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Justyn Rees - How Can I Tell Them (1969?)

The former lead singer of England’s The Peacemakers recorded this excellent solo album shortly after becoming a pilot in North America. Though some of his old band’s beat influences can be found here, How Can I Tell Them is more rooted in a soothing folky ‘60s AM-radio adult-mod pop style, echoing moods such as Scott MacKenzie’s ‘San Francisco’. Justyn’s songs cruise along leisurely with a crisp beat, catchy pop hooks enveloped with delicate string arrangements, accompanied by 12-string or electric guitar and led by his expressive vocal style. All twelve tracks are nice but two of the ballads stand out in particular. ‘The Rain Came Down’ and ‘Behold’ are both incredibly dreamy pieces rich with mellotron-like strings and echoey vocals. The former has a fragile soft-psych feel with phased guitar, while the latter soars with ethereal Moody Blues-ish choral effects. ‘Little Man’ and the ragtime-ish ‘Nothings’ both benefit from fresh banjo accompaniment. ‘Flight 703’ recounts his thrill of piloting out of New York City after being cooped up for two days. And ‘Psalm 8’ receives a welcome re-interpretation from the self-titled Peacemakers lp. Released on a New York label in a gatefold cover with liner notes detailing the circumstances of each song. Justyn’s next album (Down My Road) had more of a smooth orchestrated pop bent. (Ken Scott - Archivist)

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