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Carol Lloyd Band (Australia): Mother Was Asleep At The Time (EMI EMA-321, 1976)
Carol Lloyd (lead vocals)
This isn’t entirely removed from her former band Railroad Gin, but it’s a lot less ambitious, offering straightforward barroom rock with bluesy and soulful edges. It’s well done, with mostly original compositions, and should please anyone liking mainstream seventies American rock, but it’s all pretty generic. Although the album got a full multinational release and apparently sold well, the band promptly broke up and Lloyd did not release another LP for five years. GRADE: C.
See also Railroad Gin

Lôbos (Brazil): Miragem (Top Tape TT 002, 1971)
Cristina Tucunduva (joint lead vocals)
Operating at the lighter end of trópicalia, this has plenty of psychedelic references and trippy studio effects but it’s also firmly rooted in folky pop music. There are pronounced Swingin’ London references too, with music-hall elements aplenty, so don’t expect anything as profound or as eclectic as Mutantes, but this is a very pleasant half-hour on its own terms. GRADE: C+.

Lo Yo Yo (UK): Double Dog Dare – Summer ’84 (Calypso Now, cassette, with poster, Switzerland, 1984)
Rock/New Wave
Carrie Brooks
Whilst they share an avant-garde, lo-fi aesthetic with Look De Bouk, who provide the other side of this obscure cassette, Lo Yo Yo are much more song-based and much more clearly rooted in punk and new wave music. Thus, whilst quite lively and creative, this is less interesting to me than its flipside. GRADE: C+.

Lo Yo Yo (UK): Extra Weapons (Floppy Discs FLOP-1, 1985)
Rock/New Wave
Joey Stack (lead vocals, bass, keyboards), Carrie Brooks (drums, percussion), Annie Hunt (glockenspiel, cello)
The band's full-length album offers experimental new wave via a quirky collection of off-kilter songs with definite reggae tinges to the rhythms and a few slight neoclassical edges in the arrangements – enjoyable but ultimately not particularly distinctive. GRADE: C+.
See also Family Fodder

Loading Zone (USA): The Loading Zone… (RCA Victor LSP / LPM-3959, 1968)
Linda Tillery (joint lead vocals)
Crossing R&B, soul and West Coast psychedelic rock to good effect, Loading Zone frequently resemble countless other bands of the era but their sound is lifted by the powerful black singer Linda Tillery. However, the standout cut is the closing near-10 minute instrumental jam “Can I Dedicate?’, on whith they add a pronounced jazzy edge and some proto-prog references to impressive effect. GRADE: C+.

See also Linda Tilley, Sweet Linda Divine

Locksley Hall (USA): Locksley Hall (OR 13, 1996, with insert, recorded 1969)
Shannon Svenson (joint lead vocals)
Recorded as a demo to gain a deal with Epic (which never happened), this is a fascinating trawl through late sixties rock styles. At various times, they recall everyone from Big Brother & The Holding Company to Jefferson Airplane to a more garagy Sandie Shaw to innumerable sunshine pop acts, with the music ranging from good psychedelia to more superfluous barrelhouse or jugband sounds. With decent songwriting and musicianship, Locksley Hall were unlucky not to gain a major label deal, but they were also utterly generic, so it’s not entirely surprising that they didn’t hit the big time. Shannon Staley later went on to Shennandoah. GRADE: C+.
See also Shennandoah

Anna Lockwood (New Zealand): Glass World Of Anna Lockwood (Tangent TGS 104, UK, 1970)
As the title suggests, the former Harvey Matusow’s Jew’s Harp Band member’s solo album consists entirely of pieces performed using different types of glass. The results are best described as sound effects rather than music, but they’re intermittently fascinating, with many pieces sounding like the product of a primitive Moog synthesiser. GRADE: C+.
See also Harvey Matusow’s Jew’s Harp Band

Locust (South Korea): Locust (DAS 0002, 1981)
Tae Min Kim
The boogie-rock opener is a bit underwhelming, but the rest is a fine mix of ballads and heavier rockers, all characterised by the superb lead guitar work. An unusual release for its era, it contains some really outstanding moments, and is unsurprisingly very sought-after.


Logan Dwight (Italy): Logan Dwight (PDU PLD A 5054, with insert, 1972)
Donatella Luttazzi (joint lead vocals)
This odd album blends influences from all different kinds of music – sixties pop, psychedelia, jazz, blues, soul and folk – and tops it off with a brash production featuring Jethro Tull-style flute, prominent horns and loud strings. The result is a curious record whose comparatively short songs always go in unexpected directions but rarely cohere well, although there are some effective passages (including some heavy fuzz guitar work). At a push they could be compared to bands like Atlantis, Pesky Gee! or Dada, although this is far more fragmented than the first two outfits’ work. GRADE: C+.

Logos (USA): Firesides And Guitars (Audio House AHSPL 113L74, 1974?)
Cindy Williams
Cut by a male-and-female duo, supposedly from the Unitarian Church, this melodic, rather Paul McCartney-esque album has simple acoustic guitar backing. All the material is self-penned, with all but one cut being written and fronted by male member Steve Epley, and the quality of the writing and warmth of the singing means that the absence of other instruments is never notable. This is an extremely rare record, and mostly a very good one too. GRADE: C+.

Ina Løndahl (Denmark): Menneske Min Ven (Harvest 6E 064-38097, with inner, 1973)
Ina Løndahl (lead vocals)
Whilst musically this falls firmly into the singer/songwriter vein, Løndahl in fact only co-writes three of the cuts. For the most part, this is hippie folk/rock and very nicely done, without ever rivalling the best in the genre. However, side one opens with a mainstream rock cut (not very good) and side two with a soulful piece of borderline prog (not bad). Everything finally comes together on the closing title track, which is an impressive piece of progressive folk. GRADE: C+.

London Beats (UK): The London Beats (Pronit XL 0278, Poland, 1965)
Linda Fortune (lead vocals)
This good but ultimately unsuccessful British beat band only saw their LP released in Poland, where they presumably had a strong live following. Guitarist Mick Tucker later went on to fame and fortune with Sweet, whilst Breakout’s Mira Kubasinska was briefly a member in 1966 (with two live cuts appearing on the live disc of her retrospective compilation). GRADE: C+.

Tom Lonergan & Buddy Elliott, Donna Nyland & John Kroner (USA): Tom Lonergan And Buddy Elliott, Donna Nyland And John Kroner (Paja’s NR7097, 1972?)
For the most part, this is solid barroom rock with a West Coast edge, but the album unfortunately opens with its worst cut (the borderline rock ’n’ roller ‘Rockin’’). However, it also takes in a wonderful psychedelic folk instrumental with great acid guitar and flute (‘The Lazy Feed’), a sinuous trippy rocker fronted by Nyland (‘The Real Thing’) and a truly oddball heavy new wave-ish rock number (‘The Travesty Of My Life’). The result is a patchy and unfocused album, but one that contains several impressive cuts. GRADE: C+.

