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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Captain Marryat, Scotland *** REISSUED ***

**** CD REISSUED by Shadoks, Nov. 2009 ****

Captain Marryat - s/t. 1974 Thor.

Probably the most celebrated album of the last few years, at least from a rare collectors viewpoint. Out of the blue, Captain Marryat's sole album found its way onto ebay, and was fetching sums over $3,000. And then another one showed up and went for a similar price. The rumor mill went wild. Some said it was a ponzi scheme, hyped up nonsense. Others said they were fakes, made in Eastern Europe by a newer group who pressed only a handful of albums, to meet demand. There's precedent for such skepticism, such as when the ridiculous "Psi-Fi" albums surfaced (Pyramid, Galactic Explorers, etc...). But legitimate collectors were convinced it was real. It just seemed unreal an album like this could remain so unknown, as late as 2009. But from all accounts, as more information found its way to the fore, that it is indeed a legitimate album.

The mad scramble began for musicologists and music researchers (like me) on where can we hear a copy. I wasn't going to blow 3 grand on it, but certainly someone could find a CD-R of it? Well the problem was solved in a different way. We now have a legit LP reissue from Shadoks for all to hear. And they usually follow up with a CD reissue a couple of years later (pressed in the US even), so we should be set eventually. But since it's still not on CD, it goes in this list.

So is it worthy of the hype and price? Of course not. Is it good? Absolutely. In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality of the album. I really thought it would be average at best. But not so. It screams the era in which it was released. It's naive, it's honest, it's well played, and it's memorable. Nice melodies, and surprisingly strong vocals. Long sections are set aside for guitar (nice fuzz tone) and organ jams. And they are also very well executed.

It's somewhat comforting to know there might still be an unknown treasure out there to unearth.

Priority: 2

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