|Miked Heron, not Mike Heron|
But all that aside, when I finally listened to Heron's self-titled first album from 1970, the one they recorded in the field pictured above, I was entranced. The album opens with "Yellow Roses," a track which makes me feel like I had been hiking the National Trails and come upon a gathering of bards. Key to the album is the allowance (by producer Peter Eden) to include natural sounds from the British countryside: birds, insects, an airplane, the casual banter of band mates between songs. I just wanted to sit with them and listen, which is why Heron became my go-to walking and sitting in parks album.
|Parklife. View from my favorite sitting spot.|
But after listening to the album for weeks, I realized that I still didn't even know who I was listening to. The Discogs listing credits G.T. (Gerald) Moore as "Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals," Roy Apps as "Guitar, Piano, Vocals," Stephen Jones as "Piano, Organ, Electric Piano, Accordion, Vocals," and Tony Pook as "Vocals." And clearly there were several songwriters in the band as there were different people credited with each song. But still on each individual song I didn't knew who was singing. They all had very similar voices. I also realized I didn't even know who was who in the cover photo.
|Took me awhile to figure out that left to right is Moore, Apps, Pook, and Jones.|
I started to assume that the lead singer for each song (and to be clear, multiple singers chime in on most songs) was the author listed for the song. But did that really make sense? And as I listened, other questions came up as well -- such as when I finally discerned that there were female voices on "Lord and Master." And when I discovered Heron's third album from 1983, I felt like the lead vocalist on two of my favorite songs "Open up the Road" and "Traveller's Song" seemed like a completely different singer than had appeared on Heron. Eventually I realized in order to really figure out the puzzle I would have to seek help online.
And eventually help arrived, in the form of an e-mail from G.T. Moore!
(to be continued)