Lonesome Stone (USA/UK): Lonesome Stone (Reflection RL 306, UK, 1973)
Mary Damrow (joint lead vocals), Siv Algotsson (joint lead vocals), Irene Barker (joint lead vocals), Caroline Green (joint lead vocals), Lisa Carrothers (organ, backing vocals), Ethel Krauss (flute)
This recording of a religious rock opera features musical backing by the American band Sheep (also known as Karitsat) plus contributions from other singers and instrumentalists. Musically, it’s very inconsistent, but there is some good material on offer. Some copies come with a large programme about the event. GRADE: C.
See also Karitsat, Sheep

Look De Bouk (France): Double Dog Dare – Summer ’84 (Calypso Now, cassette, with poster, Switzerland, 1984)
Kwettap Ieuw
The debut album by these French oddballs (split with the similarly eccentric British Lo Yo Yo) offers a series of quirky little vignettes. Playful new wave-ish organ duels with found sounds, synthesisers noodle aimlessly, mutant jazzy rhythms come and go, and the whole thing ends in a strange and catchy little pop song. Some will love this and others hate it, but it’s intriguing, creative and full of fun. GRADE: B–.

Look De Bouk (France): Lacrimae Rerum (AYAA DT 0885, 1985)
Kwettap Ieuw (keyboards, percussion)
Clearly influenced by Erik Satie and very, very French, this is an album of playful instrumental music with strong avant-garde edges and a mixture of real and improvised instruments. Simultaneously dissonant and melodic, weird and catchy, it’s as good as this kind of stuff gets and very creative from start to finish, even if it inevitably comes across as a touch insubstantial. Lacrimae Rerum was later issued on CD (with a slightly altered tracklisting) as L’Âcre Hymne Sérait Rome. GRADE: B–.
Look De Bouk (France): …Avec Des Coussins Bleus… (AYAA ACR 01, cassette, 1987)
Kwettap Ieuw (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
Their third, released only on cassette in a numbered limited edition of 164 copies, is unsurprisingly impossible to find today. Recorded live, it’s rawer and rougher than its predecessor, containing some powerful and varied music, including occasional vocals for the first time. GRADE: B.
Look De Bouk (France): Bec Et Ongles (AYAA TIC 0890, CD, 1991)
Kwettap Ieuw (joint lead vocals, keyboards, percussion)
Once again, this is a highly creative collection of music: 24 playful, varied tracks ranging from under 20 seconds to over four minutes. The overall effect is reminiscent of getting lost in the musical equivalent of a bric-à-brac shop, with little certainty of what is coming next. GRADE: B–.
Look De Bouk (France): Le Monde Entier Moins Le Monde Entier Sans Vous (No label IPS 1203, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2003)
Kwettap Ieuw (joint lead vocals, bass, percussion, kazoo, effects)
This is as creative and startling as their earlier albums, but a little low on real inspiration or memorable tunes. As a result, it makes the limitations of their style rather clear, sometimes sounding like a random assemblage of weirdnesses and moderately successful experiments. GRADE: C+.
See also Toupidek Limonade

Loomings (Italy/France): Everyday Mythology (AltRock ALT 048, CD, with digipak and booklet, Italy, 2015)
Maria Denami (joint lead vocals, kazoo), Ludmila Schwartzwalder (joint lead vocals, kazoo)
Whilst band leader Jacopo Costa is an Italian expatriate, Loomings are based in France and their music is rooted in the French avant-garde underground of acts such as Étron Fou Leloublan, Les I and Toupidek Limonade. This sort of bric-à-brac music can be something of a high-wire act: astonishing in its brio and spontaneity or infuriating in its scrappiness and lack of focus. This album straddles the divide, sometimes being intense and startling but more often sounding like a catalogue of random musical happenings. GRADE: C+.

Loonypark (Poland): Egoist (Lynx Music LM35CD, CD, 2008)
Sabina Godula-Zajac (lead vocals)
A few tracks open and close with snatches of circus-style music, reflecting the striking and slightly sinister cover, but otherwise this is mainstream neoprog, with some rich keyboard and flute textures and a Pink Floyd-like mood. Whilst it’s slightly above average for the genre, the songwriting, firmly rooted in mainstream rock and AOR, is nowhere near as accomplished as the arrangements and performances. GRADE: C+.
Loonypark (Poland): Straw Andy (Lynx Music LM62CD, CD, 2011)
Sabina Godula-Zajac (lead vocals)
Album number two tones down the progressive elements slightly, focusing on the band’s penchant for richly crafted, though rather anonymous, ballads and light rockers. It’s far from bad, but it’s all too safe and unadventurous, being neither interesting enough to qualify as prog nor catchy enough to be commercial. GRADE: C+.
Loonypark (Poland): Unbroken Spirit Lives In Us (Lynx Music LM88CD, CD, 2014)
Sabina Godula-Zajac (lead vocals)
Whilst this is in the same vein as their previous albums, it’s a bit of a step up from Straw Andy with a few more progressive touches and some reasonably effective hard rocking moments. In particular, the seven-minute closer (appropriately entitled ‘The End’) is a solid piece of neoprog with some nice Pink Floyd touches. GRADE: C+.

Loonypark (Poland): Perpetual (Lynx Music LM116CD, CD, 2016)
Sabina Godula-Zajac (lead vocals)
For the most part, this is straightforward symphonic rock, with any progressive intentions fairly well-concealed, making it something of a yang to its predecessor’s more ambitious yin. Nonetheless, it’s nice, melodic stuff – well composed, played, performed and produced. GRADE: C+.

Loonypark (Poland): Deep Space Eight (Lynx Music LM155CD, CD, 2019)
Magda Grodecka (lead vocals)
They’ve got a new vocalist and their old vocalist has written some conceptual lyrics about aliens, but otherwise what can one say about Deep Space Eight? It’s business as usual for Loonypark, a band that’s issued five vaguely progressive albums without really progressing. As symphonic rock goes, this is pleasant and tasteful, but as progressive rock goes it’s too restrained and unadventurous to be memorable, with instrumental breaks kept to a strict minimum. GRADE: C+.

Loonypark (Poland): The 7th Dew (Lynx Music LM196CD, CD, 2022)
Sabina Godula-Zając (lead vocals)
Despite the title, this is Loonypark’s sixth album, not their seventh; but it might as well be their third or their 33rd. The riffs are chunky, the vibe is Floydian, the mood is mellow and the vocals are lovely, but it sounds almost exactly the same as everything they’ve ever done or (almost certainly) will do. GRADE: C+.

Loosey Music (USA): Harmony Mountain (Lost LOST 013, with insert, 1997)
Lucy Music (joint lead vocals), Susan Coffey (joint lead vocals)
The opening cut of this very rare private pressing is absolutely demented psychedelia, sounding like a hyperactive Doors drenched in slashing acid guitar and electronic effects. It never gets that wild again, incorporating lots of rural and garage influences, but this is strange, shambolic and fascinating music (though never avant-garde and always with a strong rock base). Just 300 copies were pressed, all with unique hand-painted covers; apparently only the first 80 came with painted back covers as well. GRADE: C+.

