more like 1967 (despite the frequent use of pedal steel guitar). Musically it’s charming folk/rock, with some excellent original songs, with the only drawback being the rather generic feel. The CD reissue (Anopheles 008, 2004) adds several fine bonus tracks, including the heavy and psychedelic ‘Beat Of The Drum’ and the dreamy, trippy ‘Mary Jane’. GRADE: C+.

Homínido (Chile): Estirpe Lítica (No label, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2014)
Progressive/Metal
Eliana Valenzuela Hernández (lead vocals)
According to the band’s promotional blurb, this is a ‘conceptual album [that] shows through music the ancestral relationship of humans with stones’. If that makes you expect something new agey, think again: this may start in an ethnic-cum-post rock vein, but mostly it’s song-based heavy progressive with a few modern jazz and ethnic touches, all with a typically understated South American style. The best cut by far is the instrumental ‘Etermo Retorno’, which is the only place where the band really cuts loose. GRADE: C+.

Honalee (West Germany): Fisherman’s Wife (Honalee LP 919081, 1978?)
Folk
Gila Schneikart (joint lead vocals, guitar, harmonium, whistle)
This very obscure private pressing offers some lovely traditional folk/rock, focusing on a well-chosen selection of Irish and English songs. A beautiful version of Ewan MacColl’s title song is the highpoint, but there are no really weak moments. GRADE: C+.

Honey Ltd (USA): Honey Ltd (LHI 12002, 1968)
Pop/Psychedelic
Laura Polkinghorne Creamer, Marsha Jo Temmer, Joan Sliwin, Sandy Sliwin
This is one of the rarest late sixties American albums to appear on a ‘real’ label. Since it contains just eight tracks, totalling twenty-two minutes, and all in mono, it may well have been a tax-loss project, though there’s a full colour, factory-finished sleeve. Musically, it’s exquisite psychedelic pop with stunning harmony vocals and mostly self-penned songs. After cutting this lost classic, the band renamed itself Eve and released a second album on LHI. GRADE: B–.
See also Eve

Honeybee Ridge (USA): Honeybee Ridge (Beaver Creek Revolution LPS 1001, 1979)
Country
Sandra Kline (joint lead vocals, piano, percussion, autoharp), Jennifer Kline (occasional vocals)
Doubtless I bought this as ‘country/rock’, but it’s basically straightforward country-and-western. Also doubtless it’s a good example of the style, but this simply isn’t one of my preferred genres. On the plus side, ‘Blessing’ is an unusual piece of ethnic music, ‘Whipoorwill’ is a haunting folk song and the closing ‘Cat Paw’, sung by two band members’ children, could pass for an outtake from an above-average school project LP. GRADE: C–.

Honeydew (UK): The Honeydew (Argo ZFB 15, 1971)
Folk/Pop/Psychedelic
Barbara Yates (joint lead vocals)
Argo released a seemingly endless supply of obscure albums: this one, cut by the band that went on to become Saraband, is among the scarcest. The disc opens promisingly with the excellent ‘Part Of This Game’, which, with its childlike popsike vibe, strongly resembles Trader Horne, particularly in Barbara Yates’s vocals. The first side contains several other fine pop/folk songs, with lots of ornate embellishments recalling the Sunforest LP, but the second is mediocre, with a procession of lightweight and twee numbers. The album, which sounds a couple of years earlier than its release date, accurately reflects its cover, depicting the band in a forest dressed in Swingin’ London finery. GRADE: C+.
See also Saraband

Honeymoon Killers (Belgium): Les Tueurs De La Lune De Miel (Crammed Discs CRAM 013, with insert, 1981)
New Wave
Véronique Vincent (joint lead vocals)
This parallel band to Aksak Maboul offers experimental funky new wave-ish pop, comparable to Les I and with hints of more mainstream outfits like the Slits or Talking Heads. It’s nice, playful stuff with a very Gallic feel, but this certainly isn’t the most substantial album in the world. GRADE: C+.
See also Aksak Maboul

Hookey Band (UK): Making A Song And A Dance About It (Woodworm WR 004, 1983)
Folk/Rock
Sheena Powell (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Released on Fairport Convention’s vanity label Woodworm Records, this unsurprisingly sounds like a cross between Fairport and the Albion Dance Band. The disc mixes traditional and self-penned numbers with covers of material by (unsurprisingly) Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny and John Tams, and offers a pleasant mixture of folk/rock songs and electrified morris tunes. There’s nothing at all original here and they don’t have any distinctive style of their own, but anyone liking electric folk is bound to enjoy this. GRADE: C+.

