These Trails: Off the Beaten Path

Posted by Kells, August 22, 2011 12:00pm | Post a Comment

I suppose it should go without saying that we here at Amoeba Music thrive on finding hidden gems buried in plain sight, but I'm just gonna go 'head and reiterate said statement, kicking it off with a completely enthused, rustic expression. Oh my lands is the recent reissue of the lost recording/private press These Trails record ever the very boon of my acid folk dreams! Resurfaced, re-pressed and well regarded by the good folks down at Drag City (it seems like I'm always tipping my cap at them, with good reason) this enchanting collection of hallucinatory rambles (circa 1973) is redolent of paradisiacal psychedelia espoused with that patent sundazed acoustic folk sound that forever seems (to my ears anyway) second-nature to native Californian singer-songwriters. However, there is no question that this masterpiece of psych/folk ecstasy could have been conceived anywhere other than its Hawaiian birthplace thus making it a top, if lone, contender for best literal inclusion into one's "deserted island"  fantasy list of music must-haves. The second song on side A, "Our House in Hanalei" being one of the most mana-licious, check it out:

"Our House in Hanalei" - These Trails

With a voice that seems to echo from the same otherworldly well the likes of Melora Creager and Linda Perhacs draw from, Margaret Morgan's melody driven yet free-wheeling vocal style intoxicates as it harmonizes with the smokey vocals of These Trails co-conspirator Patrick Cockett, mixing with their heady, hallucinatory acoustic folk instrumentation - an odd/complex muddling of dulcimer, sitar, tabla, ipu, recorder, electric guitar and then state-of-the-art Arp synth - to spawn a crystal clear yet purple hazy sound-geography that feels all together edge-of-the-map exotic and humbly homespun.

"Garden Botanum" - These Trails

This handsome reissue is presented lovingly, housed in a heavy-weight, printed sleeve and comes complete with lyrics, photo insert and a well-written, juicy back-story explanation concerning this obscure recording which sheds some light on the dusky, nostalgic vibe that permeates the overall sound of the record - a regret-tinged sound that would have made it more of a bummer-days listen if it weren't for the fact that the recording also seems forever soaked with the blissful, raga-rainbow drones of countless noon-day Hawaiian sun showers. An instant classic for many a rare-treasure seeking staff member here at Amoeba Music, this reissue comes very highly recommended by many of us. There's really nothing out there quite like it out there.

"Hello Lou" - These Trails

Relevant Tags

Hawaiian (1), Reissue (31), Psych (18), These Trails (1), Drag City (14), Acid (3), Folk (40)