Wayback Machine set to 1973; Its roughly about the time “Acid Rock” was being eclipsed in popularity by “Prog Rock,” and in Ireland, the universally-considered “Fathers of Celtic Rock,” Horslips, and their monster hit, “Dearg Doom,” are a familiar sound.
However, Horslips were not the only game in town. Another band just happens to ALSO be mixing fiddle and guitar, reels and rock, traditional and contemporary. Far less well-known, the band, Mushroom, out of Dublin, release their one and only offering, “Early One Morning.”
Most easily compared to Horslips through its use of fiddle, bodhran, and tin whistle alongside its 1970s rock kit of guitar, drums, bass, and organ, (oh, and don’t forget that moog!), Mushroom also blended early seventies rock with traditional Irish songs and tunes.
Among Mushroom’s more straightforward, (and frequently folksy,) compositions, ‘Early One Morning’shows the band integrating reels and hornpipes right into the songs, with a nice “acid-tinged” guitar, slurring all 70s-prog-like, right among the fiddle and surprisingly-Celtic sounding keyboards.
‘The Liathdan’ is a great example of this. This second track is where the band initially tips its hand on what’s to come. The keyboard takes the first run at the reel that this song sits on, followed by some nicely belted out vocals and an honest-to-goodness guitar solo.
The same treatment and zeal is applied to the instrumental tracks ‘Johnny The Jumper,’ ‘The Potter’s Wheel,’ and ‘Drowsey Maggie,’ as well as the blistering CD closer ‘The King of Alba,’ and of course, the band’s big hit, ‘The Devil Among the Tailors,’ which uses the reel, ‘The Devil’s Dream,‘ as its main vehicle. Brilliant tune!
Fortunately, all eleven tracks on this not-so-hard-to-find-as-to-justify-its-obscurity release can be sampled at Amazon.com so you can hear for yourself what you’ve been missing.
I firmly believe that this CD would be embraced by any fans of Irish music, early seventies rock, (of the prog/psych/acid varieties,) and celtic rock of any age. In fact, ‘Early One Morning‘ finds itself so frequently seeing time on my regular playlist rotation that I am somewhat embarrassed that I haven’t thought to do a write-up on it sooner. Recognition for the band, Mushroom, and this, their only release, is long overdue.
Incidentally, I see that ‘Early One Morning‘ currently has three bonus tracks, (‘The King of Ireland’s Daughter,’ ‘Kings and Queens‘, and ‘Met a Friend,’) available at Last.fm, (http://www.last.fm/music/Mushroom/Early+One+Morning)
I may have to do me some downloading!
Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel