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Chad and Jeremy | Before and After / Of Cabbages and Kings (Sundazed)
Sundazed continue their C&J reissues with an early and a late offering. The lovely previous 1966 album Distant Shores (reviewed issue 7) still remains the best place to begin to know these two young Brits big in the USA. 'Before and After' is basically English beat music a la Gerry and the Pacemakers. Little Does She Know shakes 'em down a little but otherwise this album will only be of interest to long term C&J fans now surely in their fifties. Those fans will enjoy the clutch of bonus tracks which include two rarities by Chad and his wife Jill. 'Of Cabbages and Kings' is quite a different trip. Clearly the spectre of the Pepper looms large over the duo as it did over most of rock, and boy, nothing held these guys back in exercising the grey matter creatively. The opening cut Rest in Peace is possibly the album's finest moment. The nice tune matches a great Paul Simon moment, the singing matches a great Garfunkel moment and the lyrics (a tombstone artist tells of his life, of his clients who keep on dying) are a witty Beatles moment.Overall the album has, at its best, a kind of S&G 'Bookends' feel but at its worst (for sure Family Way) the album sounds like early S&G trying to be Dylan. Equally uncomfortable is the 'if in doubt include it' orchestration on most tracks but which is taken to absurd lengths on what was the entire second side of the record, the five part Progress Suite, an over-ambitious project which is only partly redeemed by the epilogue. Sitars pop up all over the record and sound as daft as the duo's new-found kaftans look. Indeed a certain pretentious note was struck at the outset when I noticed that on the album front cover C&J had now become Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde. They're artists you know. Six bonus tracks and the usual Sundazed spiffy packaging beef up this odd and uneven quaint period piece.For those of us around in 1967 it is though an easy excursion back to a rather more pleasant time.