Jon Lord Blues Project (UK): Live (MFP Concerts Music SC 10022011, CD, with digipak, 2011)

Maggie Bell (joint lead vocals)
This is essentially the British Blues Quintet with the addition of Deep Purple organist Jon Lord, who had previously worked with Maggie Bell on the 1992 Wind In The Willows project. Once again, they’re playing a set of crowd-pleasing blues covers, but this is decidedly better than their release under their previous identity, including some excellent instrumental solos. GRADE: C+.
See also Maggie Bell, British Blues Quintet, Midnight Flyer, Stone The Crows

Lord’s Family (Germany): Innere Musik (Sireena SIR 4059, 10" LP, red vinyl, 2019, recorded 1971)
Ruth Marschall (percussion), Gitti Fleck (percussion), Barbara Rimmele (percussion, flute)
This short archive release (about 25 minutes) compiles excerpts from seven jams recorded live in 1971, all in excellent sound quality. The obvious reference point for Lord’s Family, aside from their clear West Coast acid-rock influences, is Amon Düül, and they blend elements of the band’s style from both Psychedelic Underground and Paradieswarts Düül. Sometimes heavy, sometimes folky and always trippy and expansive, they also hint towards the Cosmic Jokers, adding up to a remarkable psychedelic stew. It’s just a pity we didn’t get the full jams, or more than these 25 minutes. GRADE: B–.

Lords Of Thyme (UK): The Lords Of Thyme (No label, CDR, with foldover sleeve and insert, 2013)
Michelle Griffiths (occasional vocals)
This 17-minute EP demonstrates a strong influence from Pentangle, with the sublime opener ‘Maisre’ effortlessly recapturing their crystalline sound and the whimsical ‘World In A Tangle’ hinting at the lighter side of their repertoire. The other two numbers, ‘Moment To Moment’ and ‘If I Was A Bird’, demonstrate more of a singer/songwriter influence, and are pleasant rather than essential, but ‘Maisre’ hints at real potential. As a footnote, this exists with at least two artwork variants: gold printing on a cream background and pink printing on a beige background. GRADE: C+.

Lords Of Thyme (UK): Pellets (Sunstone SSCD13, CD, with digipak, 2016)
Michelle Woolley (occasional vocals)
Their album proper (which followed a second EP and a single, neither of which I have heard) sensibly builds on the Pentangle influence from their first EP. In fact, describing this as a Pentangle pastiche with added keyboards wouldn’t be far off the mark, though they do have a few hints of their own personality, with a breezy and beatific mood. That’s not to damn Pellets with faint praise: this is consistently accomplished stuff, even if Michelle Woolley is underused despite being their best vocalist. GRADE: B–.

Lords Of Thyme (UK): The Future Of Things Past (Feeding Tube/Shagrat FTR 332/ENT 022 12", 2017, recorded 2014-2017)
Michelle Woolley (joint lead vocals), Bonnie Dobson (occasional vocals)
Their second album compiles three out of four songs from their second EP (one in a different take), a contribution to a Shirley Collins tribute album (unexpectedly fronted by Bonnie Dobson), a live version of a song from Pellets and three new numbers. It confirms Lords Of Thyme to be the spiritual successor to Pentangle, offering the same kind of sparse, crystalline, mildly jazzy folk/rock. The Dobson-fronted number and the Mellotron-led instrumental ‘Girls On Bach’, which kick off the set, are probably the highlights, but ultimately everything here is good; I just wish there was more of it. GRADE: B–.

See also Bonnie Dobson

Mimi Lorenzini & Ann Ballester (France): Orchestra II (Paris Album DKB 3365, 1983)
Ann Ballester (lead vocals, keyboards)
Returning as a duo, the former leaders of Édition Spéciale offer nine pleasant but ultimately unexceptional guitar-and-keyboards instrumentals (a couple with scat vocals). Sophia Domancich duets on piano with Ballester on ‘Salsita’, but otherwise there are no other musicians involved (hence the album title). GRADE: C+.
Lorenzini (France): Orchestra V (Muséa FGBG 4002.AR, CD, 1987)
Ann Ballester (piano)
As the title suggests, this was recorded by a five-piece line-up, including Gong’s Didier Malherbe on saxophone and flute. Despite the high level of talent involved, this is identikit jazz-fusion, sometimes coming close to muzak in its inoffensive slickness; the musicianship is superb, of course, but the lack of inspiration is palpable on nearly every cut. GRADE: C.
Mimi Lorenzini, Ann Ballester & Jean-Luc Ponthieux (France): Le Diable Bleu (CC Production 987612, CD, 1994)
Ann Ballester (piano)
This collection of works for guitar, bass and piano thankfully eschews the slickness of its predecessor, and is a very pleasant listen. Most of this could still pass for upmarket restaurant music, and there are no rock elements of any kind, but it’s exceptionally well assembled and beautifully played. GRADE: C+.
Mimi Lorenzini, Ann Ballester & Jean-Luc Ponthieux (France): Question De Temps (Muséa Parallèle MP 3033.AR, CD, with digipak, 1998)
Ann Ballester (occasional vocals, piano)
Like its predecessor, this is a sedate but virtuosic collection of pieces for electric guitar, basses and piano. Also, like all previous Lorenzini/Ballester albums, it’s instrumental, apart from a few spoken words in the middle (preasumably contributed by Ballester).

See also Édition Spéciale

Los Deu Larvath (France): Un Còp Sera (Ventadorn VS 3 L 17, with booklet, 1976?)
Domenica Lecuona
Issued on a prolific Occitan label, this is a lovely LP of dreamy folk, with the band’s massed vocals backed by acoustic guitars and flute. For sure, there’s nothing unique here, but this is a charming record that’s bound to please anyone liking French or Spanish folk. GRADE: C+.
Los Deu Larvath (France): Istòria Au Còrn Deu Temps (Ventadorn VS 3L 32, with booklet, 1976)
Domenica Lecuona
With the titular song-suite occupying the first side and five separate numbers on the second, this is the band’s magnum opus. Guests add swirling keyboards and electric bass here and there, but the feel of the music is still much closer to folk than to folk/rock. This is a beautiful, dreamy album that showcases the band’s sleepy style to excellent effect. GRADE: B–.

Lost World Band (Russian Federation): Sound Source (Muséa FGBG 4840, CD, France, 2009)
Yuliya Basis (keyboards)
This instrumental album offers some excellent music, with violin, flute and chunky guitars well to the fore. The music is somewhat jazzy but definitely not fusion, with a strong rock base and some good hooklines to balance the complexity and ostentation. They also cut a number of other albums with an all-male line-up. GRADE: B–.

Lotus 33 (Canada): Song Of The Cyclone (No label, CD, 2000)
Mollie King (lead vocals, guitar)
This unusual album offers folky rock with something of a singer/songwriter feel but also quite heavy backing with a few psychedelic tinges. Mollie King has an odd voice with a slightly despairing feel, and overall this reminds me of Elephant Patch more than anything, offering some effectively downbeat and occasionally trippy moods. GRADE: C+.

