Stars & Angels: Songs 1971-75

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Though little known, and maybe even unknown, outside of Scandinavia, singer/songwriter Turid recorded quite a bit in her native Sweden in the 1970s. This 17-track compilation draws from her first three albums, leaning most heavily on the first two of those (1971's Vittras Visor and 1973's Bilder), though there are also three cuts from 1975's Tredje Dagen. Turid sings (usually in Swedish, though a few songs from the first LP are in English) with a high vibrato that can be reminiscent of North American singer/songwriters Joni Mitchell, Melanie, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. If she's not explicitly imitative of any of those figures, the influence is impossible not to notice. On the earlier sides in particular, the earliest work of San Francisco group Lamb (fronted by Barbara Mauritz) might be another reference point for the blend of folk, jazz, and light rock elements in a poetic setting with sparse arrangements. You don't have to be wholly original to make good music, however, and Turid's low-key folk-rock is sufficiently far from the mainstream of the early-'70s singer/songwriter genre to be enjoyable for acid folkies, though she's not as strange as the most idiosyncratic practitioners of the genre. There's a bit of a folk-classical-fairyland feel to much of the material from the first two albums, with "Play Macabre" recalling some of Judy Collins' more art song-inclined excursions, and "Tintomara" making much (and effective) use of bird noises. Jazzy bass is often to the fore in the generally spacious and airy arrangements, though touches of odd, unexpected instruments are inserted here and there. The production becomes a little slicker on the 1975 tracks, and jazzier as well, again bringing to mind Joni Mitchell in its drift toward fusion-colored settings, though the settings are far more sparse. While those might be the least interesting songs on the collection, they're hardly mediocre, and the rest of the anthology can be confidently recommended to fans of early-'70s singer/songwriters looking for something fairly offbeat with a mystical glow. Kieron Tyler's English-language notes to this U.K. CD fill in listeners unfamiliar with Turid's history, though you might have heard at least one of these tunes, "Song," which appeared in the internationally popular 2000 Swedish film Together.

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