Hooknorton (UK): In For A Penny… (Groan 10001, 1977)
Folk/Singer/Songwriter
Caroline Ritson (joint lead vocals, guitar), Barbara Duggan (joint lead vocals, piano, violin, pipes)
At its best – as on ‘Hour After Hour’ and ‘High And Dry’, this extremely rare album offers beautiful and haunting singer/songwriter material, with delicate acoustic backing. Elsewhere it can be a touch insubstantial or whimsical, with its close harmonies and slight jazz and MOR influences, but overall it’s a pleasant if rather inconsequential set. GRADE: C+.
See also Jumpleads

Hootch (USA): Hootch (Pro-Gress PRS 4844, 1974)
Psychedelic
Laura Schaefer
This college project album consists mainly of guitar-led instrumental jams, interspersed with a couple of actual songs. I’ve seen it compared to the Grateful Dead, but the vibe is completely different, and with its echoey, forlorn mood and slightly hesitant playing it reminds me more of the heavier tracks on the Collective Tools LP. GRADE: B–.

Hopper S Klossner (UK): Different (Blueprint BP303CD, CD, 1998)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Lisa S Klossner (lead vocals)
This collaboration between singer Lisa S Klossner and famed Canterbury bassist Hugh Hopper is unusual in that the latter provides most of the musical backing using the Cubase software system. Conventional instruments are added to most tracks, but only sparsely, so for the most part this features Klossner’s voice accompanied by Hopper’s programmed keyboards and drums. I’m generally not keen on such thin-sounding records, but this is a good one, with a succession of well-crafted, melodic, subtly weird songs that come closer to RIO than Canterbury and sometimes recall Annette Peacock. GRADE: C+.
Hopper S Klossner (UK): Cryptids (Blueprint BP 337 CD, CD, 2000)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Lisa S Klossner (lead vocals)
The duo’s second and final album is slightly different, having considerably weirder songs featuring greater use of real instruments (including Frances Knight on piano, Pip Pyle on drums and Elton Dean on saxophone). Despite Klossner’s very different singing style, the end result rather resembles a cross between Dagmar Krause and B-Shops For The Poor, offering some excellent RIO. GRADE: B–.

Horizon (UK): Horizon In Concert (MJB AD SLP 1398, 1973)
Folk
Glenda Dando (joint lead vocals), Beryl Milsom (joint lead vocals)
More a document of a folk club event than a true band album, this LP (as usual for this sort of thing) is mediocre in parts, but includes some lovely female vocal material in others. On the downside, several would-be comedy numbers on side two are about as amusing as syphilis. GRADE: C–.

Horncastle Fayre (UK): Horncastle Fayre (Guildhall/Boston Sound Hunters GHS9, 1973)
Folk
Christine Scott (joint lead vocals, percussion, psaltery), Angela Kitchen (joint lead vocals, viola)
In one of the more outrageous examples of dealer hyping, a copy of the Horncastle Fayre LP was offered for £700 and compared to Caedmon. The two bands could not be less alike: Horncastle Fayre was an all-acoustic medieval folk outfit, similar to Brighthelmstones, City Waites or My Lord Sheriffe’s Complainte. GRADE: C+.
See also At The Signe Of The Bull

Höstsonaten (Italy): Springsong (Sublime 1-122001, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, inner and inserts, 2001)
Progressive
Francesca Biagini (flute)
The label name is apt: this is indeed a sublime album, and it’s hard to believe that Höstsonaten morphed out of the distinctly underwhelming Finisterre. It’s also hard to believe that this is the same band that issued the patchy, disjointed Mirrorgames, which embodied many of the worst elements of modern Italian prog. All-instrumental, this sumptuous suite fringes pastoral classical and easy listening, but there are rock elements too and there’s plenty of variety and invention here. The stunning packaging – a textured card gatefold, printed inner and ten inserts – is the icing on the cake. GRADE: B–.

Höstsonaten (Italy): Autumnsymphony (Ams AMS168CD, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2009)
Progressive
Simona Angiolini (occasional vocals)
This wasn’t the direct follow-up to Springsong; an album cut by an all-male line-up, Winterthrough, was released in 2008. However, it’s very much its spiritual successor, offering another accomplished suite of instrumental music that starts out in a rock vein, flirts with jazz and ends in a pastoral classical mood with Simona Angiolini providing some beautiful wordless vocals. If anything, this may be even better than Springsong, with greater dynamics and energy plus a few truly stunning moments. GRADE: B.

Höstonaten (Italy): Summereve (Ams AMS 194 CD, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2011)
Progressive
Sylvia Trabucco (violin), Joanne Roan (flute)
This isn’t quite the equal of its predecessor, with a more modern (and unfortunately, more neoprogressive) feel. Nonetheless it’s a more than decent suite of instrumental music, with the folkier and more classical sections, based around flute, oboe and strings, generally being the best. GRADE: B–.
Höstonaten (Italy): The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (Ams AMS 208 CD, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2011)
Progressive
Simona Angiolini (occasional vocals), Sylvia Trabucco (violin), Joanne Roan (flute)
Abandoning their instrumental format, this adaptation of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s work steers close to rock opera, with different vocalists on each segment. Thankfully it never crosses that line, and has some nice seventies-sounding keyboards and plenty of folky violin, but it’s still a bit portentous for my tastes and a huge step down from their earlier work. GRADE: C+.
Höstonaten (Italy): Alive In Theatre – The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Chapter One (Ams AMS 227 CD, DVD plus CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2011)
Progressive
Simona Angiolini (occasional vocals), Sylvia Trabucco (violin), Joanne Roan (flute)
‘Theatre’ is about right: this is a full-blown spectacle, not just a gig, complete with a plethora of dancers and actors. It’s very impressive too, and must have been a wonderful show to attend, but I still find the accompanying music good rather than great. GRADE: B–.
Höstonaten (Italy): Symphony N. 1 – Cupid And Psyche (Ams AMS 258 CD, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2016)
Progressive
Laura Marsano (guitar)
Returning to an instrumental format (with a slightly different line-up, now with Sylvia Trabucco and Joanne Roan reduced to the status of guests), Höstsonaten also return to form with this impressive set. More varied and more rocking than their previous suites, Symphony N. 1 covers everything from jazzy territory (complete with a horn section) to baroque classical – and does it with aplomb. GRADE: B–.