Loudest Whisper (Ireland): The Children Of Lir (Polydor 2904 006, with booklet, 1975)
Geraldine Walshe (occasional vocals)
Along with Mellow Candle’s Swaddling Songs, this is the most expensive and sought-after Irish folk/rock LP. It’s hardly surprising, as it’s a wonderful progressive folk concept album, with a mystical atmosphere and mellow vocals. A harder rock edge shows through on ‘Manannan 2’, whilst ‘Wedding Song’, featuring some exquisite singing from Geraldine Walshe, has a chord progression reminiscent of ‘California Dreaming’. GRADE: A–.
Loudest Whisper (Ireland): Loudest Whisper (Polydor 2908 043, 1981)
Geraldine Walshe (joint lead vocals, guitar)
Their belated second album doesn’t have the conceptual unity of The Children Of Lir; in fact, it doesn’t have any kind of unity at all, being compiled from several sessions over several years. This time round, the band can’t decide whether they want to play CSNY-style country/rock (the Irish top five single ‘You And I’, ‘Home’ and a few other cuts), melodic hard rock (‘Night In The City’ and ‘Grey Skies’), mystical folk/rock (‘Pied Piper’ and a superb remake of ‘Cold Winds Blow’ from the previous LP) or strange fusions of ethereal folk and progressive rock (‘She Moved Through The Fair’). The end result is an uneven, schizophrenic record that features some great songwriting, with only a couple of notably weak cuts. The first CD reissue on Kissing Spell was retitled 2, repackaged in a hideous new cover and completely resequenced (possibly in a failed attempt to create a more natural flow). GRADE: B–.
Loudest Whisper (Ireland): Hard Times (Fiona 011, with insert, 1982)
Geraldine Walshe (joint lead vocals), Bernadette Bowes (joint lead vocals)
Whilst this doesn’t equal the very best moments of its predecessor, it is a much more consistent album that sees the band unifying folk, country/rock and soft rock most successfully. The material is of a high standard throughout, but the delightful closers ‘Wild Bird Of Love’ and ‘Boston City’ are especially impressive. GRADE: B–.
Loudest Whisper (Ireland): Our World (Fiona CD 034, CD, 2004)
Geraldine Walshe (backing vocals), Frances Foley (backing vocals), Melaine O’ Reilly (backing vocals)
The band’s long-delayed fourth album includes remakes of a few familiar numbers (inevitably including their biggest hit ‘You And I’) but about half the songs are new. Their new supperclub jazz leanings aren’t particularly welcome, and none of the remakes beat the originals, but the old magic is still there and the title track is quite superb. GRADE: C+.

Loudest Whisper (Ireland): Blue… Is The Colour Of Love (Sunbeam SBRCD5099, CD, UK, 2014)
Cara O’ Sullivan (occasional vocals), Melaine O’ Reilly (backing vocals), Frances Foley (backing vocals)
The first couple of songs make you think that this will be the first fully realised and most accomplished Loudest Whisper album in decades: Brian O’ Reilly is in great voice, his guitar tone has started to sound like Jerry Garcia’s, and the recording is beautiful. But then they start including remakes of old stuff, spanning The Children Of Lir through to the ‘Buskin’’ musical. The remakes are a bit of a mixed bag: ‘Septimus’ (now titled ‘Friend Of Darkness’) is astonishing, with its progressive rock dimensions and Cara O’ Sullivan’s guest vocals, but a slowed-down ‘Grey Skies’ is inferior to the original and the rest are moot. Nonetheless, the better half of this is comfortably a B–, and it’s nice to see the band stretching out and jamming. GRADE: C+.
Loudest Whisper (Ireland): Maiden Of Sorrow (Kissing Spell/Erewhon KSCD 9507-F, CD, UK, 1995, recorded 1974)
Geraldine Dorgan (joint lead vocals)
'The Maiden Of Sorrow' was Brian O’ Reilly’s third stage musical after 'The Children Of Lir' and 'Perseus', and had the first album been a hit the other two shows would doubtless have been converted into LPs. Instead, when Kissing Spell released the band’s first two albums on CD they also issued this live tape of the event, slightly edited to fit a single disc. There is some lovely music on offer, and with judicious editing and the right producer it could have made a fine LP, but as it is it’s more of an interesting historical document than an essential purchase. As usual, Geraldine Dorgan turns in a superb performance, although I’m less sure about the arch, quavery tones of Michael Barron as the male lead. GRADE: C+.
See also Ger. Walshe

Louise (UK): Fragment/Lament/The Bay (Saturn HAY LP 011, 7", no sleeve, 1972?)
Louise Hartnett
This remarkable EP, presumably issued in a run of 99 copies, features two shorter songs on the A-side and the progressive blowout ‘The Bay’ on the flip, totalling around 17 minutes. Musically it reminds me of Julie Covington’s ‘My Silks And Fine Array’, though with a more robust and less ethereal style, stronger prog edges and some slight jazz tinges. As a collector friend pointed out, if this had been a full LP it would easily be worth four figures, especially as only three copies appear to have resurfaced. GRADE: B.

Love Band (USA): The Oneness Space (Living Love, 1975)
Cassandra Rohlfs (occasional vocals), Sue Ann Cohen (joint lead vocals), Cloudia (occasional vocals), Susan Madley (occasional vocals), Buckie Zahner (occasional vocals), Summer Raven (occasional vocals, guitar), Mary Carol (piano, backing vocals)
The cover is pretty gorgeous, but the music is often pretty annoying: imagine Peter Janssens’s most childlike songs crossed with a breezy Californian sensibility and you’re getting close. Whilst this isn’t quite as bad as its reputation, with a few charming moments, it could certainly put people off communal folk sounds for life. Most members also featured in the Reunion Band & Friends, whilst Susan Madley performed in another commune project, Open Up Your Vision. GRADE: C–.
See also Open Up Your Vision, Reunion Band & Friends

Love Exchange (USA): The Love Exchange (Tower T-5115, 1968)
Bonnie Blunt (lead vocals, tambourine)
The Love Exchange were a broadly typical second-division act of their day: capable musicians, with a good lead singer in Bonnie Blunt, but with little individual style. Further, they were for the most part not songwriters, with their sole LP mixing cover versions with original tunes by producer Larry Goldberg. That said, the album is well above the usual glut of flower-pop wannabes, with a harder edge to the performances and some overtly psychedelic material such as ‘Saturday Night Flight’ and the excellent, raga-like ‘Meadow Memory’.


Love Generation (USA): The Love Generation (Imperial LP-9351 / 12351, 1967)
Marilyn Miller, Annie White
With song titles like ‘Groovy Summertime’ and ‘Meet Me At The Love-in’, this is a remarkably accurate pastiche of the Mamas & The Papas, right down to a parody of Mama Cass’s music hall-style showcases on ‘You Took The Happiness (Out Of My Heart)’. As poor man’s Mamas & The Papas go, they’re pretty good, but leader Tom Bahler isn’t exactly John Phillips. GRADE: C+.
Love Generation (USA): A Generation Of Love (Imperial LP-2364 / 123364, 1967)
Marilyn Miller, Annie White
Their second moves away from the Mamas & Papas sound towards a more generic sunshine pop mood. It’s occasionally soulful (‘Workin’ My Way Back To You’ and ‘Stop! In The Name Of Love’) and sometimes displays a few minor neoclassical touches, but mostly it’s rather nondescript though entirely pleasant. GRADE: C.
Love Generation (USA): Montage (Imperial L-12408, 1967)
Marilyn Miller, Annie White
By the time of their and final album, Love Generation was essentially a duo of Tom and John Bahler, and it’s not clear how much involvement the other members had in the record. Musically, it takes them close to MOR and sophisticated soft rock and is a very pleasant record. GRADE: C.
See also Hellers

Love History (Czech Republic): Galileo, Figaro – Magnificò (Northern Darkness NDR - CD 017, CD, Italy, 1999)
Eva Hurniková (occasional vocals, flute)
This is a very and quite creative album, mostly alternating dramatic and stately doom metal with majestic symphonic keyboard passages. Once one is familiar with the band’s modus operandi they deliver few surprises, but nonetheless this is a consistently good and accomplished set. GRADE: B–.

