Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Smiling Men With Bad Reputations
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Digitally Remastered Reissue of One Half of the Duo that Essentially was the Incredible String Band. This Solo Album Includes Two Rare Bonus Tracks. Features Pete Townshend, John Cale, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and Keith M... more »
Digitally Remastered Reissue of One Half of the Duo that Essentially was the Incredible String Band. This Solo Album Includes Two Rare Bonus Tracks. Features Pete Townshend, John Cale, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood and Keith Moon Amongst Many Others.
LOTS TO SMILE ABOUT
Kerry Leimer | Makawao, Hawaii United States | 10/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mike Heron's fist solo album should have been one of those immediately and widely successful records. Instead, it became something of a curiosity, not widely known or really appreciated.
Yet, the album features an amazing and eclectic line up that ranges from John Cale to Jimmy Page to most of the Who, some Fairport Convention, parts of Traffic and even Dr. Strangely Strange. As a result, the music is equally eclectic. It features some straight-ahead rock n' roll, delicate acoustic pieces, early synthesizer work, Indian and folk styles. And of course, the album offers "Feast of Stephen". It's one of those wonderful songs that comes along only now and then and it has a quality not unlike the sing-along songs of the period, The Beatles' "Hey Jude" and maybe even T. Rex's "Hot Love". But better, thanks in part to John Cale's lovely vocal arrangement and viola work. I liked it so much that a few years ago I managed to find a vinyl copy -- again -- and had it transferred to CD. Needless to say, the remastered version offered here sounds a whole lot better.
Perhaps "Smiling Men" was too eclectic for its time. If you compare it to some of Heron's later exploits in rock, the samples of that genre which appear on "Smiling Men" certainly stand out as the better work, again in part due to "guest" musicians like Jimmy Page and Pete Townsend. And in addition to that, there is a particular strength in the way in which Heron unites all these influences and styles -- something that The Incredible String Band was exceptionally adept at accomplishing -- that continues to stand out some thirty years later. He never really managed anything as wide-ranging, idiosyncratic and surprisingly wonderful as this particular album again. The bonus tracks don't hurt either -- we finally get to hear Mike Heron and Jimmy Page. And if that combination sounds unusual to you, then you have some idea of what's in store for you. All of which is a long way of saying that "Smiling Men" is truly a one of a kind record. With the exception of John Cale's "Academy in Peril" I can't think of anything else quite like this, or quite this good, in this specific way."
Mike Heron, with a cast of thousands
M. Bromberg | Atlanta, GA United States | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, maybe that's overstating the case -- but the line-up is pretty stellar for 1971: Pete Townshend, John Cale, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ronnie Lane, Keith Moon, Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg, and many others from the British folk and rock scenes, all on one album, creating a heady mix of music during a once-in-a-lifetime session. It's a wonderful blend of the Incredible String Band's psychedelic-styled, mystical ballads and Who-powered guitar riffs that remains under-appreciated more than thirty years on. Perhaps only early Traffic achieved something this audacious (Winwood even makes an instrumental appearance, completing the circle). This import reissue is a little pricy, but does contain some bonus tracks. If you're a fan of British folk rock and its obscurities, this album will come as a real surprise."
Overlooked masterpiece of folk-pop
Craig Weatherby | Waltham, MA USA | 11/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This one-off masterpiece was utterly overlooked upon its release. Full of great songs--no clunkers--and guest performances, SMWBR stands with (and even above) work by Incredible String Band and any of ther fellow Brit-folk-rockers like Richard Thompson (who guests on this album), and features my favorite "Who-like" song of the post-Who's Next era--Warm Heart pastry, featuring Townshend and Moon."