See also Aries, Finisterre

Hot Breath (Sweden): Hot Breath (The Sign SQR028, CD, with digipak, 2019)
Rock/Metal
Jennifer Israelson (lead vocals, guitar)
As seventies-style hard rock goes, this EP is pretty good, offering six snappy songs in 21 minutes. This isn’t a genre in which boundaries get pushed, and Hot Breath don’t do anything you won’t have heard before, but they do it very well and there’s some great music here.

GRADE: C+.
Hot Breath (Sweden): Rubbery Lips (The Sign, CD, with digipak, 2021)
Rock/Metal
Jennifer Israelson (lead vocals, guitar)
They might have rubbery lips, but there’s nothing blubbery about their album proper: this is all-killer and no-filler, offering 10 songs in 34 minutes. Heavier and more assertive than their debut, this often resembles a harder, meaner Pretenders – and whilst it’s still far from ambitious, it succeeds admirably on its own uncompromising terms. GRADE: B–.
See also Honeymoon Disease

Hot Fur (Israel): Hot Fur (No label, CD, 1998)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Yael Kraus (principal vocals), Noa Frenkel (occasional vocals)
On the opening ‘Adventure In Space’ and a couple of other cuts, the band sound like Cos reborn, with Yael Kraus’s vocals a dead ringer for Pascale Son’s and exactly the same kind of playful but complex jazz/rock backing. Elsewhere, they forge their own identity but still remain firmly within the Canterbury sphere, with some well-used avant-garde touches. This is certainly one of the better jazz/rock releases of the last couple of decades. The band went on to cut a further studio album and a live set with an all-male line-up. GRADE: B–.

Hot Poop (USA): Does Their Own Stuff (No label HPS-3702, 1971)
Garage/Psychedelic/‘Incredibly Strange Music’
Lisa Hebbard (keyboards)
This oddball private pressing is probably best known for its cover: the front depicts a band member defecating whilst another mainlines heroin, whilst the rear features the group nude with switched genitals (so the female member has an, er, male member). Musically it’s odd garage rock with lots of trebly organ and one foot apiece in surf music and psychedelic jamming, with some tracks featuring weird, stoned falsetto vocals. It’s all fairly slight but it’s pretty good and generally underrated by critics; apart from anything else, the disc sounds years ahead of its time, as numerous post-punk neo-psychedelic outfits pursued a similar sound and trash aesthetic in the eighties. GRADE: C+.

House On The Corner (UK): The House On The Corner (No label CDR 1003, 1973?)
Classical/Folk
Sue Jones (occasional vocals)
Strictly speaking a ‘various artists’ album, this is a sort of audio documentary of a church hall, with musical tracks linked by narration and sound effects in a style similar to A Fleeting Glance (although this isn’t a concept album and isn’t musically comparable). For the most part the disc features school choirs, classical piano and organ passages and the likes, but there are two pleasant folk songs fronted by Sue Jones, ‘Little Babe’ (which she wrote herself) and ‘When I Survey The Wondrous Cross’. Apart from those tracks, there’s nothing here to interest folk or rock fans, although this hasn’t stopped the album selling for big money. GRADE: C–.