Love Is A Heart-On (USA): Love Is A Heart-On (Heavy HS 111, with insert, 1970)
This oddball album of heavy blues/rock (and occasionally country/rock) was sold only by mail order, thanks to the suggestive cover and puerile, pornographic lyrics (as song titles like ‘The Hooker’, ‘Fuck Me Forever’, ‘In And Out They Go’ and ‘Fingers, Vibrators, Dildoes And Dreams’ attest). With lots of piercing acid leads and an impassioned male singer belting out the lyrics with almost messianic verve (whilst a softer-voiced female vocalist fronts a few songs), it’s an amusing period piece that would be largely forgotten today if not for the lyrics. Some sources have suggested that the band was Heavy Balloon under an alias. GRADE: C.
See also Heavy Balloon

Lovemongers (USA): Battle Of Evermore (Capitol C2 0777 7 15953 2 5, CD, 1992)
Ann Wilson (joint lead vocals, guitar, bass), Nancy Wilson (joint lead vocals, guitar, mandolin), Sue Ennis (guitar, keyboards)
This live EP (four songs in 21½ minutes) from a Heart offshoot (comprising the Wilson sisters, their songwriting partner Sue Ennis and multi-instrumentalist Frank Cox) offers three cover versions and a new interpretation of ‘Crazy On You’. The title track is predictably superb, but they also make a good fist of ‘Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone’. On the downside, ‘Love Of The Common Man’ is rather nondescript and ‘Crazy On You’ doesn’t work particularly well in this arrangement, but this is still sounds more accomplished and engaging than contemporary Heart. GRADE: C+.
Lovemongers (USA): Whirlygig (Will WILL048, CD, 1997)
Ann Wilson (joint lead vocals, bass, percussion, flute), Nancy Wilson (joint lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion, drum programmes, mandolin, dulcimer), Sue Ennis (keyboards)
Lovemongers’ first studio album consists entirely of self-penned material, and whilst the songs are pleasant there’s nothing really killer here. I’d also question the wisdom of allowing Frank Cox two lead vocals, as he’s certainly not much of a singer. However, anyone liking bluesy and folky rock tapping into the then-current ‘Unplugged’ zeitgeist should enjoy this. GRADE: C+.
Lovemongers (USA): Here Is Christmas (2b Music, CD, 1998)
Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Sue Ennis
Christmas albums are far from a favourite of mine, but the Wilson sisters and their colleagues sensibly avoid familiar carols for well-written original songs and carefully chosen covers. The two songs written by Ann Wilson and Sue Ennis without Nancy (‘William And Rose’ and ‘Let’s Stay In’) are definite low points, with an unwelcome showtune edge, but the rest is lovely mellow folk/rock. In fact, this is possibly the most consistent Heart-related album since the seventies. The disc was subsequently released as a Heart LP (Heart Presents A Lovemongers’ Christmas, Sovereign Artists 1954-2, CD, 2004). GRADE: C+.
See also Heart, Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson

Amanda Lowe (UK): Spiral Dance (Grinnigogs International GRINCD 941, CD, 1994)
Amanda Lowe (dulcimer)
This album of solo hammer dulcimer music is inevitably very different from anything Lowe recorded with Celtarabia. A beautiful and occasionally quite austere LP, it falls broadly under the folk banner, with strong mediaeval and classical edges. GRADE: C+.
See also Celtarabia

Gordon Lowe Featuring Laurel Ward (Canada): Prisms (Yorkville YVS-33004, 1967)
Laurel Ward (joint lead vocals)
Rooted in the coffeehouse tradition, but with a dreamy feel indicating its genesis in the psychedelic years, this is a pleasant enough folk set. Despite her star billing, Laurel Ward doesn’t get to do much, with Gordon Lowe writing everything, playing guitar and taking the bulk of the lead vocals. GRADE: C+.

Lowen (UK): A Crypt In The Stars (No label, CDR, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2018)
Nina Saeidi (lead vocals)
Lowen’s blend of doom metal and ethnic elements, suffused in psychedelic atmosphere, is frequently fascinating. However, it also sounds like a work in progress: this is a short and slightly tentative album in which the band rarely stretches out, and the lack of bottom end in the sound means that it lacks presence and majesty. Nonetheless, this is a promising debut with hints of potential greatness to come.

Lowen (UK): Unceasing Lamentations (No label, CDR, with digipak, 2021)
World Music
Nina Saeidi (lead vocals, daf, shruti box)
Following up their album with a 23½-minute improvised acoustic EP emphasising the ethnic side of their music was a bold move, and this is certainly the stronger of their two releases. But whilst those who adore the straighter end of Magic Carpet or Selda could treasure this, I’d love to hear them combine the two approaches – a true classic could be waiting in the wings. GRADE: C+.

Loy & Altomare (Italy): Chiaro (CBS S 69094, 1974)
Donatella Bardi (occasional vocals), Marina Cavaccini (occasional vocals)
I expected this duo’s album to be folk-based, but it’s actually closer to a mixture of country (of the cowboy variety) and acid-rock, though it’s certainly mellow and folkish. At its best it’s genuinely gorgeous, with some rich and haunting melodies brought to life by Donatella Bardi and Marina Cavaccini’s beautiful harmonies and even the most whimsical moments are thoroughly pleasing due to the high level of craft. GRADE: B–.

Lu7 (Japan): L’Esprit De L’Exil (Muséa FGBG 4572.AR/InterMusic IM-003, CD, France, 2004)


Luna Umegaki (keyboards, melodeon, programming)

This duo of a keyboardist and a guitarist, plus a few guests, offer instrumental music that varies from the bombastic to the pastoral. Given the line-up, it’s inevitably rather thin-sounding, and the guitar and keyboard sounds chosen are identikit neoprog, so whilst it’s perfectly listenable it’s nothing really special. GRADE: C+.

Lu7 (Japan): Efflorescence (Muséa FGBG 4638.AR/InterMusic IM-007, CD, France, 2006)


Luna Umegaki (keyboards, programming)

Their second and final album is quite different from their first, and also somewhat better, essentially being jazz-fusion with symphonic and neoprogressive edges. It’s not what you’d called cutting-edge, but they sound more comfortable in this mode and the end results are a touch more accomplished. GRADE: C+.

