One of the best albums by any of the ‘second-tier’ folk-rock groups from the ‘60s and ‘70s, Mellow Candle’s Swaddling Songs has everything that should, rightly, have marked it out for success – densely woven, highly articulate ensemble playing; intricate, lush songs; two female vocalists, Alison Williams and Clodagh Simmons, whose voices worked so well together, they seemed like shadow selves. But they were hampered by the usual – management troubles, lack of label support, and on-stage awkwardness. Songs like “Sheep Season,” with its prog-tinged interludes, and the tender “Messenger Birds,” deserved far more, and the album’s subsequent legend is some kind of justice, I guess. Both Williams and Simmons have gone on to make great music since, but Swaddling Songs is singular.
– Jon Dale