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  line up 1 (1971)

Annie the Hat (aka Annie Williams) -- vocals, bass, balalaika
- Jim Cuomo -- vocals, domra , soprano recorder, sax, domra 

- Elliott Delman -- guitar , vocals 

- Daniel Hanks -- lyrics
- Rick Mansfield -- flute, alto flute, laika, keyboards, spoons,


- Sandy Spencer -- cello, vocals 
- Tobia Taylor -- vocals, balalaika, zither, soprano recorder  


  line up 1 (1971-72)

Annie the Hat (aka Annie Williams) -- vocals, bass, balalaika 
- Jim Cuomo -- vocals, domra , soprano recorder, sax, domra

- Elliott Delman -- guitar , vocals 

- Rick Mansfield -- flute, alto flute, laika, keyboards, spoons,



  supporting musicians: (1972)

- Daniel Hanks -- lyrics

- Sandy Spencer -- cello, vocals 




- Francoise Beranger and Mormos

- Cuomo (Jim Cuomo)

- Elliott Delman (solo efforts)

- Rick Mansfield (solo efforts)

- The Spoils of War (James Cuomo and Annie Hat)

- Jack Treese 





Genre: folk

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Great Wall of China

Company: CBS

Catalog: S 64430

Year: 1971

Country/State: Urbana, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: French pressing; original lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5160

Price: $300.00


This is one of those albums that occasionally shows up on big time dealer lists with psych, or acid-folk labels and a hefty asking price (a couple of European dealers have $400 asking prices on their copies).  Ignoring the fact the term 'acid folk' is largely meaningless, I've seen a couple of reviews comparing these guys to a host of other acts including Comus, Doctor Strangely Strange, early Fairport Convention, and The International Sting Band.  I'll readily admit to liking ISB so that set a pretty high standard for comparison and when I finally stumbled across a cheap copy of their debut I ended up buying it of curiosity more than anything.  


Given most of the band members were American, but their debut album was only released in France, I've tried to piece together this band's somewhat convoluted history.  As far as I can tell singer/ multi-instrumentalist James Cuomo got his musical start while attending the University of Illinois, Urbana in the late 1960s.  While at Urbana he formed The Spoils of War which recorded an album's worth of experimental/electronic material, only to have it shelved (that album and a follow-up odds and ends compilation ("The Spoils of War II") were finally released by the German Shadoks label in the late-1990s).  


With The Spoils of War coming to an end Cuomo moved on to his next project as a member of a New York-based theater group.  While performing "La Mama" with the group in Paris, Cuomo, cello player Sandy Spencer, and singer/multi-instrumentalist Tobia Taylor decided to quit the touring company and stay in France.  They quickly recruited former Spoils of War vocalist Annie Williams, multi-instrumentalist Rick Mansfield, and old University of Illinois friend/guitarist Elliott Delman.  For his part, just weeks shy of getting his Masters Degree in Spanish Literature, Delman suddenly found himself recording an album with Cuomo and company in the band Mormos.


So what did 1971's "Great Wall of China" really sound like?   Well, anyone expecting to hear Spoils of War-styled electronic experimentation was probably surprised to hear this strange, but endearing hybrid of folk, pastoral, and experimental moves.  Recorded in Paris with Cuomo co-producing with Gilles Bleiveis, the ISB comparison had some merit, though it wasn't 100% correct.  Like ISB, the album featured a largely acoustic sound with a somewhat dated hippy-dippy sound, though at least to my ears Cuomo's lyrics were far more interesting than ISB's catalog (check out the title track, or re-recorded Spoils of War track 'Now is Made in America').  Sticking with the ISB comparison, Cuomo certainly had a better voice than ISB's Mike Heron, or Robin Williamson and Annie Hat and Tobia Taylor were both better singers than ISB's Likky McKechnie, or Rose Simpson.  Hat was particularly impressive, her deep voice recalling an Americanized Sandy Denny on tracks like 'Cap and Bell'.  While nothing here was what you'd call top-40 commercial, several songs were built on strong melodies, or featured performances that were eclectic, but still quite memorable (check out Spencer's cello solo on 'Walk In, Walk Out').  Highlights included the title track, guitarist Delman's 'Jack of Hearts', the pounding !!! 'Walk In, Walk Out' and the closing ballad 'St Ives'.  Mind you the album wasn't perfect.  The group's William Shakespeare adaptation was an acquired taste, while the cat-sucking-on-a-helium-balloon performance on 'The Crimson Uniform' was irritating and somewhat scary.  Still, the album had an offbeat charm which left you wondering what these expatriates were thinking when they recorded it  ...  sure we'll become major stars singing folk music to a French audience ...   The funny thing is they almost pulled it off !