Lucifer (Japan): Marginia (Belle Antique BELLE 97392, CD, with obi, 1993)
Kunika Furudate (principal vocals), Noriko Takashina (occasional vocals), Sawana Imai (keyboards, backing vocals), Chiako Yamashita (piano, backing vocals), Itsuko Kataoka (synthesiser, backing vocals), Hajime Tachibana (violin)
I’ve seen this odd little album, recorded by a 12-piece band (who don’t play collectively on any of the tracks) compared to a cross between Renaissance, Mike Oldfield and Malicorne. However, whilst the first two references make sense (I can’t hear anything even vaguely recalling Malicorne, although the music is a tad folky) it doesn’t sound much like either of them. With mostly shortish songs, mainly sung in English, this is dainty stuff with lots of neoclassical and pop references and plenty of keyboards and violin, but whilst it’s quite ornate it’s also pretty low-budget and has an unassuming and rather home-made feel. It’s also one of the most unlikely albums to include a drum solo, which sits very oddly in this context. As a footnote, according to one website they made five other albums that were released on cassette and distributed to friends. GRADE: C+.

Lucifer (UK/Sweden): Lucifer I (Rise Above RISELP200, LP plus 7", black, clear or gold vinyl, with insert and keychain, 2015)
Johanna Sadonis (lead vocals, keyboards)
Whereas Johanna Sadonis’s previous band the Oath offered great metal, her new, mostly British outfit offers merely good metal, with the lack of variety representing its major downfall. The riffs are crunchy enough, the hard rock and doom edges add a bit of a retro vibe, and it’s all expertly sung and played, but music this stripped-down lives or dies on its song and this crop is merely solid. GRADE: C+.
Lucifer (Sweden): Lucifer II (Century Media 19075858872, CD, Germany, 2018)
Johanna Sadonis
Album number two, recorded with an all-Swedish line-up, is perhaps a slight step up from their first. However, it’s very much in the same vein, offering an overview of stripped-down metal, hard rock and blues/rock styles: all solid, all enjoyable, none quite memorable enough to make it a B–. GRADE: C+.

Lucifer (UK/Sweden): Lucifer III (Century Media, LP plus CD, some on coloured vinyl, 2020)
Johanna Sadonis
This is oriented slightly more towards stoner rock, which is no bad thing. But once again, it’s all very straightforward and there are no outstanding songs, though they’re all pretty good. GRADE: C+.
Lucifer (UK/Sweden): Lucifer IV (Century Media 19439883992, CD, with digipak and poster booklet, 2021)
Johanna Sadonis (lead vocals, keyboards)
Their albums’ (lack of) titles tell their own story: each Lucifer album is pretty interchangeable with any other. They’re all good solid retro hard rock and metal: stripped-down, unpretentious and solid. But they make me wish for a bit of pretension and – even more so – for a few songs more of the standard of ‘Mausoleum’ that rank better than ‘solid’. GRADE: C+.
See also Oath

Luciferian Light Orchestra (Sweden): Luciferian Light Orchestra (Adulruna Adul 003, gold CD, with book sleeve, 2015)
Mari Paul (joint lead vocals)
This side-project by Therion’s Christofer Johnsson supposedly showcases material with more seventies sound. Whilst it’s definitely operating in the same area as retro-occult rockers such as Blood Ceremony and Devil’s Blood, it doesn’t sound particularly seventies to me, and only occasionally does it resemble Therion. Instead it offers solid stripped-down metal, without Therion’s epic choirs and orchestrations and with definite pop edges (not for nothing was it recorded at Abba’s Polar Studios). Compared to Therion, it’s perhaps a bit slight, but it’s also refreshingly unpretentious and contains some good hooks and riffs. GRADE: B–.

Ludlows (Ireland): The Wind And The Sea (Pye NPL.18150, UK, 1966)
Margaret O’ Brien (joint lead vocals)
With simple backing from acoustic guitars, this is fairly basic traditional and contemporary folk. In parts it’s a bit square and most of it is pretty dated, but it’s pleasant enough listening and the singing and playing is certainly quite capable. GRADE: C.

Lukas Tower Band (Germany): After Long Years (Lukas Tower Band LBTCD03, Germany, 2004)
Angela Maier (principal vocals), Ricki (occasional vocals)
Apparently the band’s debut album (despite the catalogue number), this got its title because it was released a full 20 years after their formation. It consists of eight songs recorded between 2001 and 2003 and three ‘bonus tracks’ cut in 1993 (though with vocals overdubbed in 1998 and 2001). The main body of the disc consists of relaxed, very understated, mid-paced prog with folky and jazzy edges, and lyrics mainly taken from poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Walter Scott. For the closing cut, the band offer a completely different (and much inferior) setting of ‘Thomas The Rhymer’ that bears no resemblance to Steeleye Span’s more celebrated interpretation. The three bonus tracks (one featuring a different female singer credited only as ‘Ricki’, who was presumably Angela Maier’s predecessor) are in a slightly more mainstream rock style, but are also not bad. As a footnote, the band claimed that in the early eighties they were fronted by a vocalist called Brigitte Schmidt who sounded like a cross between Sandy Denny and Janis Joplin, although I find that almost impossible to imagine. GRADE: C+.
Lukas Tower Band (Germany): Albedo (Transformer, CDR, 2010)
Angela Maier (lead vocals), Silvia Szekely (violin), Ursula Wilpert (whistle)
Whereas their first was a progressive album with folk edges, this is more a folk/rock album blended with mainstream seventies-style sympho-prog. It’s a varied set, too, taking in everything from Celtic to Arabian influences, and contains several moments of brilliance. GRADE: C+.

Lukas Tower Band (Germany): Live In Concert (Transformer LTBCD05/DVD01, DVDR, 2013)
Angela Maier (lead vocals, percussion), Ursula Wilpert (flute, whistle)
After two solid but unspectacular studio albums, everything comes together for Lukas Tower Band with this excellent live DVD. Visually they’re hardly Pink Floyd, though they have a relaxed and engaging stage presence, but musically this is frequently outstanding: intricate, lively progressive folk/rock with hints of everyone from Pentangle to Trees. GRADE: B–.
Lukas Tower Band (Germany): Age Of Gold (Transformer LTBCD05, CDR, 2018)
Angela Maier (lead vocals)
With its William Blake and Christina Rossetti lyrics plus chunky mid-paced prog backing, this marks a return to the style of their debut, though jazzy undertones are notable on a number of songs. It’s a strong album throughout, with some nice folky diversions, but it’s notable that the live bonus track ‘Ilusiones’ is by far the best thing on offer – this is clearly a band that excels on stage. GRADE: C+.

