Bobak Jons Malone - Motherlight (Music CD)

Release Date: 24 February 2017
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A seemingly random one-off album from England in 1970, Motherlight is one of those odd little delights that, as the 2001 reissue's liner notes freely acknowledge, gains its reputation in large part given what happened to the three people behind it, with later production credits ranging from Paul McCartney to Iron Maiden and Television. A studio creation given a green light by Morgan Blue Town label owner Monty Babson, the trio consisted of recording engineers Mike Bobak and Andy Johns (that actually being the correct spelling of his last name) teaming with Wilson Malone, lead figure of never-quite-stars Orange Bicycle. Without trying to draw an exact parallel, one can say this was the equivalent to something like Curt Boettcher's work with the Millennium or Sagittarius, though on a smaller scale and with slightly different goals. With Malone on guitar, keyboards, singing and most songwriting chores while Bobak and Johns handled rhythm and recording duties, the trio created an easygoing and often quite attractive collection of eight songs, generally pitched somewhere between acid folk bliss-out and the kind of heavy riffage starting to coalesce into heavy metal, with sometimes strident piano tying all the songs together. A song like "On a Meadow-Lea" shows the various sides well, as Malone's calm repetition of the chorus towards the end offers him a chance to turn in a nicely fried solo over the top. Motherlight isn't deathless, and a couple of songs probably could have been dropped (though the ridiculous pseudo-country "Burning the Weed" is a classic novelty goof), but it's still a nice peek into a time and place. Meanwhile, David Wells' 2001 liner notes provide all the information one could want, as well as a wisely observed knock on the industry surrounding reissues or bootlegs of obscure U.K. albums from that era -- a bit of biting the hand that feeds, perhaps, but one done with humor and wit. ~ Ned Raggett
Release Date: 24 February 2017
Catalogue No: MBTCD009