Trader Horne was a British folk duo comprised of Jackie McAuley, a former keyboard player and vocalist in Them, and Judy Dyble, the former lead vocalist of Fairport Convention. Though the group was short-lived, lasting only from 1969 to 1970, the band did release a single album during their time together. This album, Morning Way (1970), was the group’s only release, and didn’t necessarily have the greatest sales upon its release, at least from what it seems on the album’s Wikipedia page. However, in recent years, the album has become considered a hidden gem from its time period by collectors and enthusiasts of the psychedelic folk genre. I’m pretty excited to give this album a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Jenny May” starts with a really sweet, light folksy melody from two different acoustic guitars. Oh wow, I really dig the vocals from McAuley in this track so far, which start out isolated on the right side of the soundscape with a classic British folk-sounding line. Oh wow, Dyble comes into the left side of the soundscape with a really interesting and sweet reverberation that makes it sound like she’s singing in a church hall. Oh wow, I really dig the bright hight notes from what sound to be a piano of some sort that gently drop into the soundscape. Super sweet track, and I’m excited to hear more.
Oh wow, “Children of Care” gets started with a gradual gallop from a folksy acoustic guitar that’s accompanied by a flute that brings in a classic western European folk sound. I really dig the way the down-strums of the acoustic guitar match up with the gentle beat of the bass drum in the track. There’s a certain style to the guitar that reminds me a bit of the medieval psychedelic folk group from England around the late 1960s known as Caedmon. Oh wow, the guitar keeps continuing on with seemingly more folksy momentum as different sounds of waves crashing along a rocky shoreline seem to wash throughout the soundscape. Oh wow, I really dig the flute(s) coming in at the end of the song again as things resolve with the crash of wave into what sounds to be a light-hearted children’s song. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Three Rings for Elven Kings” gets started with a harpsichord and some bright, light piano (though it might even be an autoharp that I’m hearing), which are soon joined by some folksy flutes that seem to provide the sort of music that protagonists might from a J. R. R. Tolkien novel might hear along their journey. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Growing Man” starts out with some mysterious acoustic guitar that has a sort of baroque Spanish style at first. Oh wow, some really sweet violins and other stringed instruments come in and seemingly add to that baroque feeling. Oh wow, the violins are replaced by the trading back-and-forth of vocals between Dyble and McAuley and some really interesting, folksy harpsichord. I’m really digging this track so far; this could be some sort of ornate folk tune from the baroque period, especially between the verses as the violins/stringed instruments come back in. I really dig the natural-sounding pacing of the acoustic guitar strumming in this track. Each track thus far has ended with a really light motif of piano that could be from a children’s song. Super sweet track.
Holy smokes, “Down and Out Blues” gets grooving with some bluesy flavors in the acoustic guitar work, which has a really nice, spacious sound that adds even more dramatic weight to the vocal performance from Dyble. Oh wow, the pacing of the track picks up as the vocals and guitar seem to gradually take more of a folksy turn than necessarily bluesy. Holy smokes, a flute comes in and brings some really groovy bluesy flavors with it – I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard someone on the flute playing a bluesy line, but I’m really digging it. Holy smokes, a piano comes in with some super groovy bluesy lines that has pulled me increasingly closer to my speakers. Oh wow, the track seems to be coming to a crescendo of sorts as the track builds up some tension before coming to a sweet resolution at the end. Great track.
“The Mixed Up Kind” starts out with a few spacious acoustic guitar chords before dropping into a sort of rhythm of strumming as the bass guitar and some drums come in to create a really soothing, flowing folksy sound. I really dig the sweet vocal harmonizations between Dyble and McAuley in this track. Holy smokes, a harpsichord and swirling organs come into the track as the song seems to build up to some light, psychedelic folk crescendo for a moment before moving to another verse. I really dig the flavors of the harpsichord in this track, which adds some old, somewhat baroque folksy flavors to the soundscape. Oh wow, the track gets into a bit of a flowing jam with the instrumentation as the harpsichord almost sounds like it could be a full-on organ solo in a psychedelic rock track transposed to this folksy arrangement. Oh wow, I really dig the way the organs sound as they come in behind the vocal harmonization for the chorus, giving a nearly ominous folk sound at first that resolves to something of a baroque variety. Great track.
“Better Than Today” gets grooving with some really sweet acoustic guitar chords that almost have a bit of jazz-like quality to them, especially as the drums and bass come in with a sort of easy grooving swing behind the guitar work. Holy smokes, the guitar is super sweet in this track. Oh wow, the song seems to relax into itself as a flute comes in and takes on a jazz-like lead/solo for a moment that’s presented in a folksy style. Oh wow, I really dig the soft vocals in this track. Holy smokes, the motif that’s been present at the end of each song is played with a sort of jazz-piano style at the end of this song. Great track.