Catherine Howe (UK): What A Beautiful Place (Reflection REFL 11, 1971)
Singer/Songwriter
Catherine How (lead vocals, piano)
Catherine Howe’s debut sharply divides opinion, partly because of its rarity and huge price-tag (with copies regularly selling for well into four figures). Many collectors find it too sedate and twee, with its lush orchestrations, delicate woodwinds and slightly arch spoken word interludes. Nonetheless it’s a lovely album, though the title track (where she drops the orchestration and ups the tempo to sound a little like Véronique Sanson) lifts the mood enormously. GRADE: C+.
Catherine Howe (UK): Harry (RCA SF 8407, 1975)
Singer/Songwriter
Catherine Howe (lead vocals, keyboards)
Howe’s second album (which, unlike her first, would struggle to fetch a tenner) is in parts both more commercial and more uptempo than her debut. In fact, ‘Hot Night’ flirts with disco music, complete with funky rhythms, sweeping strings and staccato horns. For the most part, however, this is delicate and beautiful singer/songwriter music, again demonstrating her high level of talent. GRADE: C+.
Catherine Howe (UK): Silent Mother Nature (RCA RS 1041, 1976)
Singer/Songwriter
Catherine Howe (lead vocals, keyboards)
Like its predecessor, this is well-crafted singer/songwriter music, ranging from gentle piano ballads to uptempo soft rockers. However, with punk breaking through, this was exactly the sort of music people didn’t want to hear in 1976 and if Sandy Denny couldn’t shift the far superior Rendezvous in any quantity, Catherine Howe stood no chance. GRADE: C+.
Catherine Howe (UK): Dragonfly Days (Ariola ARL 5013, with insert, 1979)
Singer/Songwriter
Catherine Howe (lead vocals, keyboards)
The slight disco elements evident on earlier albums become more prominent here (perhaps not surprising with Richard Hewson producing and Les Hurdle on bass); she even attempts a reggae number. However, these commercial comprises didn’t work and Howe did not issue another album for more than 25 years GRADE: C+.

Catherine Howe (UK): Princelet Street (No label HO41229423, CD, 2005)
Singer/Songwriter
Catherine Howe (lead vocals, keyboards)
How many people were actually awaiting Howe’s return, I have no idea, but this is actually her best album. Ranging from acapella settings to Latin jazz, orchestrations and more traditional singer/songwriter backing, it’s a lovely set – and there’s not a disco beat in sight.

GRADE: C+.
Catherine Howe & Vo Fletcher (UK): English Tale (Proper Music Distribution VOCA1, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2010)
Folk
Catherine Howe (principal vocals)
Quite different from her previous album, this mostly sets Howe’s lovely voice against Vo Fletcher’s delicate classically-tinged guitar work. Although everything is self-penned, the feel is authentically traditional, particularly on the stunning ‘Nothing Love Does Surprises Me’. GRADE: C+.
Catherine Howe, Vo Fletcher, Ric Sanders & Michael Gregory (UK): Because It Would Be Beautiful (Talking Elephant TECD306,

CD, 2015)
Folk
Catherine Howe (principal vocals)
With Graeme Taylor co-producing (though sadly not playing), Howe has quite the all-star backing band. That said, about half the cuts are just her and Fletcher playing delicate acoustic folk, with Sanders and Gregory participating on some more uptempo and jazzy numbers. With an impressive eleven-minute prog-tinged closer, this is another tasteful and very well executed album. GRADE: C+.

Howth Castle (Italy): Rust Of Keys (Inisheer IN 1207, with inner, 1990)

Folk/Psychedelic/Avant-Garde

Marinella Ollino (joint lead vocals)

Like the members’ other project Environs, Howth Castle take their name from ‘Finnegans Wake’; but musically they’re more similar to (yet another) parallel entity Orsi Lucille, offering acoustic folk interspersed with sound effects and avant-garde elements. There’s a lot more to it than that, though: there’s everything here from apocalyptic industrial folk (‘They Came’) to weird mutant electropop (‘Song For Nico’) to an excellent number that starts as a haunting piano ballad before becoming a catchy Velvet Underground-like garage rocker (‘Lady Of Moon, Man Of Sun’). It all adds up to Ollino and Giaccone’s best piece of work to date. GRADE: B–.

Howth Castle (Italy): Concerto Benefit X Luna Nera (No label, cassette, 1993)
Folk
Marinella Ollino (principal vocals)
Lacking the psychedelic edges and variety of their studio set, this is straightforward and pleasant folk, plus a little acoustic blues.

GRADE: C+.
Howth Castle (Italy): Good Morning, Mr Nobody! (Blu Bus BB26, CD, 1994)
Folk/Psychedelic
Marinella Ollino (joint lead vocals)
The first few songs are rather underwhelming, mixing mournful acoustic folk with tapes of Native American singing and sound effects, but the album improves radically from their cover of Free’s ‘Child’ onwards. Bringing in a wider range of instruments and some excellent electric guitar, it offers several lovely compositions plus a gentle acoustic version of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Stella Blue’. As a result, this isn’t a flawless album, and it’s perhaps just a notch below Rust Of Keys, but there is still plenty to enjoy here. GRADE: B–.

Howth Castle (Italy): The Lee Tide (Inisheer INCD07, CD, 1996)
Folk/Rock/Psychedelic
Marinella Ollino (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Like its predecessor, this opens with a couple of rather average songs, before offering some beautiful and haunting psychedelic folk, including excellent covers of material by Tom Rapp, John Cale and Tim Buckley. There’s also an instrumental jam dedicated to Jerry Garcia, which doesn’t remind me of the Dead in any way but is still rather impressive. GRADE: B–.

