Bread Love And Dreams: The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha

Bread Love and Dreams
The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback from Gigha

After disappearing into the swirling mists of psych-folk legend soon after Decca released it in 1970, The Strange Tale of Captain Shannon and the Hunchback From Gigha (gotta love that title) was the sole possession of die-hard seekers of “lost” folk recordings — until now. Having come to the conclusion that their label’s failure to promote their material was some type of tax write-off, the Scottish duo of David McNiven and partner Angie Rew, who’d already downsized from a trio (former band member Carolyn Davis contributes a slice of whimsical British folk here with “Purple Hazy Melancholy”), disbanded and reformed during the 12 months that separated this recording from their self-titled debut, once again called it a day. And that’s a real shame. Because Bread Love and Dreams’ second LP, recorded simultaneously and conceived as part of a double album with 1971’s Amaryllis, is a promising semi-acoustic folk-pop treat of swirling African percussion, lush strings, gently piping organ and effervescent guitar picking. McNiven’s melodious vocal delivery, finding a middle-ground somewhere between Donovan and Ralph McTell and gilded by the ethereal backing of Rew (she takes lead on the excellent sultry psych-folk popsicle “Butterfly Land” and carnivalesque “Sing Me a Song”), are a perfect match for the wonderfully weird tales of biker chicks (“Hymn For Sylvia”), hesitant snails (“The Lobster Quadrille”) and, of course, that old salty sea dog Captain Shannon. So take a leaf out of McNiven’s book, sit back and enjoy “As my mind moved away / For a short holiday.”

RATING 7 / 10