Linda Hoyle and her first album in 44 years

Linda Hoyle — The Fetch
★★☆

Do you remember the band Affinity and their only album released in the 1970?

Linda Hoyle sang on that wonderful album, and their music sounds like The Zombies stepping out from their sunshine psychedelia towards mellow, jazzy prog. The band sadly disbanded while they were recording their second album, leaving behind such classics as their 7-minute wonderland visit called Night Flight and their 11-minute cover of All Along The Watchtower.

Below is their cover of Eli’s Coming (originally sung by Laura Nyro and covered by Three Dogs Night)

One year later in 1971 Linda released an album of her own called Pieces of Me. This album is a very personal exclamation, in which Linda unleashes her strong feminist side. Each song is a statement, such as Hymn to Valerie Solanas especially (read more about Valerie Solanas and her relationship to Andy Warhol here) and once I discovered the album, it immediately became one of my favourites. Compared to the sweet prog Affinity had, this album has some unusually rough and heavy material. Black Crow is paying tribute to Beatles‘ Hey Bulldog and the featured song of the album Pieces of Me is one of the heaviest pieces (pieces of me are so heavy!) yet released at the time, while still preserving its somewhat jazzy structure.

The opening track to Linda‘s solo album, Backlash Blues:

Now, that was to remain Linda‘s last release for 44 years, which is a real shame, since she has such a marvellous voice, said by some to be a crossover of Grace Slick‘s grace with the power of Janis Joplin.

But then!

Suddenly, while I was discussing Affinity on one of the prog forums and bringing up Linda Hoyle‘s solo production, I couldn’t help but notice that a new album was released — in August of 2015, just one month ago!

That was an even stronger surprise than seeing Robert Plant perform on stage in Pori Jazz. I had to immediately have a listen to the album, and so I did. Even if just for a while, it felt like I was living in the 70’s! It was not just a fantasy anymore — all the music that was made then, all the artists, they suddenly became a reality. And I was a part of that reality.

The opening track The Fetch from the album The Fetch:

Let’s not bring up that Linda‘s new album The Fetch wasn’t really that good. Most of the songs were not interesting musically, rather resembling Christmas carols concentrating on the quality her voice — which had lost quite a bit of its shine due to the years. Yet there were a couple of very good, proggy songs, and the voice was good enough to clearly hear that it’s still her singing, Linda Hoyle, in person, true to her style! Some of the lyrics also had some of that feminism left in them (even the word “fuck” was heard, quite abruptly so amidst a relaxing, jazzy piece), and the first song of the album is pleasingly different from all the prog I’ve heard until now. I just hoped that the whole album would be just like its first piece, however this album gave me more than just music. It gave me new feelings, just like Hoyle‘s first solo album. “Affinity fans spanning generations will surely be overjoyed. It’s as if Linda never left…”, Tom Semioli writes in Huffington Post.

An interview with Linda Hoyle promoting her new album:

What is more, Linda states in the interview above that she’s writing “a lot, so much that I have to restrain myself” and that she’s already working on her next album. This is surely happy news for anyone respecting her style.

I’m considering writing her a fan letter, there is a whole lot that I would like to convey. I also think I’ll drop by the store today and see if I can find either a copy of The Fetch or Pieces of MeAffinity will also do.

p.s.

By the way, do you have any idea who is responsible for the album cover art of The Fetch? That’s right, it’s Roger Dean himself! The person who’s famous for painting the surreal album covers of Yes and a great deal of other prog bands. Just another little thing that was done right for Linda‘s album.

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Some interesting White Rabbit versions and covers

We are all familiar with Jefferson Airplane‘s psychedelic rendition of Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit. And there are many interesting covers of it around—almost as many as for BeatlesYesterday. In this post, I’ve picked a list of most interesting ones, loosely ordered from the 60’s to today, 16 videos to take up all of your free time. So get ready for an ultimate psychedelic ride.

For starters, here is an alternate TV version of White Rabbit performed by Jefferson Airplane, with a pleasing background of psychedelic colours and Grace Slick looking pretty as ever.

 

And, well, the Woodstock version deserves to be included too. The voice here is simply too magnificent.

 

Technically, the JA version is not the original one, since The Great Society had already been touring with White Rabbit, but they never released any studio albums. Grace Slick was part of their team though, and she’s singing in this live version too, which is perhaps the most psychedelic one.

 

A smooth, jazzy instrumental by George Benson and The California Dreamers, based rather on the Great Society version than on the Jefferson Airplane one.

 

A french White Rabbit cover, titled La Justice. I wonder how accurate the translation of the lyrics is, at least certain key words like “logic” and “proportion” are there. The quality of the recording could have been better, but I find that the french language fits this song really well.

 

A very gentle 60’s cover by the Flying Karpets.

 

A not so gentle 10-minute long acid punk version by The Last Word, which claims the title of the creepiest version with ease.

 

A decent cover by another 80’s punk band Mo-Dettes.

 

A somewhat crude version by a 90’s band Shrine from their album Psycha—but they’ve added a personal touch to it.

 

A 90’s house remix version. Usually not my type of music, but I found myself enjoying this one.

 

Now what’s this style of music, I don’t even know. Blue Man Group, something electronic, yet experimental and done with enthusiasm. Has lots of new components added to the song, and they work.

 

This one by Shakespears Sister sounded like rubbish first, but it ended up pretty interesting. Moreover, I’ve never seen this particular animation, which I thought was really nice.

 

A perhaps somewhat musically lacking, yet a very distinct version by Enon.

 

A recent 2009 live cover by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals. Nothing extraordinarily different from the JA version, but an accurate replica.
Here’s another link to their studio version.

 

This one is a surprisingly well made web cam recording of the song. Couldn’t have guessed it’d be this good.

 

And finally something completely different to release all the built-up tension. Hope you enjoyed the ride!

 

Edit: A bonus nr. 17 for those who can handle speed metal—a cover by Sanctuary: >> Sanctuary — White Rabbit
Think some other essential cover is missing? Message me in the comments!