Recommended Albums #85

Lindisfarne: Nicely Out of Tune (1970)

While not exactly a household name this side of the Atlantic, Lindisfarne and their fine 1970 debut LP should be on the radar of any fan of folk-influenced rock of the era.

The Newcastle group’s sound evoked The Band at times, but with decidedly English leanings. Or a looser version of early Fairport perhaps. And nicely in tune with the acid folk vibe in late-60’s/early 70’s Britain.

This album peaked at #8 in the UK charts a year after its release, having gotten a jolt when their second album Fog On the Tyne topped the charts in 1971.

But while Tyne was their breakthrough, Nicely Out of Tune is their strongest album.

The pretty, atmospheric “Lady Eleanor” kicks off the album. The song features mandolin accents by Ray Jackson, who also played the instrument on Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”. The songs ends nicely with a mandolin-and-bass coda.

The simple, haunting beauty of “Winter Song” repays careful attention to the lyrics, while “Turn a Deaf Ear” displays the band’s harmonies and shanty-esque pub singalong side.

“Alan in the River With Flowers” is another pensive ballad reminiscent of David Cousins’ early Strawbs writing. Its title parodies “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”.

And “Down” is a jaunty tune with instrumental credit to multi-instrumentalist Ray Jackson for playing “flatulette”, which actually consisted of blowing raspberries.

Like Camel, Amazing Blondel, Fairport Convention and so many other fine English bands of the era, lineup changes took a toll just a few albums into Lindisfarne’s run.

But while the subtle brilliance of Nicely Out of Tune will be lost on many, if you’re among those with an ear for nicely-rendered 70’s British folk rock, this album is–as they like to say across the pond–just the job.

Listen to: “Lady Eleanor”

Listen to “Winter Song”

Listen to “Turn a Deaf Ear”

Listen to “Alan in the River With Flowers”

Listen to “Down”

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