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Harvest Time 
Artist: Water Into Wine Band 
Label: Kissing Spell, U.K.
English progressive folk rockers, Water Into Wine Band, are best known for having its 1973 debut album, Hill Climbing Foir Beginners, remixed into relative blandness by the forces that were at Myrrh Records. Apparently the original mix released by Myrrh's U.K. division was deemed too rough for the U.S. market.  

That said, it's easy to understand why WIWB's '76 sequel, Harvest Time saw no domestic release. Though issued in the act's homeland  around the time Brit folkies Parchment and Nutshell were considered marketable Stateside, the compositional ambition and lyrical themes here may have been the factors that have kept it have kept it a horrifically collectible import LP. Until folk rock archivist label Kissing Spell saw fit to bring it into the digital age, that is.

The five tracks on the original LP's first side touches upon earthly matrimony and romance (a "Wedding Song," whicih isn't Noel Paul Stookey's hit, ""Waiting For Another Day," the swing jazz oldie "Mooglow"). A lengthy medley of public domain Brit folk standards and the album's hookiest ditty, "Patience," about how women have more of the titular virtue than men, round out the first half. The diptych of "Patience" and "Moonglow" segues sweetly, the jazzy vocal harmonies in the bridge of the former setting up the tempered swing vibe of the latter. Those with a head for '70s U.K. Christian pop will be pleased by the duet vocals by Judy Mackenizie (whose solo LP's so need to be reissued as well!).

Album's second half is taken up by the title tune. Make that title suite. Multi-part piece poetically envisions the Second Coming (and believers' responsibility in giving Him a bumper crop) fits a minor key rock song structure around a reel, a dirge, classical "systems" music ala' Phillip Glass and other formfitting tangents. It works, it's lovely, it even grooves on occasion, but it-along with songs that aren't even ostensibly about God on the first half-was all probably too seemingly uncommercial for an American Christian market that still arguably lags behind its brethren across the Atlantic in terms of creativity and imagination.

Water Into Wine Band, to my knowledge, never recorded stidio work after this, but they left a splendid legacy with what little they put on tape. Should the double-CD reissue of WIWB's first long player (with both U.K. and U.S. mixes), expect my review to run here.
Jamie Lee Rake   6/4/2005



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