Band members               Related acts

- Derek Allenby -- mandolin, harmonica, pipes, harmonium,

- Hadrian Welham -- guitar, harmonica, pipes, cello,

  harpsichord, harmonium, percussion, mandolin
- Martin Welham -- guitar, keyboards, pipes, percussion 


- none known





Genre: folk

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Forest

Company: Harvest

Catalog: SKAO-419

Year: 1969

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: US pressing; gatefold sleeve; cut out hole top right corner; 'WMCJ' top right corner (not shown in picture)

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5189

Price: $150.00

Cost: $66.00


Forest was one of those obscure English acts that somehow managed to straddle the demarcation line between Fairport Convention-styled folk and outright psychedelia.  Unlike Fairport, they didn't have an interest in reviving English folk music, rather just seemed to enjoy working in a pastoral, acoustic environment.  Lots of folks compared them to Dr Strangely Strange or The Incredible String Band and while they share the same placid, late-1960s hippy mantra, in my book Forest would kick ISB's collective butt every time.  I'll also readily admit that their two albums are an acquired taste. Their catalog is occasionally quite dark, but with some effort they've proven to be well worth the investment of time, energy and cash.  Not a surprise to the few of you familiar with the band, but both of their albums are rare and highly prized among collectors ...

Hailing from the Lancolnshire district, multi-instrumentalists Derek Allenby and brothers Hadrian and Martin Welham started out performing under the catchy name 'The Foresters of Walesky'. Relocating to Birmingham they wisely opted to shorten their name to 'Forest' and subsequently found a benefactor/proponent in the form of BBC DJ John Peel. With support from Peel the trio were signed by Harvest Records, debuting with an instantly obscure 1969 single 'Searching for Shadows' b/w 'Mirror of Life' (Harvest catalog number 5007). 


Renown for it's willingness to sign and support obscure acts, Harvest came through with flying colors.  Overlooking the instant commercial death of their debut single, the label wasted no time in financing an album. Co-produced by Andrew Hill and the band, 1969's "Forest" was simply one bizarre collection. Showcasing twelve group penned originals, all acoustic material such as 'Bad Penny', 'Lovemaker's Ways' and 'While You Were Gone' was firmly in the folk camp, but the combination of nifty melodies, quirky arrangements and intricate harmonies made for an album that was wholly original. Can you picture the Fairport or Steeleye Span crowd taking on a track like 'Do You Want Some Smoke?' ... Interestingly, the trio were also capable of penning relatively straightforward commercial material.  It probably sounds kind of strange, but with slightly different arrangements and some electric guitar and keyboards, tracks like 'Sylvie (We'd Better Not Pretend)' and 'A Fantasy You' would have could have generated strong commercial recognition.  'Course that might have undermined some of their uniqueness ...  Unfortunately English sales proved disappointing; the collection doing even less in the States. (For anyone interested, John Peel contributed the weird liner notes.)

"Forest" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Bad Penny   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
2.) A Glade Somewhere   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
3.) Lovemaker's Ways   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
4.) While You Were Gone   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
5.) Sylvie (We'd Better Not Pretend)   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
6.) A Fantasy You   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 

(side 2)

1.) Fading Light   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
2.) Do You Want Some Smoke?   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
3.) Don't Want To Go   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
4.) Nothing Else Will Matter   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
5.) Mirror of Love   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 
6.) Rain Is On My Balcony   (Derek Allenby - Hadrian Welham - Martin Welham) - 


Allenby apparently kept active in music, performing with the band Sounternwood.  To a lesser extent Martin Welham also kept his hand in music, reappearing under the name 'The Story' with his son Tom on an album shared with the Santa Cruz California band Whysp "The Dawn Is Crowned" (Good Village catalog number GVR-001).





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