Moa-Mos

 

Moa (Japan): Moa (Saturn ST-1001-24L, with insert, 1983)
Folk/Rock
Packaged in a minimalist grey and black sleeve with no English lettering, this is a beautiful album of dreamy folk/rock. With rich harmony vocals and instrumentation centred around acoustic guitar and keyboards, it has something of a symphonic flavour too, and will please anyone liking the style. GRADE: B–.

Modern Music Band (Sweden): Modern Music Band (Spark SPARK-LP-10008, 1972)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Ann Bengtsson (principal vocals)
Midway between modern jazz and jazz/rock, this features some excellent cuts with powerful female vocals and lots of horns. The music has something of a Swingin’ London pop feel, with a definite Brian Auger & Julie Driscoll influence, but they also put me in mind of their East German contemporaries Panta Rhei. Overall, this is definitely one of the better jazz/rock albums from Sweden. GRADE: C+.

Pierre Moerlen’s Gong (Sweden/France/USA): Breakthrough (ARC International EUCD 1053, CD, UK, 1986)
Progressive
Lena Andersson (joint lead vocals), Nina Andersson (joint lead vocals, saxophone)
Not really a Gong album, this is basically the Swedish band Tribute plus Hansford Rowe and Pierre Moerlen. The latter dominates the LP, composing everything, singing lead on the occasional songs (although Tribute’s two female members provide the wordless vocals) and playing synthesiser, drums and percussion. Musically, this unsurprisingly sounds not unlike Tribute featuring Moerlen on vibraphone, although it’s very bright, tuneful and commercial stuff, with funky and pop touches and the songs sometimes resembling eighties Genesis (notably on ‘Children’s Dreams’). Although this is about as commercial and unchallenging as eighties prog ever got, it’s a nice enough set. GRADE: C+.
See also Tribute

MoeTar (USA): From These Small Seeds (No label, CD, 2010)
Progressive
Moorea Dickason (lead vocals)
This is a rather good album of jazzy progressive rock, with a song-based approach, some complex riffs and time changes, and a few Eastern influences. Moorea Dickason has a fine, assertive voice and the music is dramatic, rocking and very American, reminding me quite a bit of Finneus Gauge (though they tend to resemble different bands on different cuts). Surprisingly, the disc was mixed by Dan Rathbun of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. GRADE: C+.

MoFoYa (USA): Send A Message (Kona Gold Recording KG 1222, 1979)
Jazz/Funk/Rock/Progressive
Gailyvon (joint lead vocals, percussion)
This peculiar album just about defies description, with cuts ranging from tepid soul and jazz/funk to powerful rock jamming with psychedelic edges, and from mystical folk to mildly experimental prog. It’s well structured and played throughout, with at least half the cuts being excellent, but hardly anybody is going to enjoy all the myriad styles on offer. GRADE: C+.

Mohs (USA): The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living (No label, with inserts, 1979)
Folk/Rock
Karan Pond (joint lead vocals, percussion), Abby Ruskey (occasional vocals, guitar, piano, drums, percussion), Molly Gierasch (occasional vocals, bass), Dina Woolums (occasional vocals, finger clicks), Meredith Grenfell (occasional vocals, guitar, piano), Chris Hubley (occasional vocals), Donna Hall (occasional vocals), Lisa Fisher (occasional vocals), Dawn Davis (occasional vocals), Kathy Ditson (occasional vocals), Barb Flory (occasional vocals), Valerie Walker (guitar, backing vocals), Alice St Clair (bass, finger clicks, violin, backing vocals), Regina Key (piano, backing vocals), Julia Lenfest (chimes), Jane Early (recorder)
Recorded by a large group of high school pupils as part of a ‘project designed to teach students how to write lyrics and melodies’, this unsurprisingly has a ragged, communal, low-budget feel. Pleasingly, there is some beautiful female folk on offer among some more goofball moments; the best cuts are the stunning ‘These Times’ and ‘Fireflies And Flemish Dragons’, which respectively hint at Shide & Acorn and Extradition. About half the album is of a very high standard, so it’s a pity that the lightweight bluesy and jugband-style numbers were included (although this is par for the course for this type of project). GRADE: C+.

