If Left Handed Marriage are known at all to rock fans, it's almost always because Brian May was briefly part of the group long before joining Queen, cutting some studio tracks (all unreleased at the time) with them in 1967. If you're investigating this album because of the May-Queen connection, it's important to note at the outset that it was recorded before he joined. First produced in early 1967 as a private pressing in a run of a mere 50 copies, it was issued in a limited edition of 1000 copies about 30 years later by Britain's specialty Tenth Planet label. At this point, Left Handed Marriage were a folky acoustic trio, not a proper rock band, and this set of recordings -- more like home recordings or demos than an album recorded for commercial availability -- is sonically more like a folk album than a pop or rock one. But while the recording quality is a little lo-fi and the guitars sometimes rusty-sounding, it's on the whole a pretty pleasing if naive set of mid-'60s British folk with a twist. The twist is that these really aren't folk songs, and certainly not traditional (or traditional-sounding) folk tunes; they're more like pop-folk-rock songs that happen to be played and sung with folk arrangements. At times, especially when Jenny Hill takes lead vocals, they sound a little like a hipper Seekers without a budget. At others, especially when Bill Richards takes lead vocals, they sound a little like a folkier Ray Davies. The material generally has a pensive and slightly melancholy feel, but with a bit more bite and youthful energy than most other mid-'60s British folk. Though it's really for specialists only owing to the relatively primitive sound and underdeveloped talent, as such things go, it's way above the average, and not without its genuine merits as an endearingly innocuous listen. The Tenth Planet LP adds three previously unreleased alternate takes and one outtake as bonus tracks.
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