Lumbee (USA): Overdose (Radnor R 2003, with insert, 1970)
Carol Fitzgerald (joint lead vocals)
This obscure album is best remembered for its drug-themed lyrics, reflected in both the cover and insert (a board game in which the players aim to score as much dope as possible). Musically, it’s mainstream hippie rock with a bluesy feel in parts and a few interesting moments, but overall it’s fairly unremarkable and generic. The band had previously issued an album on White Whale as Plant & See. GRADE: C.
See also Plant & See

Lumsk (Norway): Åsmund Fraegdegjevar (Tabu 003, CD, 2003)
Vibeke Arntzen (principal vocals), Siv Lena Waterloo Laugtug (violin)
Heavily influenced by their countrymen Folque and Kong Lavring, Lumsk crossed traditional Norwegian folk styles with heavy metal guitars and progressive structures. More a folk/rock album with metal edges than the reverse, it’s a remarkable piece of work: majestic, powerful, varied and atmospheric, with plenty of darkness and intensity to balance out a few slightly kitsch moments. GRADE: B.
Lumsk (Norway): Troll (Tabu 012, CD, 2005)
Stine-Mari Langstrand (joint lead vocals), Siv Lena Waterloo Laugtug (violin)
Their second tones down the metal edges considerably (only on ‘Åsgårdsreia’ is this facet of their sound uppermost). Indeed, several cuts sound like they could directly have been lifted from a mid-period Folque LP. Overall, this is a little less inventive than its predecessor, and the highpoints perhaps aren’t quite as high, but it’s a beautiful, mature and tasteful set that also avoids Åsmund Fraegdegjevar’s occasional weak moments. GRADE: B.
Lumsk (Norway): Det Vilde Kor (Tabu 023, CD, 2007)
Stine-Mari Langstrand (principal vocals), Siv Lena Waterloo Laugtug (violin)
Continuing the direction of travel established with Troll, Det Vilde Kor (based on a collection of poetry by the famous Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun) drops metal influences altogether. Instead, it’s a collection of beautiful, tranquil folk/rock songs, with the emphasis strongly on the folk and quite a few chamber music embellishments. The extended progressive suite ‘Svend Herlufsens Ord’ is particularly impressive, as is the closing ‘Skaergaardsø’, which is pure classical music, but this is an extremely accomplished record throughout. GRADE: B.

Lumsk (Norway): Fremmede Toner (Dark Essence KAR215CD, CD, 2023)
Mari Klingen (principal vocals), Siv Lena Laugtug Saether (violin)
Fremmede Toner takes a while to take flight, but when it does it’s frequently quite majestic. Whether it equals previous Lumsk albums is impossible to answer without detailed back-to-back comparisons, but context has a lot to do with my grade – the musical world has changed immeasurably since 2007, when they last released anything, with metal and prog expanding in all kinds of intriguing directions. Thus, whilst their blend of electric folk, symphonic prog and metal is as satisfying as ever, it’s debatable whether it sounds as fresh and startling. GRADE: B–.

Luna Rossa (UK): Sleeping Pills And Lullabies (Firefly Music FFMCD004, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2013)
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, bass synthesiser, piano, harp, samples)
This recalls Helder’s solo set more than any of her earlier bands, offering folky singer/songwriter music with a strong neoclassical touch and lots of strings. It’s well-crafted and atmospheric, with some beautiful moments, but also a bit slight and sometimes a touch precious. GRADE: C+.
Luna Rossa (UK): Secrets And Lies (Firefly Music FFMCD007, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and poster booklet, 2014)
Anne-Marie Helder
Their second album is in the same vein as their first, but is overall a touch more accomplished. It opens strongly with the wordless ‘Aurora’ and the highly effective title track and ‘Disappointment’, which respectively use electric guitar and electric piano to great effect. However, as it progresses the lack of variety becomes more obvious, and the jaunty ‘Happy Little Song’ sadly lives up to its name. GRADE: C+.

Luna Rossa (UK): Atropa (Firefly Music FFMCD010, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2018)
Anne-Marie Helder (lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion, whistle, samples)
This may just be their best album – beautifully arranged, recorded and produced, with two effective cover versions, including an acoustic reworking of Abba’s ‘The Winner Takes It All’. But whilst there’s no doubting the duo’s level of craft (or indeed their level of talent) I’m not convinced that this has the truly memorable original songs to lift it from good to great. GRADE: C+.
See also Anne-Marie Helder, Karnataka, Mostly Autumn, Panic Room, Parade

Lunatica (Switzerland): Atlantis (No label, CD only, 2001)
Andrea Dätwyler (principal vocals)
This Swiss band’s privately released debut album offers solid symphonic metal with swathes of lush keyboards and some chunky guitar work. But enjoyable as it is, it brings nothing new to an overcrowded genre. GRADE: C+.
Lunatica (Switzerland): Fables And Dreams (Frontiers FR CD 200, CD, with slipcase, Italy, 2004)
Andrea Dätwyler (principal vocals)
Like their first, this is epic orchestrated melodic power metal: accomplished and well-assembled, but not especially distinctive. In fact, the only real surprise is a cover of Ultravox’s ‘Hymn’, which is probably the best thing on here. GRADE: C+.
Lunatica (Switzerland): The Edge Of Infinity (No label 003LUN, CD, 2006)
Andrea Dätwyler (principal vocals)
The slipcase proclaims this is to be ‘a symphonic rock masterpiece!’, but don’t expect anything of the stature of Therion’s Vovin. In fact, don’t expect anything significantly different from their first two LPs. GRADE: C+.
Lunatica (Switzerland): New Shores (Napalm NPR 266, CD, Austria, 2009)
Andrea Dätwyler (principal vocals)
This is probably their best album, thanks to an excellent production, but once again the songwriting isn’t anything really special. Ultimately, that (and a comparative lack of ambition) is probably the biggest difference between them and Nightwish, to whom they’re compared on the cover sticker. GRADE: C+.

Mary Catherine Lunsford (USA): Mary Catherine Lunsford (Polydor 24-4051, 1971)
Mary Catherine Lunsford (lead vocals, guitar)
Lunsford was obviously a huge fan of Joni Mitchell, as she copied her vocal mannerisms to a tee, and her songwriting style is rather similar. The arrangements are completely different to early Mitchell, however, with full band backing, a few baroque hints here and there, and an occasional slight country tinge. GRADE: C+.
Cathy Lunsford (USA): You Men At The Bar (One Shot OWSB 38, 1975)
Mary Catherine Lunsford (lead vocals, guitar)
Complete different to her Polydor album, this has more of an urban, barroom rock flavour, as its title suggests. Assuming that it also reflects its title, her third and final album Cowgirl In The Wind (1980) is presumably country/rock, meaning that each of her albums was in a different genre. GRADE: C.

