The acerbic, colloquial subgenre acid folk was birthed and popularized as a cult movement of the 1960s and early ‘70s, fronted by names like Syd Barret, Nick Drake, and Donovan. These pioneers of the style set forward to expand the ritualistic psychedelic experience through their off-kilter music, focusing much on the acoustic stylings of traditional folk music, but with the added blend of acid rock flavors, taking in hazy improv and laid back vocal delivery as some of its prime characteristics.
Enter Howard Eynon, the acid folk superstar that never was. Though arguably a staple exemplary of the sound of the genre and its heyday, Eynon arguably came in too late with his debut. During the time of his first and only full album release in So What If I’m Standing in Apricot Jam? in 1974, the movement was already seeing a decrease in spectators and appreciators as they transitioned from one spectacle to the next in the form of folk-rock.
The album, written and performed by an eccentric Tasmanian farmer, carries a particular lilt to it that even many of the actual frontrunners of acid folk fame could not have attested to at the time. For this reason, it’s become a cult object of obsession for eager record collectors, bringing sense to Earth Recordings’ interesting choice to take the album on as its next resurrection – and for its second reissue this December, at that.
A zany collection of ambiguity, protest, innuendo, contempt, hallucinatory trips, and the occasional personal truth, Eynon encapsulates the irreverent anti-establishmentarianism of the ’60s and ‘70s in music to a tee. Those who have hunted his record have with good reason, as Eynon’s cheeky delivery and wit come across as astoundingly welcoming to the ear, especially given the psychedelic lyrical content. “Boots & Jam & Head & Things”, to which the album’s saucy title finds its inspiration, begins as a bizarre monologue on breakfast-based fetishism before transforming into a brutal jab at establishment order. Elsewhere, “Hot BJ” is intended to share Eynon’s thoughts on black currant juice, didn’t you know?
Though the unfeigned egoist rants of a regular Father John Misty or cult Beatles record movement might prove to be enough of starting point for the beginner’s acid tune appreciator, there isn’t much that could prepare one for the surprises, both of a sonic and lyrical construct, that preside in So What if I’m Standing in Apricot Jam? The bottom line is that, for those with a mind towards the world of the waggish will have their fun here, and for good reason, as Eynon’s efforts remain one of the tried and true standards of the acid folk movement.