Album Remarks & Appraisals:
UK reissue of the 1970 debut album for the British Folk act compared to Fairport Convention. Divided between traditional Folk covers ('The Great Silkie' is the best) and Tobias Boshell originals, Gardens Of Jane Delawney remains a fine album on par with Fairport Convention, Pentangle and Steeleye Span albums of the era. Oddly enough, main songwriter Boshell eventually joined Kiki Dee's band and wrote her biggest hit, the oft-covered 'I've Got The Music In Me'! Nine tracks including 'Nothing Special', 'Lady Margaret' and 'She Moved Through The Fair'. Sony/BMG.
The Wire (p.42) - "Humphris's earnest choirgirl vocals inhabit a shaded arboretum whose formality places it beyond time."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.126) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[They combined] extended psychedelic rock jams and traditional ballads with energy and unbridled enthusiasm."
Mojo (Publisher) (6/01, pp.152-3) - "...Oscillates between burlesque prog noodling and divine acoustic simplicity, often in the same song. When it works...it's worth the asking price alone."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.95) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The title track is as close to perfection as they ever got, with Celia Humphries' dark, magical voice soaring over a lilting harpsichord and picked-string backdrop to sublime effect."
Divided about half-and-half between traditional folk covers ("The Great Silkie" is the best) and Tobias Boshell originals, this is very much in the mainstream of 1970 British folk-rock. But the material is often plain, and the arrangements simply too drawn-out, even bombastic at times. The band takes on Fairport head-to-head on "She Moved Thro' the Fair" (sung by Sandy Denny on Fairport's second LP) and loses. The title track, though, is their best song, an atypically light piece for acoustic guitar and harpsichord that has a beautifully haunting melody. ~ Richie Unterberger