See also Franti, Environs, Ishi, Lalli, Orsi Lucille, Yuan Ye

Linda Hoyle (UK): Pieces Of Me (Vertigo 6360 060, 1971)
Rock
Linda Hoyle (lead vocals)
This comes as quite a disappointment after the majesty of the Affinity LP. Eschewing progressive rock and jazz/rock altogether, here Hoyle mainly offers a mixture of slightly cloying ballads and mildly funky early seventies rock with a few sixties pop traces. However, she also manages forays into traditional blues (‘Barrel House Music’), blues/rock (‘Backlash Blues’) and hard rock with insane, squealing fuzz guitar (the title track). The latter two cuts are by some margin the most interesting things on offer. GRADE: C.

Linda Hoyle (UK): The Fetch (Angel Air SJPCD, CD, 2015)
Jazz
Linda Hoyle (lead vocals)
Hoyle’s first recordings in 44 years could have been in almost any musical style. In fact, they’re smooth, slightly funky modern jazz, providing effective settings for the delicate upper register of her voice. It’s all beautifully done and her singing is outstanding, but with relatively little variety in the mood and the rock elements toned down significantly there’s little here for fans of Affinity-style prog.

GRADE: C+.
See also Affinity

Hubbels (USA): The Hubbels (Audio Fidelity AFSD 6221, 1969)
Pop/Psychedelic
Mary Ann Frazell (joint lead vocals)
A fine hippie pop/rock set from a husband-and-wife duo, with the husband writing nearly all the material. Their style is sometimes upbeat, sometimes gentle, always folky and often subtly psychedelic, with some of the harmony vocals recalling Jefferson Airplane. Highpoints include the dreamy acoustic ballad ‘Sunrise Is Setting’, an unusual version of ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ (which fits perfectly into their style) and the closing ‘Hippy Dippy Funky Monkey Double Bubble Sitar Man’, whose title speaks for itself. GRADE: C+.

John Huckert & Mary Little (USA): Through The Music I Will Love You (Apricot Cordial, no sleeve, 1975)
Folk
This duo of singer/songwriters recorded this very rare demo album in a bedroom, backing themselves on acoustic guitars, piano and synthesiser. For the most part, it’s mellow, gentle and rather spacy with the synthesiser adding a trippy edge to several tracks; Huckert has a similarly relaxed singing style, but Little has an unusual, deep voice that is rather androgynous. The eerie ‘Sweet Cocaine’ is by far the best track, recalling Collective Tools with its combination of drug-inspired lyrics and desolate psychedelic folk backing. Only a handful of copies are known of the LP, which commands very high prices. GRADE: C+.

Rita & Tony Hudd Featuring Bottle Of Bread (UK): The Wooden Leg Album (Burlington BURL 022, 1985)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk/Rock
Rita Hudd (joint lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, dulcimer, recorder)
With full band backing, this couple’s album features mostly original songs and effectively bridges the singer/songwriter and folk/rock genres. Occasionally it’s a touch whimsical, but for the most part it’s lovely, haunting stuff, with excellent singing from both Tony and Rita and the latter’s tuned percussion adding a mildly trippy edge. A song dedicated to Sandy Denny makes clear their biggest influence, and at its best this really does recapture the bittersweet mood of her songs. GRADE: C+.

Louise Huebner (USA): Seduction Through Witchcraft (Warner Brothers WS 1819, 1969)
‘Incredibly Strange Music’
Louise Huebner (lead vocals)
Huebner – apparently ‘a sixth generation witch, a third generation astrologer, a psychic’ – intones mystical nonsense in a robotic voice whilst electronic music pioneers Louis and Bebe Barron add occasional synthesiser swirls in the background. Maybe she really did have supernatural powers of mind control: I can’t see any other reason for Warner Brothers to have released this. GRADE: D.

Huggett Family (Canada): The Huggett Family (Daffodil DAF 10044, 1973)
Folk/Pop
Margaret Huggett (joint lead vocals, guitar, harpsichord, recorder, crumhorn), Jennifer Huggett (joint lead vocals, percussion, cello, recorder, crumhorn, gamba), Fiona Huggett (joint lead vocals, percussion, viol, recorder)
Formed by a classical musician, his wife and their four teenage children, the Huggett Family offered gentle, melodic folk/pop songs with lots of mediaeval wind instruments. Most of the numbers are self-penned, although they cover Judy Collins and Carole King and play delicate, eerie versions of ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘Trees’ and ‘Greensleeves’ (all ideally suited to their unusual style). Surprisingly, this was recorded in London with George Martin producing, and it also received a major label release in the UK (Pye NSPL 18407). They went on to cut a number of other albums, mostly consisting of reinterpretations of medieval tunes and madrigals. GRADE: C.