Mojo Magic (USA): Mojo Magic (GRT 10003, 1969)
Pop/Psychedelic
Jan Errico
For their only album, the band formerly known as the Mojo Men offered a charming collection of psychedelic pop and dreamy folk/rock, displaying influences from both mid-sixties Beatles and the West Coast. As a footnote, they were unusual for their era in including a female drummer, Jan Errico (ex-Vejtables), who also shares lead vocals and co-writes all the original songs. GRADE: C+.
See also Vejtables

Monday Machines (UK/USA): Monday Machines (Door 13 Music D130012, black CDR, with gatefold minisleeve, booklet and two strips of photographs, UK, 2010)
Progressive/Psychedelic
Cary Grace (principal vocals, guitar, keyboards)
This is basically a Cary Grace album by any other name, recorded with her usual musical collaborators. For the most part, it’s in her normal trippy, slow-mo Floydian progressive style, although some cuts are more uptempo and more overtly Krautrock-influenced than her usual work; there are even some industrial sound effects. Overall, this might just be her best work. The physical release was limited to 50 numbered copies, lavishly packaged with a hand-printed gatefold sleeve and hand-bound lyric booklet. GRADE: B–.
See also Cary Grace

Monoliths (UK): Monoliths (Dry Cough/Crown & Throne DC27/CT011, with stickered plastic outer, 2016)
Metal
Tanya Byrne (joint lead vocals, bass)
Like Tanya Byrne’s other projects, this consists of sludgy, stripped-down, minimalist, mainly instrumental doom metal, with just two side-long tracks. This is very much the kind of music you have to be in the mood for, though this certainly has its moments (particularly on the slightly superior second side). GRADE: C+.

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

Dennis & Mary Ellen Monroe (USA): Angels Of Spring (No label 32810, 1978)
Singer/Songwriter/Folk
Mary Ellen Monroe (joint lead vocals, guitar, dulcimer), Nancy Clearman (occasional vocals, flute, recorder)
Mixing (excellent) original songs and traditional material, this delightful and unassuming LP offers delicate, haunting acoustic folk, with backing from guitars, mandolin, violin, dulcimers, flute and recorders. As an added bonus, Mary Ellen Monroe has a genuinely distinctive and lovely voice, most evident on the standout cut ‘Sea Winds’. Oddly, Nancy Clearman is jointly credited on the back cover but not on the front, spine or labels. GRADE: C+.

Elisa Montaldo (Italy): Fistful Of Planets – Part I (Black Widow BWRDIST666, CD, 2015)
Progressive
Elisa Montaldo (lead vocals, keyboards, autoharp, koto, programming, effects)
Aside from being mainly instrumental, this isn’t what I expected from an Elisa Montaldo solo album (not that I expected an Elisa Montaldo solo album in the first place). For the most part, this is gentle, melodic, rather inconsequential music with folky and pastoral edges (complete with mandolin, ukelele and autoharp), hinting towards Enya. However, it closes with an almost avant-garde reconstruction of the disconnection of the computer from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ before featuring two previously released numbers from Il Tempio Delle Clessidre (presumably this would have been too short otherwise). These cuts are the best things on the album, along with the only piece Montaldo didn’t write (the rural-flavoured ‘Blackgrass II’), though the remainder is never less than pleasant. GRADE: C+.

Elisa Montaldo (Italy): Dévoiler (No label, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2020)
Singer/Songwriter
Elisa Montaldo (lead vocals, keyboards, ukulele, lyra, effects)
When reviewing her solo debut, I noted ‘this isn’t what I expected from an Elisa Montaldo solo album’. That sentiment is amplified a thousandfold for the follow-up. The Enya-like piano solos are still present and correct, and a couple of other numbers have progressive edges, but for the most part Montaldo has reinvented herself as a singer/songwriter; she even dabbles with old-time jazz on ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘Wine Tastes Better’. The result is a curate’s egg of an LP that almost nobody is going to like from start to finish, with the best number ‘Dolce Madre’ inexplicably being dismissed as an ‘old demo’. In any case, at least it’s all beautifully recorded and mastered. GRADE: C+.
Elisa Montaldo (Italy): Fistful Of Planets – Part II (No label, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2021)
Progressive
Elisa Montaldo (principal vocals, keyboards, autoharp, effects)
After Dévoiler, I didn’t have high hopes for this, but it’s her best solo album to date by some margin, integrating songs and instrumentals far more effectively than before. A strong Enya influence still makes itself felt, but the more ethereal moments here are counterbalanced by spacy and jazzy sections and occasional moments of old-time whimsy work rather well in this more eccentric setting. In fact, this is very close to a B–, though it still feels a little insubstantial so I’m not sure it’s quite crossed the divide. GRADE: C+.
See also Tempio Delle Clessidre, Vly

