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July 18, 2024

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The Langley Schools Music Project
Innocence And Despair (Bar None/Basta)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

This remarkable-and-then-some disc will surely answer the musical question, "What would a choir of Canadian schoolchildren sound like singing Wings, Bowie, Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac (among many other) songs?"

Now, whether you've ever actually dared pose this quandary to yourself or not, you absolutely deserve to hear the hour-plus of simply sweet sounds herein, originally vinyl-pressed for distribution to family and friends in mid-Seventies British Columbia but now repackaged by no less an expert as Jersey's own Irwin Chusid for all the world to bask in. Far from being some mere tongue-in-ear-canal novelty though, "Innocence And Despair" presents delicately sparse, often mere acoustic guitar and well-placed piano plonk accompaniment to young voices so beautifully rending treasures the likes of "God Only Knows" and "The Long And Winding Road." Then the Bay City Rollers' "Saturday Night" becomes the football cheer it always deserved to be, Phil Spector's "To Know Him Is To Love Him" is recast as a northwoods campfire sing-along --and WORKS-- and must I tell you the version of "Desperado" herein is actually the all-time definitive reading thereof? It IS!

Sure, things can get somewhat club-fisted during "Space Oddity" and "Band On The Run," but the closing benedictory "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" sends everything home on just the right note. A deceptively ornate masterpiece, this is.

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