Wisdom Twins Records [Released 2012/2013]
Despite having a name that sounds like an engineering firm making flanges for the automotive industry, Dodson & Fogg are essentially one person.
His name is Chris Wade – a multi-instrumentalist par excellence who has put together these three albums in the space of eighteen months, a feat of some note as there is very little sign of any fall-off in quality – in fact, truth be told, the standard of the songwriting actually improves with each album.
If late sixties / early seventies folk and psychedelia is what floats your boat then you will find plenty to admire here as much of it sounds like a long lost gem from the era that some producer found at the back of a studio during a clear-out.
D & F’s influences are there for all to hear as the likes of Nick Drake, Donovan and Fairport Convention mingle with ’67 era Pink Floyd, The Doors, Pentangle and even Jethro Tull to produce a melting pot of exceptional music.
A sneaky peek at the list of guest musicians confirms this mélange of loveliness with the talents of Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention), Nik Turner (Hawkwind) and Celia Humphris (Trees) helping to nail credentials to the mast.
As well as all the songwriting, Wade takes on the duties of guitar, bass, keyboards, flute, percussion and bongos (oh yes, even bongos) as well as vocals and he’s made a great job of it.
There are so many elephant traps to fall into when you do everything yourself – quality control and self-indulgence being the most obvious – but these have been sidestepped with aplomb to produce an interesting and cohesive triptych of albums that would bear scrutiny against any of the top albums of the day.
Of the three I would push ‘Derring Do’ to the fore as it sounds, to these ears anyway, the most interesting and diverse, but this is not to do down the other two which are exceptional by anybody’s standards.
It is obvious, particularly from the promo packaging, that Dodson & Fogg are something of a cottage industry with friends and family lending a hand (nothing wrong with that – Kate Rusby does it all the time), but it would be interesting to gather together the finest moments of these three albums in a top studio with an empathic producer to see what happened.
Until then – enjoy these for the little gems they are.
Review by Alan Jones
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