“In My Loneliness” gets started with a really sweet acoustic guitar chord progression that seems to continue on with a sort of meandering, rambling attitude. I really dig the layering of Dyble’s vocals on both sides of the soundscape. Holy smokes, it sounds like a clarinet comes into the soundscape, adding a really interesting folksy timbre to the soundscape in the process. Oh wow, the piano motif from the previous track ends this song as well. Great tune.
Oh wow, “Sheena” gets grooving with a sort of folk rock sound between the gently rockin’ drums and upbeat bass line while the acoustic guitar strumming seems to provide a really interesting, jangling echo to the bass guitar. Oh wow, there are some really sweet lines from a violin in this track that almost bring in a sort of sunshine pop quality to the soundscape. I’m kind of reminded of Fairport Convention with the overall presentation of this track thus far. I really the build up of tension in both the vocals and the acoustic guitar right before the chorus. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “The Mutant” starts out with some epic-sounding bluesy folksy acoustic guitar lines that seem to gradually continue to descend with a mysterious sound. Holy smokes, I really dig the piano in this track, which reminds me a fair deal of The Freeborne, which was a psychedelic rock/Bosstown sound band from around 1967. Oh wow, I really dig the flute in this track, which adds a sort of airiness to the soundscape and complements the guitar nicely. The refrain has a really sweet, lighthearted folksiness to it that I really dig. Great track.
Oh wow, “Morning Way” begins with an experimental-sounding, spacey movement from an autoharp, which gradually fades out and soon a simple, repeated acoustic guitar line comes in, as though the group finds some sort of solid ground in space. Oh wow, more layers continue coming in and the song becomes both increasingly sweet and complex. Holy smokes, the autoharp comes back in as well, providing a really interesting, folksy experimental backdrop to Dyble’s vocals, making it sound like the band is playing from amongst the stars while looking outwards towards other stars in the night sky. Holy smokes, a piano comes into the soundscape, and gives even more complexity and momentum to the soundscape as the song gradually comes to a close. Great track.
Holy smokes, “Velvet To Atone” starts off right where the motif at the end of the previous song finished, carrying on with some solemn, sweet piano, which makes the song almost sound as though it was recorded in an old mist-shrouded forest that’s been long-forgotten by mankind, especially as Dyble’s vocals gently carry and reverberate throughout the soundscape, as though from a mysterious unknown source. Super sweet track.
“Luke That Never Was” starts out with a pleasant, droning organ line in a manner that sounds like an epic folktale is coming to a gentle conclusion, especially as Dyble’s sweet vocals enter the soundscape. I really dig the layering in Dyble’s vocals during the chorus, which somehow adds even more sweetness to her vocal performance, especially as McAuley harmonizes from the other side of the of the soundscape with a deeper tone. Holy smokes, the track changes up to a different movement that almost feels more psychedelic in nature as the organs are backed by some jangling acoustic guitar chords and a jangly tambourine that seem to add some ornate qualities to the soundscape. Oh wow, the track returns back to the motif that’s been present throughout the album as the song comes to an end.
“Goodbye Mercy Kelly” gets started with some really sweet, light, and bright acoustic guitar or perhaps harp chords that remind me a bit of Gene Clark. Oh wow, one of the acoustic guitars has a really sweet jangliness to it. Both this song and the next song are bonus tracks from a 2008 reissue of the album from Esoteric Records. Oh wow, it sounds like there’s an electric guitar in this track that adds a sort of a somewhat psychedelic, somewhat melty echo to the acoustic guitar and harp that I’m really digging. Super sweet track.
“Here Comes the Rain” gets started with some light acoustic guitar chords that provide a jangly, lighthearted nature to the soundscape, and is soon accompanied by a sturdy drum beat, grooving bass line, melting electric guitar, swirling organs, and some super sweet piano that all come together for a really groovy, symphonic, psychedelia-inflected sort of folk rock sound that I’m really digging. Oh wow, I really dig the staccato’d electric guitar and sweet drum fills as the song comes to an end. Great track, and a great way to finish the album.
Wow, this album is pretty sweet. There’s a really lighthearted folksy feeling present throughout the listening experience that seems to wander into folk rock, bluesy, and psychedelic folk territories at times, while keeping me enamored throughout with sweet vocals from both Dyble and McAuley, and light, folksy acoustic guitar work that provided a feeling of movement throughout the listening experience. I really dig the motif that’s present at the end of each song (save for the final two songs, which are bonus tracks from a reissue of the album), which reminded me a lot of C.A. Quintet’s dark psychedelic rock album, Trip Thru Hell (1968). There were also times that I was thinking of folk/folk rock bands like Fairport Convention, as well as psychedelic rock bands like The Freeborne as the songs album seemed to meander through different styles while resolving to a sweet sort of British folk style. If you’re into sweet folk arrangements that wander into psychedelic and folk rock-related territories, then you might want to consider checking out this album. If you do decide to give this album a listen, then I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least. as much as I did.