Founder-member Dave Bell recalls English progressive folk-rockers Decameron as having “one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other on the village green”. What this reissue of their 1973 debut album for Vertigo suggests is that village green foot was much more firmly planted than the other, despite Bell and fellow founder Johnny Coppin suggesting that they owed debts to Jefferson Airplane and The Beach Boys.
Nods to Fairport Convention and The Strawbs are far more noticeable. Though on the surface it seems a fairly lightweight collection of hay-chewing ruminations with a bucolic leaning and a penchant for English folk tales (such as their invocation of Old Meg, the witch of Byard’s Leap), there’s actually a bit more to Decameron’s songwriting than that.
Saving the album from its datedness and lapses into the twee is a wistful tone that evokes things unfulfilled, but it’s also not hard to see how, tucked away in Regency Cheltenham, Decameron failed to see out 1976’s cultural revolution.