Irene Hume (UK): Prelude (Modern Music MODEM 1002, 1987)
Progressive/New Age
Irene Hume (lead vocals)
As far from Prelude as one can imagine, Hume’s album consists entirely of her voice processed through a sampler, then looped and echoed to infinity. The results often resemble a more free-from Enya, without words or songs, and are much more compelling and intriguing than one might expect. GRADE: C+.
See also Prelude

Hunk Ai (Denmark): Hunk Ai (Olufsen DOC 5031, 1987)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Cathrine Lervig (lead vocals)
This interesting Danish LP blends elements of zeuhl, RIO and Canterbury along with some funk and new wave stylings and an experimental, vaguely operatic, singer to great effect. The most obvious comparison would be a wilder and less melodious Cos with strong free jazz edges, but there are also hints of everyone from Les I and Armande Altaï to Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich. The result is a creative, constantly surprising disc that’s very unusual for its era. GRADE: B–.
Hunk Ai (Denmark): Alene Hjemme (Olufsen DOC 5090, 1990)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Cathrine Lervig (lead vocals, synthesiser)
In parts even more experimental than its predecessor, this is a highly creative record recalling the seventies greats of RIO and zeuhl but also reflecting the current generation of innovators such as Shub-Niggurath. Relentlessly inventive and constantly challenging, this is among the top tier of Scandinavian prog albums. GRADE: B.
See also Atlantis Transit

Leslie Hunt (USA): Sony Demo (CDR, 2000)
Rock
Before she competed in ‘American Idol’ and joined District 97, Leslie Hunt cut this five-song, 19-minute demo for Sony Records. Produced by Survivor’s Jim Peterik (co-writer of ‘Eye Of The Tiger’), it’s beautifully recorded, with studio sound quality. Musically, it’s a mixture of ballads, slightly jazzy stuff and light rockers, with some (almost certainly sampled) Mellotron adding a slightly proggy edge to the opening ‘Jagged’. GRADE: C+.

Leslie Hunt (USA): From The Strange To A Stranger (No label, CD, 2007)
Singer/Songwriter
Leslie Hunt (lead vocals, piano)
Quite different from her later work with District 97 (and indeed from her 2002 demo for Sony), this is singer/songwriter fare with backing only from her own piano. Like most single-instrument albums, it’s a bit sparse and somewhat lacking in variety, but the quality of her singing, writing and playing means that it mostly holds the attention. GRADE: C+.

Leslie Hunt (USA): Ascend (Spirit Of Unicorn Music SOUM004CD, CD, with digipak and booklet, UK, 2021)
Singer/Songwriter
Leslie Hunt (lead vocals, guitar, piano)
This elegant singer/songwriter affair, with semi-electric backing and definite pop sensibilities, is significantly different from her debut and even further away from District 97. Melodic, well-crafted and likeable, its main failing is a slight lack of substance – especially as there’s only 24 minutes of it.

See also District 97

Frances Mary Hunter Gordon & Choir Of Girls From The Convent Of The Sacred Heart Woldingham (UK): Folk Mass

(No label SSLXS 307, 1968)
Folk
Frances Mary Hunter Gordon (joint lead vocals, guitar), Corinna Liddell (joint lead vocals), Lucy Fisher (joint lead vocals), Linda Magill (joint lead vocals), Hilary Goodson (joint lead vocals, guitar), Caroline Greenwood (joint lead vocals, guitar), Louise Keane (joint lead vocals, guitar), Mary Price (joint lead vocals, guitar), Jennifer Smedley (joint lead vocals, guitar), Georgina Allen (joint lead vocals), Loelia Crosthwaite-Eyre (joint lead vocals), Melony de Burgh (joint lead vocals), Annabel Ferguson (joint lead vocals), Susan Foll (joint lead vocals), Eugenie Hunter (joint lead vocals), Kris King (joint lead vocals), Maya Ligertwood (joint lead vocals), Elizabeth Mould (joint lead vocals), Anne Pressinger (joint lead vocals), Caroline Stevens (joint lead vocals)
Only a handful of copies are known of this single-sided private pressing, which, as its name suggests, offers an original folk mass composed by Hunter Gordon and performed by her along with her fellow choirgirls. The result is a beautiful, haunting schoolgirl folk LP with a liturgical feel; those who love Reality From Dream and similar efforts will adore it. GRADE: C+.

Sami Hurmerinta (Finland): Sami Hurmerinta (Love LRLP 263, 1978)
Rock/Progressive
Maarit Hurmerinta (principal vocals)
With a little bit of everything thrown in, this spans gentle ballads to funky, jazzy rock with horns to proggy instrumentals, mainly serving as a vehicle for Hurmerinta’s excellent guitar playing. Wife Maarit lends her lovely voice to several cuts. GRADE: C+.
See also Maarit

Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, John Kirkpatrick & Barry Dransfield (UK): Morris On (Island HELP 5, 1972)
Folk/Rock
Shirley Collins (occasional vocals)
Clearly there’s a limit to how exciting an album of electrified morris tunes can be, but the stellar cast of musicians means that this has a powerful and punchy sound. Shirley Collins adds her plaintive voice to ‘Staines Morris’ and ‘The Willow Song’. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings, Simon Nicol, John Tams, Phil Pickett, Michael Gregory, Dave Mattacks, Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy, John Watcham, John Rodd, Albion Morris Men, Ian Cutler & Adderbury Village Morris Men (UK): Son Of Morris On

