Private Green Crown : With Which to Feed the Fairies 1997-2001 : the first five live (US,2003)***°
From the last summerfestival this new CD has been presented, but the distribution still is not secured yet. Never the less I luckily obtained a copy through Rick R. Johnson (supporter, spokesman and webmaster for Green Crown, and painter for the cover).
Green Crown's Discography..
Green Crown have had a number of releases before which I will quickly overview first :
-The best and most significant release I knew so far, and which I considered one of the best starters (of the whole genre of pagan folk as well) is "Washed in her blood" (1998)****°, a beautiful prog/psych folkrock release with the talent of Prydwyn (one of the most mature beautiful bards around, also harp-and guitarplayer, with occasional other instruments), Whitedeer (percussion & tablas), Jim Brewer (flutes & percussion), Violette, acoustic bass, Diana McFadden, cello, and some other occasional musicians. Songs of Country Joe McDonald, Gong, Incredible String Band, -all songs related with Pagan themes-, were interpreted with their typical, and beautiful original sound. It's one of the best pagan releases I know of. (audio : "Spirit Waltz") But also the tape of Prydwyn with Diana McFadden, "The Witch in the Well" (1997)****° has pieces of imense beauty : harp or mandolin with cello & male, female voice, with an incredible interpretation of "See Emily Play" (Syd Barrett). Prydwyn released also a solo CD, "At the feet of Mary Mooncoin" (1995)**°°°, from which especially the magical track "Attis & Cybele", a beautifully arranged old Roman poem is outstanding. Later Prydwyn participated with various Stonebreath (& Stonebreath related) releases too. Green Crown released also two tracks on a compilation album for the Heartland Festival, from which one medieval track again has a certain individual beauty. There was also a limited live CDR released from a 1997 concert, "Il Principio", a fine release, close in sound to the original recorded songs, but not a necessary artefact to gain when you have all the other material. This release is another live recording, which sounds pretty varied.
review of the album..
"Tir Na Nóg" has the recognisable nice arrangements I was used to hear from Green Crown. The rest of the album had more different elements. Some tracks are a bit more earthly (on "Bedlam Boys" (combined with a terrific trance / psychfolkrock version of the "Break on Trough" song from The Doors ), or down to the tribal earth rhythms like on the magical circle dance effect of "Witches Reel") or a bit more common on traditionals, which are sometimes a little less arranged (like "Cuckoo's nest", the least surprising song on the album).
Another track, a nice medieval track, is "Tourdion" played with a 'tarantela' energy . Further on we hear two Donovan tracks, "Season of the Witch", which has a good up tempo bluesfolkrock drive and more powerful playing and singing, while "Enchanted Gypsy" (also from Donovan) sounds close in sound to the Prydwyn and McFadden "The Witch in the well" release, basically with the drive of cello arrangements and raga like improvisations combined with Prydwyn's voice and mandolin, and some additional tabla and flute.
Glad to have also the "Willow's Song" performed by a suitable female voice, acoustic guitars, handpercussion and improvising violin, a song known from the hippie cult movie 'Wickerman', recalling this unique moment with its own beauty.
Further we also have "Legend of a Mind / White Rabbit", first part by Ray Thomas (or Moody Blues), in a very varied, almost progressive arrangement, with lots of acoustic instruments (including 2 cello's ? and violin ?) and drums, second part by Grace Slick (most known from her group Jefferson Airplane, but first performed by her earlier group, The Great Society, a song about the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, talking about the "pil" making everything look bigger and smaller, -this is..let's say a symbol for the mindexpanding (or in general an LSD) experience-), here musically very dynamically expressed with cello's, drums, pipes, flutes etc. and Prydwyn almost freaking out along with the energy of the group, possibly a track recorded at the end of a concert, with the energy of the group at its most dynamic, with some nice improvisation passages at the end (electric guitars, tabla, violin and cello ?).
What else could end this CD better than a middle eastern psych folk version of another Doors song, "The End", with banjo, percussion, and some flute & violin and cello improvisations, and near the end with a tempered fury in the voice (at moment with some backwards echoe added) of Prydwyn. Beautiful. I'm glad these recordings have been saved for posterity.
Except for the bit more normal, second track, the CD is again another classic by one of my favourite folk related groups from today. And it surely is one of the most varied CD's they have made as well.
Participating in these recordings are Jakob Breitbach, Jim Brewster, Ingrid Eyen, Sironna Gibson, Penny Goody, Hank Knaepple, Diana McFadden, Prydwyn Piper, Violette Rose and Whitedeer with guest appearances on one track by Michelle (on "Tir Na Nóg"), and Billy "Bardo" Thorpe (on three tracks).
Green Crown has gone through some significant changes over the past year. I have been told by R.Johnson that the current Green Crown sound is closer to the original group than before, or like on these (more ethereal) recordings. White Deer and Violette are no longer involved with the band. The current line-up consists of Prydwyn, Diana McFadden (also active with Kiva, so also on the Izolda release), Peg Aloi, Diana Sunday and for the summer Festival this might be expanded with Jake and Ingrid Breitbach, Hank Knaepple and Billy Woods. Jim Brewster will focus on other endeavours for a while.