Monday, May 30, 2016
John Bayley Minstrel of the Morning... Lifetime Records 1976
When I first found this I sent a photo to a friend who stated, "That cover is a constant source of conversation and inspiration." The same LP sits among some other framed LPs my friend has displayed. Looking at it, how could it not want to start a conversation? There's just so much going on in this cover. Where to even start? Is that a living room? Where'd you get that sweet tiger? What's up with the white lady and her kid? Is that John Bayley's girlfriend/wife? And dude, where did you score the killer threads?
The backside notes indicate Bayley was heavily influenced by the Jesus Music scene of the 70s, or trying to fit into it. However, the tunes are fairly secular, unless you group songs about "love" into a religious setting. Even when Bayley tries to be religious, it's a bit off. The song "It's Good To See You," states, "I've laid a thousand women, but come back to see you." So he tries to find the Jesus scene, but you can tell, the dude just likes to write tunes.
And, his tunes are a bit all over the place. If it had to be labeled, outsider folk would be the best term. However, there's elements of Indian music, jazz, singer/songwriter, rock, and a lot of reggae floating throughout. It's an interesting work and far better than most "outsider folk" private albums you'd come across. There's a fair amount of experimentation throughout the LP. Also clever, Bayley filled out the sound remarkably well with only a few players. He plays a host of guitars and does his own lead and background vocals. There's limited synth, but he found some guys to do some violins and wind instruments in addition to recording with a drummer.
The LP was also recorded in the Cavern in Independence, Missouri. Lifetime Records (Bayley's private label) shows an Independence as well, but could just as easily be a Kansas City guy. If you YouTube him, you'll find he's channeling George Clinton's fashion sense and playing experimental gospel music over in Colorado now-a-days.
Going Home Alone