(Harvest SHSM 2012, 1976)
Folk/Rock
Shirley Collins (occasional vocals)
As the title suggests, this is volume two of the above – equally good and with the same caveat. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): By Gloucester Docks I Sat Down And Wept (Paradise & Thorns PAT 1, CD, 1987)
Folk/Rock
Polly Bolton (joint lead vocals), Marilyn Cutts (joint lead vocals), Christine Collister (occasional vocals)
This concept album is quite varied, from gentle folk to energetic rock, and is listenable and well-crafted although ultimately fairly unspectacular. Polly Bolton shares the singing with Hutchings himself (with Christine Collister fronting the opening ‘I Dreamed A Dream’) whilst Michael Pennington and Marilyn Cutts provide the narration GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings All Stars (UK): As You Like It (Making Waves SPIN CD 135, CD, 1988)
Folk/Rock
Polly Bolton (joint lead vocals)
‘My Bonny Boy’ (otherwise known as ‘Long A-Growing’) is hauntingly beautiful, but for the most part this is good-time rock and folk/rock of exactly the type I don’t like. This must have been a fun show to watch, and the band appear to be enjoying themselves, but whether it needed to be preserved for posterity is a different matter. GRADE: C.
Judy Dunlop & Ashley Hutchings (UK): Sway With Me (Albino ALB007, CD, 1991)
Folk
Judy Dunlop (principal vocals)
Subtitled ‘a celebration of the tree and its offspring’, this is a concept album mixing songs and spoken word passages in Hutchings’s usual style. It’s beautiful, delicate stuff, if a bit lacking in variety, but only the haunting ‘The Charcoal-Burner/Burning Up’ really sticks in the mind. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings All Stars (UK/USA): By Gloucester Docks I Sat Down And Wept – Live (Albino ALB009, cassette, 1994, recorded 1988)
Folk/Rock
Polly Bolton (joint lead vocals)
This live version of the album is exceptionally well recorded and very energetic, so it’s actually better than the studio original. Of course, completists will want them to both, but to my ears this is the version to go for (especially with three bonus tracks on the later CD).

GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): The Guv’nor’s Big Birthday Bash (HTD CD 39, CD, 1995)
Folk/Rock
Chris While (joint lead vocals, guitar), Polly Bolton (occasional vocals), Julie Matthews (occasional vocals, guitar, keyboards), Vikki Clayton (occasional vocals), Diane Walmisley (occasional vocals)
Recorded live at a concert celebrating Hutchings’s fiftieth birthday, this features a good cross-section of material and an interesting line-up of collaborators from the Albion Band and beyond. GRADE: C+.
Phil Beer, Ashley Hutchings & Chris While (UK): Ridgeriders (HTD HTDCD103, CD, 1999)
Folk/Singer/Songwriter
Chris While (joint lead vocals, guitar)
This is a pleasant collection of mainly acoustic songs about the ‘Southern English landscape’, with occasional backing from the Albion Band. I much prefer the Chris While-fronted songs to the Phil Beer-fronted ones, and generally prefer the ballads to the more uptempo material; the best numbers by far are the sublime ‘Close Your Eyes’ and ‘Dorset Cursus’, but there are only two or three weak cuts. GRADE: C+.
Phil Beer, Ashley Hutchings & Chris While (UK): Ridgeriders In Concert (Talking Elephant TECD035, CD, 2001)
Folk/Singer/Songwriter
Chris While (principal vocals, guitar, percussion)
Interspersing songs and narration, this is a pleasant live set that concentrates on the acoustic end of their repertoire. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): Human Nature (Talking Elephant TECD053, CD, 2003)
Folk
Polly Bolton (occasional vocals), Kellie While (occasional vocals), Emily Slade (occasional vocals, guitar), Judy Dunlop (occasional vocals)
Quite why this is credited as a Hutchings solo album is debatable: he’s involved in writing all the tracks, but only sings lead on one number and doesn’t play on quite a few of the others. Essentially a ‘various artists’ set, it’s a pleasant collection of acoustic folk and occasionally folk/rock songs ‘observing the human relationship with creatures and plants’. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): The Guv’nor, Volume One (HTD CD 23, CD, 1994, recorded 1966-1993)
Folk/Rock
Cathy Lesurf (occasional vocals), Sandy Denny (occasional vocals), Shirley Collins (occasional vocals), Chris While (occasional vocals), Maddy Prior (occasional vocals), Melanie Harrold (guitar), Julie Matthews (keyboards), Sue Draheim (violin), Judy Dyble (backing vocals), Julie Covington (backing vocals), Polly Bolton (backing vocals)
This interesting odds-and-sods collection features previously unreleased archive recordings from the Ethnic Shuffle Orchestra (Hutchings’s very first outfit, which metamorphosed into Fairport Convention), Fairport itself, Steeleye Span, an early Albion Country Band line-up featuring Sue Draheim and Steve Ashley, the Etchingham Steam Band and of course numerous incarnations of the Albion Band. The only really outstanding performances are the haunting ‘Elements Lament’ and an impassioned take on ‘One More Day’, with the rest being more of historical interest than anything, but this is still a worthwhile set. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): The Guv’nor, Volume Two (HTD CD 29, CD, 1995, recorded 1968-1993)
Folk/Rock
Cathy Lesurf (joint lead vocals), Sandy Denny (joint lead vocals), Chris While (joint lead vocals), Shirley Collins (occasional vocals), Sue Draheim (violin), Polly Bolton (backing vocals), Diane Walmisley (backing vocals)
Although with a slightly less interesting selection of tracks than its predecessor, this is a more consistent set, peaking on two excellent Fairport outtakes (‘You Never Wanted Me’ and ‘Sir Patrick Spens’) and a fine live version of the Albions’ ‘The Rose And The Rock’. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): The Guv’nor, Volume Three (HTD CD 38, 1995, recorded 1968-1994)
Folk/Rock
Chris While (occasional vocals, guitar), Sandy Denny (occasional vocals), Shirley Collins (occasional vocals), Julie Covington (occasional vocals), Cathy Lesurf (occasional vocals), Polly Bolton (occasional vocals), Sue Harris (oboe)
Highpoints of volume three include two Joni Mitchell covers by Fairport (‘Night In The City’ and ‘Marcie’), the lovely ‘Spencer The Rover’ fronted by Polly Bolton and the hard rocking ‘The Cardhouse’ sung by Hutchings himself. Nothing else makes much of an impression, with occasional hints that the barrel is starting to be scraped. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): The Guv’nor, Volume Four (HTD CD 66, 1996, recorded 1967-1996)
Folk/Rock
Cathy Lesurf (occasional vocals), Chris While (occasional vocals, guitar), Judy Dyble (occasional vocals), Sandy Denny (occasional vocals, guitar), Shirley Collins (occasional vocals, bells), Julie Matthews (keyboards, backing vocals), Julie Covington (backing vocals)
The fourth instalment includes a fair amount of filler, but there is still some fine music on offer. Most collectors are likely to value the two Fairport Convention numbers above all ­– a 1967 outtake of ‘Both Sides Now’ with Judy Dyble and a 1969 session version of ‘Fotheringay’. Another lovely number is the haunting Chris While-fronted ‘The Willow’. All four CDs were subsequently compiled as a boxed set (HTD BX 1, 1997) and later reissued with different artwork. GRADE: C+.
Ashley Hutchings (UK): 5 (Talking Elephant TECD038, 2002, recorded 1967-2001)
Folk/Rock
Sandy Denny, Chris While, Cathy Lesurf, Kellie, While, Julie Matthews, Judy Dyble
The fifth and final volume of The Guv’nor (although not actually billed as such) again features a fine cross-section of music. The most interesting cut is probably a lively 1989 version of ‘The Shipwreck’, but there is plenty to enjoy here. Annoyingly, there are no detailed musician credits this time around. GRADE: C+.
See also Albion Country Band, Polly Bolton, Bunch, Joanna Carlin, Cecil Sharp Centenary Collective, Vikki Clayton, Shirley Collins, Christine Collister, Julie Covington & Pete Atkin, Dando Shaft, Sandy Denny, Etchingham Steam Band, Fairport Convention, Fiddlers’ Dram, Fotheringay, Giles, Giles & Fripp, Clive Gregson & Christine Collister, Cathy Lesurf, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior, Oyster Ceilidh Band, Maddy Prior, Ragged Heroes, Steeleye Span, Trader Horne, Various ‘Flash Fearless Vs The Zorg Women, Parts 5 And 6’, Jeff Wayne, Chris While, Chris & Kellie While

Huxley Would Approve (Germany): Grave New World – Part One (No label 0742836275598, CD, 2016)
Progressive
Judith Mattes-Schneider (joint lead vocals)
The biggest influence here is clearly mid-seventies Pink Floyd (think Wish You Were Here and side one of Animals); they even throw in some sound effects of sheep. However, there are also strong elements of AOR and modern hard rock and the whole thing has a distinctly Teutonic feel, not least in Rainer Schneider’s world-weary vocals, which put me in mind of Amon Düül II’s Lothar Meid. The whole thing is very understated but also very accomplished: unlike their Swiss counterparts Cosmos they never sound like mere Floyd copyists, creating an almost dreamlike mood that ebbs and flows. GRADE: B–.

Hyldemors Grønsaligheder (Denmark): Lysene Taendes (Studie 14, cassette, 1975)
Folk/Country/Rock
Helle Vibeke Riskjaer Steffensen (joint lead vocals, guitar, bells, violin)
This continuation of Furekåben issued its only album as a cassette, in a run of 200 copies. Whilst the loose, communal feel of Furekåben remains, the music is much more rock-oriented, with structured songs, drums and clear influences from country music. As a result, the material here is less unusual, and arguably less creative, than Furekåben, but I find it more listenable. The double LP reissue (Sony Music 88843032781, Denmark, 2014) adds five bonus tracks. GRADE: C+.