Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Fuchsia - Fuchsia, Mahagonny & Other Gems

(Review from

This archive album is of a high interest if you enjoyed the sole "Fuchsia" album.

The first three tracks are demos that were recorded for their second album (they were looking for another label) and if the sound quality is acceptable for an archives album, they certainly have a finished songwriting feel and are closely related to the debut album, with the same line-up for the first two of them, the third being a pre-debut acetate. All three tracks still have that upfront string section reminiscent of pre-classical music and the very early ELO feel. Even if "Ragtime Brahms" might indicate a much later period, we are talking of folk in the popular tradition here. But unfortunately Fuchsia was not able to record again and folded.

The group saw a second incarnation in 1975 under the name Mahagonny, but in a fairly different line-up (only leader Durant and drummer Gregory are left) and slightly different instrumentation (added a keyboard), but spiritually this session was very close to the Fuchsia realm. Those five tracks make-up a small opera or conceptual suite based on the "Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny" (a bit in the style of an updated "S. F. Sorrow" from "Pretty Things") and the suite is rather a happy and funny affair even if the events in the storyline are not always so. Again the spirit is very folkish and sounds between "Eleanor Rigby", early-ELO and somehow a bit like Queen also. These tracks actually did not get an issue at its time and remained dormant for over 30 years.

The next two tracks are pre-debut album, back in the college/university days, where Durant was mostly playing with his buddy Robert Chudley (they were also playing with future Henry Cow’s Chris Cutler at the time) and although not recorded under or attributed to the Fuchsia banner, these two tracks (with the original trio of Durant, Day and Gregory is present) are also very worthy, even if the late-60’s feeling is present on these two but they are also strongly related to the group. "Mary Used To.." is a hilarious piece.

This release is almost (if not more) as essential as the only official album. This obscure group deserved much better back then and even today.

Line-up :
- Tony Durant / guitars, lead vocals
- Michael Day / bass
- Michael Gregory / drums, percussion
- Janet Rogers / violin)
- Madeleine Bland / cello
- Vanessa Hall-Smith / viola
- Jan Pulsford / vocals
- Nic Pallett / vocals
- Tony Durant / guitar
- Robin Langridge / keyboards
- Keith Grant-Evans / bass
- Michael Gregory / drums
- Angela Pulsford / violin
- Philida Ahearn / cello
Robert Chudley:
- Bob Chudley / vocals, guitar
- Tony Durant / backing vocals, guitar
- Michael Day / bass
- Michael Gregory / drums
- Andrew Wilson / keyboards
The Golden Medallion:
- John Tams / vocals, accordion
- Tony Durant / acoustic guitar
- Pete Bullock / piano
- Michael Gregory / percussion

Track List :
01. The Band - 3:21
02. Ragtime Brahms - 5:02
03. Ring Of Red Roses - 4:02
04. Prologue - 5:43
05. Pirate Jenny - 3:44
06. Mr Munch Interminable Lunch - 5:26
07. Drunken Meanderings - 4:22
08. Behind Innocent Eyes - 3:57
09. Absent Friends - 4:36
10. Mary Used to Play the Piano - 2:15
11. I'll Remember Her Face - 2:32

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this....a great companion to their album.


psychelatte said...

a rare and wonderful find for Fuchsia fans!!

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot!