Keith Christmas

Stimulus

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Stimulus was the debut from one of the slighter British folk-rock songwriters of the late '60s and early '70s. Keith Christmas absorbed some good traits -- you can hear bits of Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Roy Harper, and (in the vocal rather than the songwriting) Ray Davies, whether by intention or accident. Still, it's kind of a meager effort, imbued with some of the haunting melody and lyrical melancholy that were hallmarks of British folk-rock (and a few more country-ish licks than was typical for the style), but not invested with nearly as much personality as the best exponents of the genre. He did seem a little more comfortable with full if mild rock arrangements than some other similar singer/songwriters, but his writing was a little unfocused, and his vocals on the thin side of both timbre and expressiveness. Like too many folk-rock and folk albums of the era, there was a regrettable venture into forced jolly vaudeville ("Bedsit Two-Step"), though very impressive folk guitar picking was heard on "Roundabout."