Mark Fry

Dreaming with Alice

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Mark Fry's obscure 1972 album was pleasing but derivative British acid folk, very much influenced by Donovan in its mood and vocals, though more unceasingly oriented toward acid-folk-rock than any of Donovan's efforts. In fact, it was a little behind the curve in 1972, sounding rather more like something that would have been recorded and issued a couple of years earlier. The gentle, haunting songs are breathily vocalized acoustic guitar tunes at their core, but lightly spiced with psychedelic echo, backwards tapes, flutes (one song is even called "Lute and Flute"), sitar, and extended raga-influenced passages. In fact, the final track is nothing but a backwards tape -- all two and a half minutes of it. Fry's singing is far more reticent than Donovan's, though not unattractive; at times it's a bit like hearing a further-out Al Stewart. As suitable as this music might be for dozing off to in a forest and the like, the songs -- broken up by several half-minute or so interludes, all consisting of verses from "Dreaming with Alice" itself -- aren't too substantial, functioning more as mood pieces than works that make a solid impact.

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