First pressings of Jan Dukes De Grey’s two LPs, 1970’s Shadows and the following year’s Mice & Rats In The Loft, have shot up in value in recent years as buying the original pressings (foreign CDs aside) was, up until now, the only way to hear the delicious music made by this Yorkshire band.
Thankfully, Cherry Red’s new imprint have stepped in to reissue both albums on one set. As with Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jan Dukes De Grey started off as a duo, comprising of Derek Noy (12- string guitar/vocals/bass/organ) and Michael Bairstow (flute/ clarinet/saxophone), and signed to the fledgling progressive Decca Nova label. Their debut album managed to shoehorn an amazing 18 tracks onto two sides of vinyl, showcasing their sparse yet rich sound. Running at less than a minute, Dragons seduces and segues into the ethereal Rags, Old Iron. Elsewhere, High Priced Room and MSS are sweet musical honey highlighting Noy’s strong voice and corkscrew lyrical threads.
Originally released on Transatlantic, Mice & Rats… sees the band augmented by drummer Dennis Conlon. As a result, the three tracks are more driven, open-ended and reflect the more improvisational approach the band delivered when gigging like mad. With fantastic sleevenotes from David Wells, this is a musthave reissue.