Paul Adolphus

The Dawn Wind

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Australian-born singer/songwriter Paul Adolphus had been living on and off in Japan since 1968 when, about to move back to Australia, he organized a low-budget recording session in Kyoto, with the help of multi-instrumentalist Mitsu Harada. The 12 tracks preserved on The Dawn Wind portray an interesting if not particularly original songwriter and an adept acoustic guitarist. With a voice resting halfway between Shawn Phillips and Canned Heat's Bob Hite, Adolphus delivers his nature-centric lyrics with soul and warmth (but no fire in these very quiet songs). Adolphus plays guitar, flute, and shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute), while Harada is heard at the piano, organ, and koto, in addition to engineering and producing the session. The presence of Japanese folk instruments, however discreet, and an occasional verse sung in Japanese, makes The Dawn Wind a little-known forebear of world music. Adolphus' lyrics (about butterflies, the sun, and springtime) have not aged well and probably sounded dated already back in 1968, but his melodies have charm and the album as a whole is quite listenable, enjoyable even, if a bit inconsequential. Originally released as a private pressing of 200 copies in 1973, The Dawn Wind has acquired relative cult status among folk music collectors. The Shadoks label reissued it in July 2007, without bonus tracks. The sound quality is fine, with rare blemishes on the tapes.

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