Gianfranca Montedoro (Italy): Donna Circo (BASF 21 23301, 1974)
Rock
Gianfranca Montedoro (lead vocals)
The former Living Music vocalist’s solo album is a pleasant, mildly jazzy, rock album that bears more than a passing resemblance to Julie Driscoll’s sixties work. With a broad range of moods and atmospheres and an evocative period ambience, it’s a solid and mostly successful piece of work. GRADE: C+.
See also Living Music

Montreal (Canada): A Summer’s Night (Stormy Forest SFS 6002, 1970)
Folk/Rock/Jazz
Fran Losier (lead vocals)
For the most part, this is a beautiful album of laid-back, jazzy folk/rock – admittedly rather MOR in parts, but with lovely languid vocals from Fran Losier and restrained, virtuosic instrumental backing. However, the eight-minute closer ‘Infinity’ is a stunning piece of psychedelic folk, with a dreamy, trippy atmosphere and lots of sitar (from none other than Richie Havens). Altogether, this is a fine album with a distinctive sound. GRADE: C+.

Moon Soup (USA): Play Ground (Water Dragon 10 LA 257, CD, 1996)
Psychedelic/New Wave/Pop
Linda Manus (lead vocals, tom-toms)
Offering a sort of trippy new wave indie pop, Moon Soup blend all kinds of odd influences into their catchy, off-kilter guitar-led music. On ‘The Dream’ they sound like Siouxsie & The Banshees with a hint of Blondie, whilst Linda Manus’s rather affected vocals fall somewhere between Lene Lovich and Kate Bush. It’s an odd record indeed, given a rather low-budget feel by the frequent use of programmed percussion, and despite some fine guitar work isn’t likely to appeal to psychedelic purists. Nonetheless, it’s diverting enough and generally pretty winsome. GRADE: C+.

Moonboot Oz (UK): Psychedelic Café (Chameleon ARD CD 1, CD, 1997)
Folk/Psychedelic
Kim Oz (joint lead vocals, harmonium)
This new venture by the former Astralasia and Magic Mushroom Band members is completely different from anything they’d done before. Strangely, this is hippie folk with lots of hand percussion – not a genre in which they’d previously displayed much interest. Mostly it’s a good album, and sometimes a very good one (notably the propulsive ‘Solstice Moon’), but with 15 songs it’s also a little too long and one-dimensional. GRADE: C+.
See also Astralasia, Magic Mushroom Band

Moonlight (Poland): Moonlight (Rock’n’Roller RNR 004, cassette, 1993)
Rock/Metal/Psychedelic/Progressive
Maja Konarska (joint lead vocals), Kasia Michalewicz (joint lead vocals)
This long-running Polish band’s debut is an odd affair indeed. The music isn’t quite goth rock or metal or psychedelia or prog, but a quirky mixture of all four, with prominent Arabian elements on a few songs. Throw in an equally strange and lo-fi recording, and the result is an album that hints at better things to come but isn’t a particularly satisfying listening experience in its own right. GRADE: C.

Moonlight (Poland): Kalpa Taru (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0040, CD, 1996)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
The awkwardness and aimlessness of their first album completely gone, this is a great metal album that sounds modern whilst harking back to the seventies. The riffs are suitably crushing and majestic, the bass is nimble and funky, the keyboards are majestic (and not too ostentatious) and the occasional acoustic and experimental diversions work remarkably well. GRADE: B.
Moonlight (Poland): Meren Re (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0045, CD, 1997)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
This isn’t the quantum leap that Kalpa Taru was, but it’s a more than worthy follow-up. Once again, the band effectively blend heavy riffs with electronic textures and folky touches, creating a constantly changing tapestry of music, and once again (unusually for this kind of band) none of the songs outstays its welcome. GRADE: B–.

Moonlight (Poland): Inermis (Morbid Noizz MNCD 303, CD, with digipak and booklet, 1999)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
Once again, the band offers a pleasing combination of metal and symphonic elements, with keyboards almost as important as guitars. Folky, ethnic and electronic diversions also add some spice, and the two English-language covers at the end deliver a final surprise: I like their version of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ but Maja Konarska’s Björk impersonation is perhaps just a little too accurate on ‘Army Of Me’. GRADE: B–.
Moonlight (Poland): Floe (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0092 DG, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2000)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
The addition of strings and ethnic elements deepens rather than softens their sound, with much of Floe hinting at a sidestep from ‘Kashmir’-era Led Zeppelin. The emphasis is still firmly on heavy riffing and stately tempos, and Maja Konarska is in fine voice throughout, resulting in another thoroughly satisfying LP. GRADE: B–.
Moonlight (Poland): Koncert W Trócje 1991-2001 (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0127 DG, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2001)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
Apart from a spoken introduction and some audience interaction near the end, this is virtually indistinguishable from their studio sets. I mean that as a compliment: Moonlight are a powerful, taut and atmospheric band, and they don’t put a foot wrong here. GRADE: B–.

