Even in the most extreme realms of sonic esoterica, where unknown, decades-old private-press releases are commonplace, Amalgam is about as rare as such records get. It's the only release by British folk duo Just Others, which (briefly) consisted of Geoff Twigg and Brian Rodgers. By the time of its release in 1974, the British folk scene was still going, but had pretty much peaked. Perhaps if Amalgam had come along about five years earlier, it might have attained a higher profile, but it was released in a super-limited edition of just 250 copies and disappeared without a trace. Nevertheless, the blend of influences between Twigg's singer/songwriter orientation and Rodgers' more traditional folk inspirations gave Just Others a familiar but distinctive sound.
There are no traditional folk tunes to be found on Amalgam, but the influence of artists like Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, et al, can be clearly heard. Even though the aforementioned folkies, like so many of their peers, had experimented extensively with electrified folk-rock by that time, Amalgam is a strictly acoustic affair, with nary a rhythm section in sight. In fact, one of the very few outside contributions to the album comes in the form of crumhorns that add a Renaissance-era touch, evoking the retro-folk stylings of Amazing Blondel and Gryphon. At the same time, despite the old-school nature of the sonic settings, Twigg's songs (he wrote all but one of the tracks here) all bear a very personal stamp, and couldn't have been written in any other era than that of the ‘60s/'70s singer/songwriter. Cast in stark relief by necessity due to the low-budget nature of the recording, the tracks sound all the more haunting and poignant, bearing a kind of innocence that could be seen as the last gasp of the hippie era in the mid-‘70s. Fortunately, Amalgam was saved from extinction through the work of dutiful folk enthusiasts, and decades later, it stands as a sweet musical time capsule.