It’s the day after the 60s. You turn on the radio and there is news about John leaving the Beatles – or will Paul be the first to jump? There is insecurity and uncertainty. The rain filters into the post-psychedelic, pre-progressive sound; in times of upheaval, you always notice bad weather.
“Occasional Rain” is the sequel to Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs’ highly successful “English Weather” collection (“Really compelling and immersive: it’s a pleasure to lose yourself in it” - Alexis Petridis, the Guardian). This is the sound of young bands experimenting in a period of flux, feeling for a new direction, exploring jazz and folk – as many songs are led by mellotron, piano and flute as they are by guitar. Lyrically, there are two themes that crop up regularly: the search for a home that isn’t there anymore – the certainties of the optimistic 60s, the physical reality of terraced streets – and the rain. For the former, there’s Cressida’s gentle, keening ‘Home And Where I Long To Be’, while Duncan Browne’s shape-shifting ‘Ragged Rain Life’ feels like a decent summary of Britain in both 1970 and 2020.
“Occasional Rain” puts the era’s bigger names (Traffic, Yes, Moody Blues) and the lesser known (Mandy More, Shape Of The Rain, Tonton Macoute) side by side. Like its predecessor “English Weather”, it evokes the turn of the new decade, a beautiful state of fuzzy confusion, and the feel of a wet Saturday afternoon at the dawn of the 70s spent flicking through the racks, wondering whether to buy the new Tull album or maybe take a chance on that Christine Harwood album in the bargain bin (go on, you won’t regret it).
1. HIDDEN TREASURE - Traffic
2. RAGGED RAIN LIFE - Duncan Browne
3. HOME AND WHERE I LONG TO BE - Cressida
4. LEIT MOTIF - Keith West
5. NIGHT TIME - Skin Alley
6. ONCE UPON A TIME - Clouds
7. COME WITH ME TO JESUS - Mandy More
8. OUT AND IN (SINGLE VERSION) - Moody Blues
9. WASTING MY TIME - Shape Of The Rain
10. NUTMEG, BITTER SUITE - Granny's Intentions
11. SWEETNESS - Yes
12. STATION SONG PLATFORM TWO – Pete Brown and Piblokto!
13. FREEFALL - Argent
14. I KNOW THAT I'M DREAMING - Exchange & Mart
15. POSTCARDS OF SCARBOROUGH – Michael Chapman
16. QUESTION OF TIME - Christine Harwood
17. THE CASTLE - 'Igginbottom
18. WINDY BAKER STREET - Andrew Leigh
19. FLYING SOUTH IN WINTER - Tonton Macoute
20. INNOCENCE OF A CHILD - Catherine Howe
21. WATERLOW - Mott The Hoople