Moonlight (Poland): Yaishi (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0139, CD, 2001)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
Although crunchy riffs are still at the heart of their sound, Yaishi shows Moonlight beginning to move beyond metal. There are techno touches, jazzy basslines, electronic effects, solo piano passages and even hints of dub reggae here, creating an unusual and varied album that still focuses on short, discrete songs. Ultimately, the trade-off is moot: this is more adventurous and varied than most of their previous work, but not quite as sure-footed, though most of the diversions work pretty well. An English language version (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0149) was also released. GRADE: B–.
Moonlight (Poland): Candra (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0177, CD, 2002)
Metal/Progressive/Psychedelic
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
As much post-metal as metal, this sets powerful Led Zeppelin-like rockers within a constantly changing cauldron of distorted, almost psychedelic sounds. Whilst all their albums to date (excepting the tentative debut) have been impressive, this is certainly among their best, and the decision to close the album with a straight ballad with backing only from strings means it surprises up to the last second. Once again, an English language version exists (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0178). GRADE: B–.

Moonlight (Poland): Moonlight (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0179, CD, 2003)
Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
Oddly, this short album – about 30 minutes of music – consists of a remake of the material from their tentative debut cassette. On the plus side, this versions are superbly recorded and confidently performed, unlike the originals. On the downside, this is proof positive that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear: these slightly disjointed, vaguely progressive, occasionally metallic, often quasi-Arabic songs aren’t a patch on the band’s later compositions. GRADE: C+.
Moonlight (Poland): Awaken Memories – Live (Metal Mind Productions DR-4836, DVD, with booklet. 2003)
Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
This is certainly a pretty comprehensive package: in addition the main 14-song concert from 2003, you get a second live set from 1996 with 13 numbers, eight audio tracks (sadly, only one exclusive to this set), four video clips, a band interview, photo galleries and more. As such, it’s a great value package, but what of the music? The 2003 set is surprisingly subdued, confirming my impression that Moonlight really excel as a studio band. However, the 1996 set (including an unexpected version of Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’) is far livelier, so perhaps they’re simply going in the wrong direction? GRADE: B–.
Moonlight (Poland): Audio 136 (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0248, double CD, 2004)
Rock/Metal/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
In the interview segment of Awaken Memories, the band boasted about ‘kicking out’ keyboardist and principal composer Daniel Potasz, who had apparently come to see himself as their leader. The mediocrity of the 2003 remakes album, their live set from the same year and this rather ponderous set suggests that he got the last laugh. Following in the footsteps of the Gathering, Moonlight here incorporate elements of alternative rock and touches of trip-hop for a much more atmospheric sound. The problem is not that their new style is bad, but that their old style was better, and there are far fewer heavy-riffing sections here. The second disc of the limited edition version features five additional songs and three video clips (two live numbers and a promo video). GRADE: C+.

Moonlight (Poland): Downwords (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD DG 0372, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2005)
Progressive/Metal
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
The new, more atmospheric sound attempted (only partially successfully) on Audio 136 really comes together here. Fusing techno basslines, modern jazz atmospherics, folky diversions and sound effects, and upping the metal quotient, the band delivers a spare, austere and unpredictable set that’s consistently surprising. Whether I like this more than their original style is moot: it’s certainly more original, and there’s definitely plenty to enjoy here. Again, a version with English lyrics was released (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD DG 0380). 

GRADE: B–.
Moonlight (Poland): Integrated In The System Of Guilt (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0447, CD, 2006)
Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Maja Konarska (principal vocals)
Despite the label name, this is where they slough off metal influences completely: this is oddball electronic rock, all parping distorted synthesisers, angular guitars and ghostly, echoing piano. It’s intriguing, unsettling and adventurous, if occasionally a little arch (isn’t surface noise, used here more than once, the ultimate cliché for this kind of noirish, trip-hop-influenced fare?). Once again, an English-language version was also released (Metal Mind Productions MMP CD 0448). GRADE: B–.