Lupo (West Germany): Sahara (Lupo Lu 111083, 1983)
Beate Kynast (lead vocals)
I expected this to be mainstream rock or prog, but in fact it’s slick, polished, rather good jazz-fusion, not dissimilar to Ruphus’s mid-period albums (whilst also hinting at a less cheesy Shakatak). Beate Kynast also performed with Jens Fischer and Wütrio and surprisingly resurfaced thirteen years later as a member of Ougenweide, singing on their reunion album Sol. GRADE: C+.
See also Jens Fischer, Ougenweide, Wütrio

Lüüp (Greece/Sweden/UK): Distress Signal Code (Muséa FGBG 4674, CD, France, 2008)
Lisa Isakkson (principal vocals, guitar, percussion, flute)
The opening ‘Through Your Woods’ is beautiful psychedelic folk that could have been taken from a Lisa & Piu album, but this multinational collective’s set frequently gets much weirder. Band leader Stelios Romaliadis is a flautist, and the songs, instrumentals and improvisations set his delicate playing against David Jackson’s saxophone, against trippy loops and against Mellotron. Weird, minimalist and spacy, it’s almost like a more minimalist side-step from the most ambient parts of Gong’s Shamal, but for the most part doesn’t really resemble anyone in particular. GRADE: B–.
Lüüp (Greece/Sweden/UK/Germany): Meadow Rituals (Experimedia EXPCD015, CD, with oversized foldout sleeve, USA, 2011)
Andria Degens (occasional vocals), Lisa Isaksson (occasional vocals, flute, harp, balalaika)
Somewhat different from their first, this tones down the weirder edges for a much more classical sound. Haunting, beautiful and eerie, it’s a remarkable album that fringes new age, yet always holds the attention despite its minimalism. GRADE: B–.
Lüüp (Greece): Canticles Of The Holy Scythe (I, Voidhanger IVR088, CD, with slipcase, Italy, 2017)
Anna Linardou (joint lead vocals), Sofia Sarra (joint lead vocals), Xenia Rodotheatou (occasional vocals)
Recorded with a different set of collaborators, this is completely unrecognisable as the work of the outfit that cut Distress Signal Code and Meadow Rituals. The obvious reference point here is Elend, with the same neoclassical backing, combination of anguished and angelic vocals, and occult lyrics. I can also hear touches of Dead Can Dance, with some gothic mediaeval and world music edges, adding up to a sumptuous musical blend. The artwork – including lots of Hieronymous Bosch paintings, as one might imagine, is beautiful to boot. GRADE: B–.

See also Hashish, Laike, Life On Earth!, Lisa & Piu, Me & My Kites, Promise & The Monster, Vårt Solsystem

Luz Escondida (Italy): Luz Escondida (Mellow MMP 349, CD, 1998)
Tonia Quarantiello (lead vocals)
This Italian band’s sole album mixes gentle symphonic ballads with a bit of a stage musical feel alongside relaxed instrumentals with a classical and renaissance (the era) flavour. There are also a few Renaissance (the band) touches, though the music here is a bit simpler, with a procession of short discrete tracks. GRADE: C+.

Lynched (Ireland): Cold Old Fire (No label, CD, with minisleeve and booklet, 2014)
Radie Peat (occasional vocals, accordion, concertina, whistle)
A friend recommended this to me as the best folk LP he’d heard in years, but to my ears it’s merely solid Irish traditional folk. Eleven years previously, the band had issued a rather different debut LP, Where Do We Go From Here?, with an all-male line-up. This has some elements of punk/folk, angry anarchist lyrics and a few experimental moments, and is rather more varied and interesting. GRADE: C+.

Lyonesse (France/UK/Italy): Lyonesse (PDU Pld A 5093, Italy, 1974)
Mireille Ben (joint lead vocals, dulcimer)
This excellent traditional folk/rock band had an interesting multinational line-up, which on this album included Gérard Lavigne (of La Confrèrie Des Fous and Gentiane), Gérard Lhomme (who collaborated with Malicorne’s Gabriel Yacoub) and Trevor Crozier (who worked with Shirley Collins, performed in Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band and led the dismal Broken Consort). Offering austere Emmanuelle Parrenin-like songs, Fairport or Steeleye-like folk/rock and more symphonic instrumentals (since the group’s multi-instrumentalist leader Pietro Bianchi was – unusually for a folk band – primarily a keyboardist and violinist), the disc features some lovely material and is well worth hearing. GRADE: B–.
Lyonesse (France/Italy/Ireland): Cantique (PDU Pld A 6029, Italy, 1975)
Mireille Ben (principal vocals, dulcimer)
Dropping nearly all the rock elements, the band’s second album was recorded by the trio of Ben, Bianchi and Irish musician Eoin Ó Duignan (on uileann pipes and whistle). Like its predecessor, it alternates instrumentals and songs with a distinctly French feel and rich symphonic edges despite the limited instrumentation. GRADE: B–.
Lyonesse (France/Italy): Tristan De Lyonesse (PDU Pld A 6062, Italy, 1976)
Mireille Ben (principal vocals)
Album number three is different yet again, with a new line-up including a second keyboardist. The end results are as close to progressive and neoclassical music as to folk, with narrations stiching together a series of ornate instrumentals and a few songs, with most of the material being traditional. GRADE: B–.
Lyonesse (France/Italy): Live In Milan (PDU Pld A 7004, 1979)
Mireille Ben (joint lead vocals, percussion), Lili Ben (joint lead vocals, percussion, violin, dulcimer)
The band’s fourth and final album, recorded live, is once more completely different. Performed by a mostly French line-up, it features no keyboards whatsoever, relying on traditional acoustic instruments to deliver a doomy Malicorne-like sound. As such, it’s an odd end to their career, and by far their least distinctive album, but very good for what it is. GRADE: C+.

Lyonhill (USA): Lyonhill (Lyonhill 77 x 09, 1977)
Jeanie Lyon Scheffler (joint lead vocals)
This enjoyable rural rock album owes an obvious heavy debt to Crosby Stills & Nash, though the production style is much slicker in keeping with the era. String synthesiser features heavily on a number of cuts and a rhythm section is used almost throughout, creating a quite rocking though very mellow sound. This is a fine album throughout, with only the rollicking hoedown ‘Intermission’ letting the side down – at least it’s mercifully short. GRADE: C+.
Lyon (USA): Lyon (Bottom Line Studio SAD 31353 001 LPS33, with insert, 1982?)
Jeanie Lyon Scheffler (joint lead vocals, percussion)
This much rarer and lesser-known second album is mainly a vehicle for singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Lyon. The arrangements are far more stripped-down than on its predecessor, with a mostly acoustic sound, but once again they take the bulk of their cues from CSN. The acapalla ‘Bring Back The Band’ (a virtual note-for-note rewrite of Prelude’s arrangement of ‘After The Goldrush’) is reprised from the Lyonhill LP. GRADE: C+.

Lyons (USA): Introducing The Lyons (Rose STLP-100, 1982)
Cheryl Cousins (occasional vocals), Beth Donovant (backing vocals), Tamara Hairston (backing vocals)
This unassuming guitar rock album ranges from hard rock with slight prog tinges (good) to softer AOR (not so good). Overall it’s a listenable set, but also rather generic. GRADE: C.

Lysistrara (West Germany): Lysistrara (No label LY 08/15, 1979)
Marianne Langfeld (joint lead vocals), Barbara Bauermeister (joint lead vocals, guitar), Christa Meyer (joint lead vocals, drums), Rita Eichelkraut (guitar), Christiane Oumard (bass), Sylvia Kipp (keyboards), Ulrike Sundermann (saxophone, flute)
The appropriately titled new wave-ish ‘Oma Punk’ is rather underwhelming, but for the most part this feminist lesbian band manages a fine album of prog-tinged rock with some excellent guitar work. In any case, the best cuts are the proggiest: the opening ‘Ich Kann Es Nicht Mehr Hören’ and the lengthy, complex ‘Fortschritt’. GRADE: C+.
See also Witch Is Witch

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