"The Great Wall of China" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Womanbud Deborah   (James Cuomo - Tobia Taylor) - 0:58
2.) Great Wall of China   (James Cuomo - Tobia Taylor) - 4:47
3.) Forever Seventh Loved Time   (Kathi Bennett - James Cuomo) - 1:00
4.) Now is Made in America   (Debril Brandybrook - James Cuomo) - 4:25
5.) The Crimson Uniform   (James Cuomo) - 1:21
6.) Poughkeepsie   (James Cuomo) - 1:52
7.) Smelling Like A Rose   (James Cuomo) - 2:30

8.) Victoria Falls   (James Cuomo) - 0:43


(side 2)
1.) Jack of Hearts   (Wayne Heuring - Elliott Delman) - 1:21
2.) O Mistress Mine   (William Shakespeare - James Cuomo) - 2:08
3.) Cap and Bell   (W.B. Yeats - James Cuomo) - 3:10
4.) Walk In, Walk Out   (Michael Hanks - James Cuomo) - 3:23
5.) My Grandma Rocks   (Michael Hanks - James Cuomo) - 4:08
6.) St Ives   (James Cuomo - Tobia Taylor) - 3:09


Through the magic of the internet I tracked down Elliott Delman (he has a nice website at:

He was kind enough to write back with a couple of memories and updates on the other band members.


Hi, Scott. Thanks so much for writing. You say you stumbled across "Great Wall." Did you ever stumble across our band when we were in Europe? It was an experience that has informed much of my musical self. It was my first professional foray into that world, and I loved how eclectic, unafraid, weird, normal, freeing those two years were. And with Paris as a backdrop! Yes, I own the CD's and occasionally listen to them and smile as the music takes me back to the very early 70's when we were all just pups. I stay in touch with most of the pups. Lost touch with Tobia and don't email much with Sandy the cellist, but Jim, Ernie, Annie and I are still close. After Mormos Annie, Ernie and I joined a country rock commune band on a farm in gorgeous southwest Wisconsin (Sky Farmer). Spoiled by the musicianship of Mormos, but in love with the land, I kept quitting and rejoining the band. We then all moved to Chicago and Annie and I played in a cabaret-style trio with Rokko Jans (who has scored a number of Mamet films). Very satisfying. Ernie moved to the Bay area, Jim stayed in Paris, Annie married a writer from Saturday Night Live and moved to New York where she currently lives. I stayed in Chicago and accompanied Bonnie Koloc the folk singer, and began writing commercially once my kids were born and rolling in at 4 AM after a gig was no longer appropriate. 


Today the band is spread all over the globe, but we always manage to pop in for a visit whenever our travels take us to a city where another Mormo dwells. (I went to Paris in 2000 and Jim and I performed some Mormos tunes in a club he frequents. And on and on...)


Elliott Delman

February 2007






Genre: folk

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Magic Spell of Mother's Wrath

Company: CBS

Catalog: S 64979

Year: 1972

Country/State: Urbana, Illinois

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: French pressing; thin cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6333

Price: $350.00


So the first Mormos LP is tough to find, but their sophomore release - 1972's "The Magic Spell of Mother's Wrath" is big time obscure ...  I've seen two copies in thirty years of collecting.   If you liked the debut's blend of European folk influences, then there was no reason to doubt the second set was going to be up your aural alley.  At least to my ears musically the album sounded very much like the debut, which meant it was full of dreamy, occasionally acid-tinged numbers that ranged from deeply sincere, to outright goofy.  That's not to imply this was a lark.   I'm pretty sure that James Cuomo and company were serious in all of their efforts, but the album's very sense of self-importance was enough to make you break down and giggle from time to time.  There were also a couple of minor differences from the debut.   Lyricist Daniel Hanks and cello player Sandy Spencer were seemingly no longer full time members, though both played throughout the album.  The other notably changed came via the inclusion of some jazzy moves - check out the great sax solo on the opener 'Homeside' and the centerpiece composition 'Rit Yellow'.   I won't tell you this one appealed to me as much as the debut, due in part to the fact it didn't sound as together.  Tracks like 'October Song' and 'Doves are White' came across as little more than song fragments - sounding almost as if the band hadn't been given sufficient time to come up with coherent set of material for the LP.   Still, the album was quirky enough to warrant checking out and Williams had a fantastic voice, even if it was frequently wasted on the album.