Moonlight (Poland): Nate (dMode MT00118, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2018)
Rock/Progressive
Maja Konarska (lead vocals)
Nate reunites the band with Daniel Potasz, who is the most prolific songwriter here, but that doesn’t mean they’ve returned to their original style. In fact, this is probably further removed from metal than anything they’ve done before, though in most respects it follows the blueprint established by their last couple of albums (and even includes a couple of remakes of old songs). Whilst it’s not as startling as its predecessor, and whilst I’d love to hear them re-embrace metal, this is nonetheless a very good album of atmospheric rock. GRADE: C+.
See also Sirrah

Moonshine Steel (UK): Raw Edges (Look LKLP 6033, 1975)
Country/Rock
Vanessa Draper (joint lead vocals)
This little-known but not expensive private pressing operates in three basic styles: accomplished, melodic rural rock, heavier boogie rock with some excellent guitar leads, and maudlin country dross. Its tracks therefore range from the accomplished and enjoyable to the downright wretched. The band’s mainstays Roger and Vanessa Draper later formed the band Kindling. GRADE: C.
See also Kindling

Moonstone (France): Moonstone (Wagram 305872, CD, 2000)
Metal
Paula Guittard (lead vocals), Isabelle Toussaint (bass)
Offering guitar-dominated, mid-paced metal, this obscure album is rather short on variety and excitement. It is, however, well composed, played and sung, making for a perfectly enjoyable listening experience. GRADE: C+.
Moonstone (France): The Second Rune (Brennus BR 8113, CD, 2003)
Metal
Paula Guittard (lead vocals)
Like their debut, their second and final album is solid mainstream metal: decently put-together and perfectly listenable, but lacking any kind of personality or distinction. GRADE: C+.
Moonstone (France): Par Les Fans, Pour Les Fans (Brennus BR 9502, DVD, 2005)
Metal
Paula Guittard (lead vocals)
Live, Moonstone are a vibrant and powerful act, and this is a worthwhile (if fairly short and basic) DVD. However, for all their energy, the band never really had the X-factor to make it out of the second division. GRADE: C+.

Jeff Moore & Friends (Canada): The Youngest Son (No label 07-42031, 1974)
Folk/Rock
Christina Becker (joint lead vocals, guitar), Judy Imeson (saxophone), Wendy Becker (flute)
Among the rarest and most sought-after Canadian LPs, this sells for many hundreds of pounds. It’s a charming amateur folk/rock album with full band backing on some cuts, and was assembled by an ad hoc collective of school students. The best cut is probably the haunting and beautiful ‘Blind Man’, written and sung by Christina Becker. GRADE: C+.

Sylvia Moore (UK): Jungle Magic (Oryx Sunshine SUN 3, 1970)
Folk/MOR/‘Incredibly Strange Music’
Sylvia Moore (lead vocals, guitar, sansa, cora)
This truly odd album is usually described in dealer lists as acid-folk, which I suppose it is, though Moore was aiming as much at the easy listening market as folk buyers. Basically, it’s a collection of ethnic songs played on weird and exotic instruments, almost like a stripped-down Yma Sumac or Martin Denny. The result is a peculiar LP that straddles the lounge, folk, psychedelic and world music genres without really fitting into any of them. Rather strangely, it was reissued by Philips in Colombia in 1978 under the title Windows On The World, jointly credited to Moore and guest musician Bernard Broere. GRADE: C+.

Mope (Italy): Mope (Taxi Driver TD015, CD, with digipak, 2014)
Metal/Jazz/Progressive
Jessica Rassi (guitar), Sara Twinn (saxophone)
With an unusual line-up of a guitarist, bassist, drummer and saxophonist (plus some uncredited piano) this band plays jazzy instrumental doom metal on three lengthy tracks. Saxophonist Sara Twinn doesn’t offer the sort of squalling dissonance one might expect in this context, instead playing mournful and elegant lead lines while the band supports her with some powerful and understated riffing. The results are original, unusual and highly creative. As a footnote, the album was also released as a cassette in a numbered edition of just 20 copies, coming with an insert, badge and slipcase with an embossed seal. GRADE: B–.

