PHIL OCHS 1940 - 1976
A man whose career had two distinct phases, the protest and the reflective,
Ochs remains a misunderstood and rather neglected force. He created many
hauntingly beautiful songs of tremendous pathos and deserves the same
attention as Gram Parsons. Over-shadowed by Dylan in the 60's, his changes
of direction alienated his original fans but failed to attract new ones.
(Recommended: American Troubadour, A&M Records 540 728 - 2)
DAVID ACKLES 1937
Critically acclaimed buy commercially overlooked, Ackles produced four
beautiful, panoramic and eclectic albums between 1968 and 1973. His work
was perhaps too involved to ever sell in any great quantity, though songs
like 'Subway to the Country' and 'I've Been Loved' remain masterpieces
of insight and brevity. His three 'Elektra' albums were reissued in the
early 90's, again to major acclaim but poor sales, and are now sadly deleted.
His family are presently compiling his later work for release. Hywyn recorded
'Seeing Montana' as a tribute/response to his 'Montana Song'.
TIM HARDIN 1941 - 1980
The other great American songsmith of regret and longing, Hardin
recorded his finest work on his first two albums. Heroin and
writers block laid waste to his tremendous talents, and though
subsequent albums reveal flashes of his former genius, he never
regained the momentum of his initial work. Other artists scored
hits with his songs, but commercial success eluded his own career.
(Recommended: Reason to Believe; the best of
, Polydor 833
JOBRIATH 1946 - 1983
One of the ultimate lost stars of any era,
Jobriath remains an essential figure to devotees of debauched genius.
His brace of albums on Elektra reveal a vaudevillian flair for songs that
carry a sense of tradition, with a twist of glam genius. The victim of
one of the biggest and most disastrous hypes of the 70's, his career floundered
and he retired to his pyramid-shaped triplex on the roof of the Chelsea
hotel. Hywyn intend to cover his song 'Inside'. A dump bin angle for too
long, a revival of interest is brewing, thanks to the efforts of Hywyn
lyricist Rob Cochrane and the redoubtable Ann Magnuson (ex-Bongwater).
Jake Holmes recorded four exceptional albums between 1968 and
1972, his work at odds with the hippie mood of he time. Piano
driven slightly jazzy songs with intricate arrangements meant
he was an acquired taste. His songs have echoes of Randy Newman,
David Ackles and Scott Walker. Sadly, his work has long been
deleted and his present activities unknown. Well worth the search,
especially 'So Close, So Very Far To Go' (Polydor 1970) and 'How
Much Time' (CBS 1972).
Something of a Hywyn favourite, Bill Fay's albums reveal the best of British
songcraft. A grossly neglected talent, his work has in recent years been
gaining the audience and respect it deserves. His first album is a lush,
exquisitely English affair
in the tradition of Nick Drake and Al Stewart, whilst 'In the Time of
the Last Persecution' is a dark, brooding affair, as apocalyptic as the
title suggests and reminiscent of Nick Cave. A new album is about to be
released, his first in thirty years. Hywyn will be recording a version
of 'Screams In Your Ears', Bill's sole single from 1967.