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’70s folk ob­scu­ri­ties, lov­ingly re­stored to view

Un­til the reis­sue of his pri­vate-press al­bums last decade, English song­writer and gui­tarist Mick Stevens would have gone down as a foot­note in oth­ers’ ca­reers: dur­ing the 1970s, Stevens toured with, among oth­ers, Richard And Linda Thomp­son, The Al­bion Band, June Ta­bor and Bert Jan­sch. A gifted gui­tarist with a fluid, el­e­men­tal touch on the in­stru­ment, the even­tual un­earthing of his four solo al­bums – See The Morn­ing (1972), No Sav­age Word (1975), The River (1977) and The English­man (1979) re­vealed a com­plex writer and lyri­cist whose ma­te­rial was of a piece with the loner folk of the era. Re­leased in mi­nus­cule edi­tions on record­ing stu­dio house la­bels Deroy and Space­ward, it’s no sur­prise they dis­ap­peared on re­lease. But with Sweet

Dreams, a com­pi­la­tion that bumps the ex­tra record­ings from Branco’s See The

Morn­ing/No Sav­age Word dou­ble-CD onto vinyl, we get Stevens de­nuded: from the stream of six-string sad­ness on songs like “Myr­ti­o­tissa”, through feath­erlight takes on blues stan­dards “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” and “St James In­fir­mary Blues”, to the rich, drift­ing har­monies of “The Ea­gle And Me”, a song­writer and per­former of grace and flu­ency is re­vealed, a lost voice un­cov­ered.

Ex­tras: None. JON DALE

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