Moraine (USA): Manifest Destiny (MoonJune MJR028, CD, with digipak, 2009)
Progressive
Alicia Allen (violin), Ruth Davidson (cello)
Not quite jazz/rock, not quite symphonic prog, not quite chamber music and not quite RIO, but drawing on elements of all those styles, Moraine offer some powerful riff-driven instrumental music on their debut album. The violin and cello add some intricacy and counterpoint, but there’s also plenty of chunky riffing from the guitar and bass, and with short, discrete tracks the album never gets overly ambitious or complex. GRADE: B–.
Moraine (USA): Metamorphic Rock (MoonJune MJR040, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2011)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Alicia Allen (violin)
This live album, which features mostly new material, takes their sound closer to fusion. It’s also stronger than the studio set, with energetic and dynamic performances and a beautiful recording that brings their fiery musicianship alive. With strong hints of the early seventies Vertigo sound – particularly the instrumental jams from the Catapilla LPs – this is exciting and engaging stuff. GRADE: B–.
Moraine (USA): Groundswell (MoonJune MJR066, CD, with gatefold minisleeve, 2014)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Alicia Allen (violin)
The sleeve notes compare them to Soft Machine, Gong and King Crimson, and talk of ‘an idyllic unification of contrasting jazz and rock patterns that transform into a heterogeneous bonding mechanism’, but they’re somewhat straighter than their influences and are at heart a good old-fashioned jam band. In fact, they’re a very good old-fashioned jam band. GRADE: B–.

More (Yugoslavia): More (Jugoton LSY-63018, 1974)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Meri Cetinic (lead vocals, piano), Antonija Gerzeli (backing vocals)
Housed in an evocative sleeve depicting a bird landing on water, this is a lovely album of dreamy folk/rock. Three jazzy, proggy instrumentals (especially the stunning closer ‘Horizont’) also work well, making for an accomplished LP. Meri Cetinic went on to release many solo albums of dubious quality. GRADE: B–.
See also Meri Cetinic

Mandy More (UK): But That Is Me (Philips 6308 109, with inner, 1972)
Singer/Songwriter
Mandy More (lead vocals, keyboards, harmonica, melodica)
For the most part this is a good, although not exceptional, singer/songwriter set, ranging from delicate ballads to slightly soulful sixties-style pop. However, the astounding ‘If Not By Fire’ is something else – amazing heavy psychedelic pop, with echoey treated vocals, weird stereo effects and howling, distorted fuzz guitar. The other really remarkable cut is her superb and radical cover of ‘God Only Knows’. GRADE: C+.

Elaine Morgan (UK): First Blush (Albino ALB002, cassette, 1989)
Folk/Rock
With most of the material written by Ashley Hutchings and backing (presumably – there are no credits) from the Albion Band, this is classy and sophisticated folk/rock. If there’s a failing, the album lacks one or two really killer tracks and is perhaps a touch devoid of its own personality, but there’s plenty of variety here, with something for almost everyone. GRADE: C+.
See also Dan Ar Braz Et L’Héritage Des Celtes, Ghoulies, Rose Among Thorns

Jacqueline & Lindsay Morgan (USA/UK): Jacqueline And Lindsay (Vintage SCV 108, Canada, 1969)
Folk/Rock
Jacqueline Morgan (joint lead vocals)
They look like acoustic folkies on the front cover, but this is actually a mix of uptempo rockers and dreamy folk/rock, both with a psychedelic edge. The result is a rather good album, and rather a rare one too. As a footnote, although they spent their musical careers in Canada, Lindsay Morgan was Welsh and Jacqueline American. A very young Daniel Lanois plays on the album. GRADE: C+.
Morgan (USA/UK) Morgan (Phonodisc PHE-6005, with inner, Canada, 1979)
Country/Rock
Jacqueline Morgan (joint lead vocals, percussion, autoharp)
The duo’s second and final album, released a full decade after their first, is slightly different. They’ve discovered a strong interest in country/rock and this has definite rural edges, mixed in with Fleetwood Mac-style melodic soft rock and even a couple of short neoclassical instrumentals, adding a progressive edge. The LP is perhaps a little slight, but it’s beautifully arranged and performed, with Daniel Lanois once again contributing. As a footnote, Lindsay Morgan went on to produce Alanis Morrissette’s first single. GRADE: C+.

