Mad Anthony (USA-CA)
The Lost Tapes


4.5
superb

Review

by Sowing STAFF
August 12th, 2023 | 20 replies


Release Date: 08/11/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A gorgeous time machine.

How much music escapes our ears? As an avid critic and consumer of music of all kinds, it’s a thought that’s always dwelling in my mind. We tend to focus on the “big releases” – and with so much music out there that it’d be next to impossible to hear it all – understandably so. Still, it’s an amazing feeling to stumble upon the next gem, and in this particular case, it’s one that has managed to evade the entire world for forty-eight years. This batch of songs was recorded in 1975 by the virtually unknown Mad Anthony; it was supposed to be the folk band’s “big breakthrough” which never materialized, resulting in the group fading into oblivion aside from some demo tapes that remained within the family. Fast-forward to 2023, and Ben Schwab (a musician himself with Drug Dealer, Golden Daze, and Sylvie) has finally released the music of his father’s band.

The way that The Lost Tapes gorgeously crackles is a reminder that well-crafted songs are capable of prevailing through time, even without the benefit of proper production. ‘Harriet Ann’ shines as an immediate standout here, sounding like a highly melodic yet forgotten Crosby, Still, Nash & Young tune being played on a rickety old-fashioned record player, with a few scratches here and there. That’s sort of The Lost Tapes’ whole appeal – the sensation of tapping into that vintage style, only it’s real and not merely feigned for effect. Despite the age of the recordings, acoustic guitars ring out with a pastoral beauty and are occasionally cut with the most breathtaking accents – from the classical piano’s pristine clarity on ‘Rina’ to solemn flutes that swirl throughout ‘Someday.’ The emotional color of the piece evolves throughout as well, whether it’s the pure romance of ‘Harriet Ann’ or ‘Loving You’, the mysterious and haunting refrain of ‘Nobody Knows’, the Simon & Garfunkel-esque storytelling delivery of ‘Take Care of Yourself’, or the breeze-in-your-hair “leaving home” vibes conjured by the winding acoustics of ‘Going Away’. In a succinct thirty minutes, Mad Anthony seems to traverse the entire folk landscape.

The Lost Tapes primarily benefit from the strength of the vocal harmonies and overall songwriting – these aren’t complex tracks, but rather simple ones that effortlessly navigate the pathway from one’s speakers into their long-term memory. That’s the power of great music; even amid its cracks and flaws, it can spellbind us with its pure, organic beauty. Schwab’s decision to release the lost tapes of his father’s band provides us with the rare opportunity to enjoy something that nearly disappeared from the annals of history without leaving a mark. So dim the lights, pour a bottle of your finest wine, and sink into The Lost Tapes. It’s a gorgeous time machine that you won’t regret traveling in.




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user ratings (9)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
August 12th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A quick write-up for a pretty random and opportunistic find. This won't be for everyone - you'll need to be able to fight through imperfections and flawed production. But if vintage, nearly-lost-to-time folk sounds like your bag, then you'll definitely want to hear this.

Scoot
August 12th 2023


21653 Comments


how lo fi are we talking

like all hail west texas or black metal in a port a potty

Sowing
Moderator
August 12th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Honestly, it's not that bad. But it does sound like it was recorded 48 years ago and never properly produced.



Because I'm a gem hunter, I'm not bothered by it. If anything, the rickety tattered feel makes me like it even more.

CaliggyJack
August 13th 2023


9971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh shit I need to spin this. I love stuff like this.

CaliggyJack
August 13th 2023


9971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finished listening to it and Harriet Ann is the best Track on here

Sowing
Moderator
August 13th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, they all have a ton of charm but that was my favorite as well.

CaliggyJack
August 13th 2023


9971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Last two tracks were meh for me. Would've given it a 4.5 if not for those final 2 songs.

Sowing
Moderator
August 13th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I still like them, but I agree that this starts a little bit stronger than it finishes.

CrisStyles
August 14th 2023


805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty beautiful

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2023


5457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice find, Sowing. On first listen, a couple songs which feel like they could've been classics in their era, but every tune is at least pretty good.

Sowing
Moderator
August 15th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad you liked it, CrisStyles!



I feel the same way as you Sunny. A lot of this sounds like it could have been important to the 70s American folk canon.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2023


5457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Harriet Ann is so good

Sowing
Moderator
August 15th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah that seems to be the consensus favorite so far, including me

TheTripP
August 15th 2023


4370 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is lovely but correct on the last couple songs dimming the rest

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2023


5457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not sure that I see the criticism of the last few songs, Someday might be my second-favorite (after Harriet Ann)

Sowing
Moderator
August 15th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Someday has grown on me.



I think my second favorite is Take Care of Yourself

Viraemias
August 17th 2023


324 Comments


He didn't lie when he wrote "A gorgeous time machine."

Pho3nix
September 16th 2023


1560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool record ^^ the opening track is def the highlight. Not at all bothered by the production.

Sowing
Moderator
September 16th 2023


43536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad someone else randomly checked and enjoyed this! It's definitely a cool vibe.

bakmakapa6
October 11th 2023


32 Comments


Although I still appreciate them, I agree that the beginning is a little stronger than the end. Retaining walls auckland



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