Fly On Strangewings

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While Jade's only album is decent early-'70s British folk-rock, its similarity to the material that Sandy Denny sang lead on with Fairport Convention is so evident that it's rather unnerving. Marian Segal sounded more like Denny than any other British folk-rock singer of the time did, and the songs mixed rock music, more traditional British Isles folk melodic and lyrical elements, and stirring contemporary rock singer/songwriting in much the same way that Fairport did in their What We Did on Our Holidays and Unhalfbricking era. The differences? Well, Jade had a little more of a pop influence than Fairport, occasionally using orchestration, and less of a traditional folk one, never updating trad folk tunes with rock arrangements as Fairport sometimes did. And of course where Fairport split up the lead vocals among several members, Marian Segal takes almost all of them here, though the good amount of vocal harmonies again can't fail but to recall early Fairport. The title track in particular recalls Denny's composition "Who Knows Where the Time Goes." Ultimately, the songs, singing, and arrangements don't have as much of an edge as Fairport Convention, and Jade can't help but sound derivative, though they're good at what they do. The inevitable comparisons recede a bit on some songs, such as "Mayfly," with its gallivanting, almost country feel; "Bad Magic," which seems Donovan-influenced with its harpsichord and loosey-goosey blues-rock feel; "Away from the Family," a nod in the direction of the Band; and "Mrs. Adams," which more than any other track is like a modernized old British folk song. The 2003 CD reissue adds two bonus cuts -- covers of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" and James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind" -- from an unreleased 1971 single, as well as some Chicago radio ads for some local Jade gigs and lengthy historical liner notes by Marianne Segal (aka Marian Segal) herself.

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