MorganMasonDowns (USA): MorganMasonDowns (Roulette SR 42047, 1970)
Folk

Cassandra Morgan
The sleeve doesn’t give the trio’s full names, but Cassandra Morgan had previously recorded with Trout. This venture is quite different, being a beautiful and delicate LP of hippie folk with some rural touches, occasionally hinting at early It’s A Beautiful Day without the violin and progressive rock elements. GRADE: C+.
See also Trout

Morild (Norway): Time To Rest (Morild 1, double CD, with gatefold minisleeve, inners and booklet, 2010)
Progressive
Mari Haug Lund (flute, backing vocals)
This ambitious double album mixes rather folky songs and symphonic instrumentals, culminating in the lengthy suite ‘The Slave Ship’. Whilst it’s well played and sung, and contains some excellent moments recalling seventies Genesis and Pink Floyd, there’s nothing particularly original or startling here. GRADE: C+.
Morild (Norway): Aves (No label, CD, 2012)
Progressive
Mari Haug Lund (piano, flute)
Their second LP is less expansive but equally ambitious, with tracks of up to 25 minutes. Once again the music is beautifully crafted, mellifluous and utterly lacking in ostentation or pretension, making for a very listenable set. On the downside, it’s perhaps a little low in excitement, but maybe that’s not the point of Morild. GRADE: C+.

Mormos (USA): Great Wall Of China (CBS S 64430, with insert, France, 1971)
Folk/Psychedelic
Annie Williams (joint lead vocals), Tobia Taylor (joint lead vocals, recorder, balalaika, zither)
Evolving from electronic rock pioneers Spoils Of War (who only issued two extremely rare EPs during their lifetime), Mormos were a ragtag bunch of American expatriates who relocated to France. Their debut offers loose yet intricate acid-folk in a style somewhere between The Incredible String Band, Pearls Before Swine and Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. Medieval and baroque elements abound, a couple of cuts have falsetto vocals to up the weirdness quotient, and a bizarre mix crams nearly all the voices and instruments into one stereo channel (or alternatively, my copy has a pressing fault!). GRADE: C+.
Mormos (USA): The Magic Spell Of Mother’s Wrath (CBS S 64979, France, 1972)
Annie Williams (joint lead vocals, bass, balalaika)
Their second and final album is recognisably the work of the same band, but sounds distinctly American, whereas their first had a more European flavour. This time round, some of the songs are influenced by early jazz, bearing more than a passing similarity to Insect Trust or even the Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band. They also throw in a gorgeous straight ballad, ‘Cows In My Colorbook’ (arguably their best recording), and an unusual 10-minute piece of progressive folk called ‘Rit Yellow’. Overall, this is their more mature and confident album, and the mix is nowhere near as strange (although the vocals are again off-centre). Following the band’s break-up, leader James Cuomo went on to become a top session musician. GRADE: C+.
See also Spoils Of War

Morning Glory (USA): Two Suns’ Worth (Fontana SRF 67573, 1968)
Psychedelic
Gini Graybeal (lead vocals, percussion)
Side one offers guitar-led West Coast rock and psych – quite good and often quite heavy, but not particularly distinctive. But the second opens with the completely unexpected classic ‘Jelly Gas Flame’– a marvellously ethereal psychedelic floater with trippy massed vocals and a surrealistic feel. Thereafter the album offers a couple of lighter, more baroque cuts, before returning to its original style. This will be of interest to Velvet Underground fans, as John Cale was one of the engineers. Rhythm guitarist, bassist and principal songwriter Bob Bohanna went on to form Pure Love & Pleasure. GRADE: C+.

Morning Sky (USA): Sea Of Dreams (No label SP-1110, 1976)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Barbara London (principal vocals, piano, percussion, flute)
Varied, energetic and intricate, this progressive jazz-fusion album features some superb instrumental performances, including plenty of airy flute. The band are accomplished songwriters too, and with numbers of up to nine minutes there is plenty here to delight lovers of both fusion and progressive rock. GRADE: B–.

