Cordelia's Dad's third full-length release (the last with original guitarist Tom King, who left before its release; he's not in the cover photo and barely mentioned in the credits) was released only in Europe. A notable departure from both Cordelia's Dad and How Can I Sleep, The Joy Fun Garden is an almost entirely acoustic album (the one electric exception is a cracking, nearly metal live version of "Idumea" recorded at CBGB) that's much more traditionally minded than the group's earlier efforts. Only two songs, "Rambling Beauty" and an adaptation of Edward Arlington Robinson's poem "Dark Hills," sung a cappella by Tim Eriksen, have new tunes, and the group takes few liberties with the tunes or lyrics of the other traditional material. Three of the best songs, "George Collins," "Drowsy Sleeper," and "Johnny Oh Johnny," are from the Frank Warner & Anne Warner collection, given simple, faithful performances that showcase Eriksen's fine voice. The first step toward redefining Cordelia's Dad as an acoustic group (explored further on the group's next several releases), The Joy Fun Garden is a fine, underrated release that can be difficult to find but is well worth seeking out.
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