"The Magic of Mother's Wrath" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Homeside  (Daniel Hanks - Ernest Mansfield) - 5:32   rating: **** stars

Taken at face value 'Homeside' would seem to be about a child's fear of swimming lessons.  I'm guessing there was a deeper message buried in the song, but who knows.  The track started out as a bouncy, recorder and piano propelled folk tune before abruptly morphing into a stark ballad showcasing Annie Williams' haunting voice and courtesy of Jim Cuomo, one of the prettiest and most intriguing sax solos I've ever encountered.   

2.) Walk in the Light of the Lord   (Elliott Delman) - 3:02    rating: ** stars

'Walk in the Light of the Lord' offered up a slice of good-timey US folk that would have made the likes of Dan Hicks proud. Williams and Cuomo shared lead vocals and while the song was pleasant, it didn't make all that much of an impression.   I'll admit I smile every time I hear the lyric "I'll love my woman till the day I die because she lets me dip into that honey pie ..." 

3.) October Song  (Daniel Hanks - Elliott Delman) - 0:37      rating: ** stars

'October Song' was nothing more than a song fragment with a truly irritating Williams lead vocal - it almost sounded like she was trying to mimic the sound of chalk on a blackboard ...  Less than a minute long, there wasn't enough here to make much of an impression.  

4.) Plastered in Paris   (Elliott Delman) - 1:21    rating: *** stars

Another short interlude, 'Plastered In Paris' was a frollicking acoustic blues-tinged throwaway tune, but at least displayed a touch of humor.   Another very short selection.

5.) Doves are White   (James Cuomo - Elliott Delman) - 1:50    rating: *** stars

Opening up with a clarinet solo and some pretty Flamenco-styled acoustic guitar, 'Doves Are White' was a bit short in the lyric department - the entire lyric consisted of "pigeons grey, what a sad day ..."   Still, it was quite a mesmerizing number.  

6.) Cows In My Colorbook  (Daniel Hanks - Ernest Mansfield) - 3:53   rating: **** stars

Starting out almost an acapella piece showcasing Williams and Sandy Spencer on backing vocals (there was some piano in the background), 'Cows In My Colorbook' showcased one of the band's prettiest compositions.  To my ears it has always reminded me of something The Roches might have recorded.   


(side 2)
1.) Hush (For Lynn's Picture)   (Daniel Hanks - Jim Cupmo) - 0:34   rating: ** stars

Thirty second of acapella voices, 'Hush (For Lynn's Picture)' was just plain strange.   

2.) No 5 in the Book   (Daneil Hanks - Mormos) - 4:34   rating: **** stars

Stark acoustic guitar and Williams aching voice gave 'No 5 in the Book' a dark, haunting vibe and made it one of the album's standout performances.   

-3.) Rit Yellow   (D. Cuomo - Jim Cuomo) - 9:38   rating: *** stars

Originally recorded by Cuomo and The Spoils of War, 'Rit Yellow' was seemingly intended as the album's center piece.  Starting out with some classical Flamenco guitar, the track proceeded to bounce all over the musical spectrum including stabs at folk, jazz, what almost sounded like Jewish klezmer music. Kicked along by Williams bass, the track was full of woodwind solos that gave it kind of an intriguing airy feel.   Rock fans need not apply ...   

4.) Lady of Night   (Elliott Delman) - 3:18   rating: *** stars

While the song wasn't particularly impressive, 'Lady of Night' served to showcase Williams wonderful voice.  She had the kind of power and class that Grace Slick would have gladly sacrificed Marty Balin to obtain.



I'll admit I'm not sure where they fit in the band's discography and I've never heard them, but there are also two French, non-LP 45s:





1971's 'Magic Stone' b/w 'Hey Gilles' (CBS catalog number 7575)


1972's 'Listen To the Flavor' b/w 'Paranoïd Nightdream' (CBS catalog number 7962)







For anyone interested, Cuomo has a web presence at:



I am (Rick) Ernie Mansfield, one of the members of the Mormos, of which you have some albums listed.  


First of all, thanks for ranking my two songs fairly high, out of the bunch - “Homeside” and “ColorBook” 

4 stars each!!   I am also very impressed that you seem to know so much about the group. Except that Annie Hat is aka Annie Williams and NOT Ann Linquist (Ann Linquist was briefly in SkyFarmer and only on one recorded song.)   If you care to list my website with those albums you can list either:  I have other releases on CD Baby which you can fund here: 


This is all instrumental jazz flute and some Celtic/Spiritual flute as well. 


By the way those two albums did get released - twice.  Once by the Spalax label (Swiss) in CD form around 1998 or so, and then later on Wah Wah Records in 2014 as vinyl LPs. Even the 45s got released as well.  We could have re-released all of these on CD Baby but Jim Cuomo (our fearless leader) was not interested.


Thanks again!

Ernie Mansfileld (February 2018)