Various Artists "Shifting Sands: 20 Treasures From the Heyday of Underground Folk"
This collection of “20 Treasures from the Heyday of Underground Folk” isn’t much to write home about. The time period we’re talking about spans the late 60s to early 70s, an era that has already produced many “lost folk masterpiece” albums by now. It seems any marginal musician who put out an unpublicized album featuring an acoustic guitar is included. So we’ve got Dylanesque country rock, blues rock, chamber folk, Gary Higgins-ish lazy acid folk, and some Jethro Tull/Moody Blues aping dregs. Lyrics offer more continuity and zeitgeist; unfortunately it’s a lot of hackneyed pastoral themes and tiresome hippyspeak.
I have a theory that every “lost psych folk” masterpiece album has one really great song. (See: “Thicker Than a Smokey”, “Chimacum Rain”, “Little Eyes.”) The standout here is an artist named Roger Rodier, whose “My Spirit’s Calling” is a moody, wandering, proto-Espers beauty from 1972. In addition to Rodier, there are some very nice tunes from artists like Cob, Jaki Whitren, Loudest Whisper, Mark Fey, and Oriental Sunshine that I am happy to have heard. Unfortunately, the comp as a whole is very much a mixed bag. 5/10 -- Mike Pursley (11 August, 2010)