A colourful, magical, cosmic English music conjured in rural Oxfordshire by an exceptional trio whose multi-faceted creative capabilities and personalities are alchemised into a majestic whole.
Danny Wilson (Danny And The Champions Of The World, Grand Drive), and Robin Bennett (The Dreaming Spires, Saint Etienne) join forces with Tony Poole (Starry Eyed and Laughing), producer extraordinaire, and king of the electric twelve-string Rickenbacker. Combining their voices, guitars, and songwriting to marvellous effect in a collection of songs that began as uplifting acoustic music and just grew into something far more wide-ranging and transcendent, providing balm, inspiration and succour for these troubled times.
In past times we would have called Bennett Wilson Poole a supergroup. We could do still. Certainly the roots of this collaboration lie back in those very different days, back in the 70s with a man called Omaha. Peter O’Brien, editor of the legendary fanzine Omaha Rainbow, was a great friend and supporter of Starry Eyed And Laughing, the English Byrds, whose precocious young guitarist, one Tony Poole, could dazzle on the twelve-string Ricky.
Over a handful of weekends the three would gather at Tony’s home studio outside Brize Norton. All the basic tracks were put down live with three mics and three guitars; originally envisaged as a kind of Crosby, Stills and Nash acoustic album, the songs seemed to cry out for more, so it became, in Tony’s words a “combination/gestalt of a lot of the musics we love and are inspired by”.
Throughout the three voices meld together in a wonderful way, and there’s a sublime richness of correspondence, echoes of harmony, and mirrored sounds. The opener ‘Soon Enough’ exemplifies this. It’s a refugee from a “bleak” solo album Robin has planned but the rousing start suggests something much brighter. The trio share the vocals, each taking a verse – a pattern we’ll meet regularly – and the song’s zen outlook (“Life is a mystery train, never know when it’s arrived. The journey is all we have to let us know we’re alive”) is complemented by compelling guitar embellishments and magical interludings of backwards Rickenbacker.
The album is testament to Tony’s particular production and musical talents. It gives of itself only gradually, continually revealing more layers and aspects that even its participants didn’t really grasp initially. Tony would grab the initial energy, and then take the magnifying glass out and get to work at what he wants to do. It still sounds fresh even though he’s crafted it over for many hours; which is the trick, of course, that so many strive for and so few achieve.
All three speak in the rosiest of terms of the collaboration and their excitement at its imminent release is palpable. That it will arrive in the season of renewal and rebirth seems entirely appropriate; “Out of all the records I’ve made, it’s the one that, on the point of release, I still really, really love as much as I did at the moment we finished it.”
Bennett Wilson Poole, the record, is officially released in April 2018, just in time for the festival!