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Outlander

Meic Stevens

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Album Review

Meic Stevens' debut LP (preceded by a 45 and several EPs in the 1960s) was period folk-rock that inspired unfavorable comparisons to numerous much bigger names without coalescing into a style of its own. On several tracks, he sounds like a Welsh Bob Dylan. "Left Over Time" sounds far too close to Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" to inspire admiration; "Oxblood," on the other hand, is a throwback to the early-'60s pre-rock Dylan or perhaps even Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Woody Guthrie. On the slightly more psychedelic-influenced front, there are some similarities to Donovan and (more distantly) Syd Barrett, but without the magical aura that hovered over the best of those two figures' work. Trance-like raga-rock elements make themselves heard on "The Sailor and Madonna" and "Yorric," with their sitar, tabla, and zigzagging flute. "Midnight Comes" changes paths yet again and sounds pretty close to early Simon & Garfunkel. It's an erratic album, and one without outstanding songs, in spite of Stevens' acceptably world-weary, folk vocals. [The 2001 CD bootleg reissue on Ye Old Musique adds two songs from a 1966 demo as bonus tracks. A better alternative, though, is the legit CD reissue on Rhino Handmade, which adds eight previously unreleased outtakes from the Outlander sessions and the non-LP 1970 single "Blue Sleep" as well as presents "Rowena" in a longer, full version and supplies lengthy, historical liner notes.]

Biography

Born: 1942 in Solva, North Pembrokeshire, Wales

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Meic Stevens is a legend in his native Wales, even as he remains somewhat unknown outside of that country, due chiefly to his insistence on singing in his native Welsh language. The psych-folk singer and guitarist is often referred to as "the '60s Welsh psych-Dylan" and compared favorably with fellow astral-travelers like Syd Barrett. He was discovered by Jimmy Saville, a DJ who saw Stevens (from Solva, on the West Coast of Wales) performing at the Manchester University folk club in 1965. This discovery...
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Outlander, Meic Stevens
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