Beautiful Places

The press release for What A Beautiful Place by Catherine Howe describes it as ‘a real rainy-day affair’, and while there is a sheen of British drizzle about the 13 tracks they also possess a certain glittering haziness which make them just as suited to a do-nothing summer afternoon.  Available for just a month in the summer of 1971 then discontinued due to the financial nosedive of Reflection Records (original copies now go for upwards of £1200), it was rescued from obscurity in 2007 by the indispensable Numero Group.

Lying somewhere in between the British melancholy of Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter (both records contain haunting odes to the British north) and the pastoral etherealness of Vashti Bunyan’s Just Another Diamond Day, Howe manages to encompass the best of each of those records but adds a certain maturity and timelessness which both lack.  Recorded when she was just 20, it’s a record that lays uncertainly on the cusp of adolesence and adulthood, managing to draw on the best qualities of both.

Check out the drowsy orchestral arrangements of ‘It’s Not Likely’…

…and the more stripped back ‘Nothing More Than Strangers’:

You can pick up the (stunningly packaged) album here.


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