Monday 13 October 2014

A special treat: Martin Springett's Gardening Club and the first year anniversary of this blog, October 13th, 2014...

Martin Springett's The Gardening Club, 1983.

Amazingly this time the cover illustrations and art are from Martin himself, a British artist who worked and recorded in Toronto, Canada. You can see how remarkable he is as an artist, pictorially as well as musically.  And ironically for us, it's the former inclination that won out in the end...

Now this is that classic prog rock sound that we all love so deeply and dearly and for this reason I present it to you on the one-year anniversary of this blog as a special treat.  As usual we get the space lyrics, the quirky material ("Nirvana isn't what it used to be"), the mythological themes, the cute-bombastic singing passages, the fusiony bits ("Enderby's Ride"), the electric guitar effects like phasing, the sudden variations within a song, the diminished chords ("The Traveller"), the shockingly weird and twisted melodies ("Rebirth"), the long-length composition that changes constantly, all on a beautiful rock base that provides that vital, vivid electric energy we love so much.  Of course we're back to the masters of prog, Genesis, here.  And it's wonderfully refreshing after all the fusion, library, and folk we have had to plod through lately. (I don't even mention electronic music which I have no taste for.)  And guess who else appears on this record?  Our old favourite instrument, the mellotron!

A good example of the prog moves, "Andromeda," which could be an anthem for prog, note in particular how it changes two-thirds of the way through to a kind of fusion-space opus:

Another track among many ("The Garden") that really shows his Genesis-debt:

Oh how I love that twelve-string guitar sound Genesis perfected!!

Huge bonus: Martin crammed 50 minutes of music into this one record.  More information can be found on the preceding discogs link.  It's great to discover a semi-masterpiece like this that is not well known, even among the cognoscenti: cf.  RYM.  And btw the aforementioned long composition, its full title is "Enderby's Ride in Three Parts," is truly a masterpiece within a masterpiece, a real stunner of a progressive opus.

I guess the problem with this record was the year of release: by 1983, prog was totally dead, autopsied, cremated, interred, its dust scattered to the four corners of the (g*ddamned) record industry's world, and the sound on this album is from 8-10 years before at least, with not a hint of new wave, casio keyboards, drum machines, etc.  I still remember my friend at the time telling me acoustic musical instruments were dead, from now on everything will be synthesizers, fake drums, computer-generated beats, etc.  (Of course his prediction ended very quickly, within ten years all those old out-of-date instruments were back with a vengeance when alternative broke.)  Martin obviously was one of those utterly uncompromising artists who didn't give a hot crap what was fashionable at the time...

Subsequently, note from his personal blog that he pursued the illustration side of his talents as opposed to the prog side.  Yet for the latter I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart.  What a brilliant, brilliant artist.

Just a gorgeous, inimitable, eternal album, that deserves to live forever.

And Prog, I love you.
But you knew that already.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. See below, the artist is willing to sell copies of his record for those interesting in hearing this gorgeous music.

  2. Congragulations to your first anniversary, many thanks for your always interesting recommendations, another true gem. To really celebrate the date it would be fantastic if you or at least one of your friends could post
    MOTHERHOOD´s I Feel So Free. I think legions of your followers are looking for this.
    Best regards and best wishes


  3. Thanks a lot
    I would love to, but as is usual in these cases, I am not allowed to by these powerful record collectors, who, etc. etc.

  4. Julian,

    the band POISON IDEA gave the appropriate comment on record collectors



  5. this week I'll post another rarity that will shock those record collector bigwigs.

  6. Wow - Special treat indeed! Real killer artwork & a masterpiece of music - this is a Monster!! Enchanting, moody and the instrumentals, they strike a chord in my soul...
    Hearty Thanks my friend :)
    And can't believe it's already been a year,
    Thank you so much for all the rare and wonderful music,
    forgotten treasures uncover new horizons...
    Here's to many more bro!!!

  7. julian thanks for posting this gem and thanks for being here looking forward to your future postings one of the better blogs on the net thanks for all of your shares happy aniversary rog

  8. Julian ! What can I say, thank you !! More soon.
    Cheers, Martin Springett

  9. Wow! Please keep us posted! And thanks for this wonderful work of art.

  10. Hi Julian, I can't tell you how happy I am to read this review, you are dead on when you say I was not influenced by the trends of the day, and it was a most personal from the gut expression of where I found myself as a young song writer. My new stuff is on iTunes. You can hear me there. The Gardening Club is special though, no doubt, the large L P canvas allowed me to go wild with the imagery as well as the music. I am doing more music than ever, due to the joys of home recording. I would be more than happy to share some of this with you.
    Do you have any suggestions of where I might sell the G C LP? Thankfully I have some left, unopened and shrink wrapped !