Morrigan (UK): Spirit Of The Soup (No label, cassette, 1985)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Cathy Alexander (principal vocals, guitar, keyboards, recorder, autoharp)
This drummerless trio offer rather good progressive electric folk, ranging from material inspired by early Steeleye Span through to more symphonic synthesiser-based numbers. It’s not the most consistent LP, either in terms of style or quality, with the only constant being the rather low-budget sound, but it’s still an interesting and creative debut. The album was reissued on vinyl in the mid-nineties (every copy was warped, and the disc even came with an erratum slip stating this) and later as an obscure CD. GRADE: B–.
Morrigan (UK): Rides Out (No label, 1990)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Cathy Alexander (principal vocals, keyboards, wind synthesiser, recorder), Melanie Byfield (occasional vocals, keyboards, tambourine)
Album number two is again a touch low-budget, though generally better recorded than its predecessor. Once again mixing original and traditional songs, it features wide-ranging arrangements, including some excellent acid guitar, and often indicates the band’s festival roots. GRADE: B–.
Morrigan (UK): War In Paradise (No label REDHCD1, CD, 1993)
Folk/Rock
Cathy Alexander (principal vocals, keyboards, maracas, recorder)
This stopgap EP features three new studio recordings plus a live version of ‘Fingals Cave/Spirit Of The Soup’ from their first album. The opening ‘Throwing It All Away’ is pleasant enough, but on the second number ‘Paradise’ they appear to be channelling Ian Dury through a festival folk/reggae prism – this sort of thing might work in a live setting, but is pretty underwhelming on record. Thankfully, things improve drastically with ‘The Miner’s Song’, which is the best thing on the disc, and the closing instrumental is also excellent. Overall, this is a solid enough 20 minutes of music, but ‘Paradise’ is a pretty significant lowpoint unless you like folk/punk. GRADE: C+.
Morrigan (UK): Wreckers (English Garden ENG 1018 CD, CD, 1995)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Cathy Alexander (principal vocals, guitar, keyboards, wind synthesiser, recorder)
After the underwhelming War In Paradise, it all comes together here: this is a great electric folk album, focusing mainly on traditional material (plus a few original compositions in the same style). The self-penned ‘Wheels Turning’ and ‘When The Rain Comes Down’ are respectively in a neoprogressive and spacy reggae style and sound a bit out of place, but otherwise this is a fantastic album for fans of Steeleye Span, Ougenweide, Folque et al. GRADE: B.
Morrigan (UK): Masque (English Garden ENG 1024 CD, CD, 1998)
Progressive/Folk/Rock
Cathy Alexander (principal vocals, guitar, keyboards, wind synthesiser, recorder)
Whereas previous Morrigan albums offered electric folk with progressive edges, this is a symphonic progressive album with folk influences. Weaving original compositions and traditional songs and instrumentals into long, elegiac suites, it’s far more ambitious and original than anything they had done before. That said, I don’t find this as consistent or as compelling as its predecessor, though it’s still a fine LP. GRADE: B–.
Morrigan (UK): Hidden Agenda (English Garden ENG 1024 CD, CD, 2002)
Progressive/Folk/Rock
Cathy Alexander (joint lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, wind synthesiser, recorder)
Like Masque, this is as much sympho-prog as it is folk/rock, with the centrepiece being the ten-minute ‘A Night To Remember’, which chronicles the sinking of the Titanic. It’s rather messy and not particularly successful, but elsewhere this offers some superb electric folk material. GRADE: B–.
See also Colin Masson

Doug Morter, Jerry Donahue & The Backroom Boys & Girls (UK/USA): Brief Encounters (Fun FUN 005, 1990)
Rock
Mae McKenna (occasional vocals)
As redolent of its period as Patrick Bateman leafing through “GQ” whilst toying with his red braces, this isn’t the album you’d expect from Morter and Donahue backed by a crew including Mae McKenna, Gerry Conway and Rick Kemp. In fact, it sounds more like Eric Clapton circa Behind The Sun or August, only Clapton would have made a much better fist of Kemp’s ‘Deep In The Darkest Night’. GRADE: C.

See also Contraband, Mae McKenna

Mandy Morton (UK): Sea Of Storms (Polydor 2382 101, with inner, 1980)
Folk/Rock
Mandy Morton (lead vocals, guitar)
Morton’s only solo album continues in a similar musical vein to Spriguns’ Time Will Pass and Magic Lady, and the songs are nearly as good. However, the feel is more contemporary, with the arrangements owing less to folk music. That’s either a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective – to me, a heavy number like ‘Black Nights’ might have had more heft in the hands of Spriguns. That said, Morton can still create powerful rock music and eerie atmospheres as a soloist, as ‘Twisted Sage’ ably proves. On the downside, the reggae-tinged ‘Silas The Silent’ presages the more mainstream and commercial direction she would pursue on Valley Of Light. GRADE: B.
Mandy Morton Band (UK): Valley Of Light (Banshee BAN 1013, 1983)
Rock
Mandy Morton (lead vocals, guitar)
Morton’s final album is a somewhat odd addendum to her catalogue. Recorded with a new, young set of musicians and aimed at the Scandinavian market, it’s a set of straightforward rock songs – some hardish (notably a remake of the Magic Ladycut ‘The Lady’) and some spacy and mildly progressive. It’s all more than competent, and superbly recorded to boot, but she doesn’t really bring anything to ‘Somebody To Love’ and only the delightful closer ‘Natural Born’ really recalls her more delicate and more ambitious former style. GRADE: C+.

See also Spriguns Of Tolgus