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Hunter Muskett - That Was Then This is Now (Limefield)

Star rating: 
4

Hunter Muskett is an English folk rock outfit formed in 1968 by Terry Hiscock, Chris George and Doug Morter as a trio at Avery Hill College in South London where the band first met. Bass player Roger Trevitt joined shortly after the release of the band's first album, which was followed by their eponymous LP a couple of years later. The band finally called it a day in 1974 with Doug Morter being the only member to continue as a working musician in bands such as Magna Carta, The Albion Band and The Maddy Prior Band. After several illegal European re-pressings of the band's first album EVERYTIME YOU MOVE, the quartet decided to re-release the album officially and get together for a reunion in 2010. Since then the band have played several gigs and have now released their first new album in forty years.

Hunter Muskett's most celebrated song Silver Coin, written by Terry Hiscock and which has been performed at every Hunter Muskett gig since it first appeared on their second LP, has been re-recorded here along with ten other songs, some of which have been written much more recently. Produced by John Ellis and Bill Leader, along with the band, the album is free from all we remember about folk rock as a genre; the songs are quite refreshingly melodic with some tastefully rendered guitar runs. At times a distinct country influence is applied on such as Best Thing in My Life, noted as 'an epitaph for a band' when the song was written in 1974. 

The album closes with a really quite stunning version of Walk Away Renee, a hit for both The Left Banke in 1966 and The Four Tops a year later, which is tucked away here as a bonus track. The album comes complete with a booklet containing all the song lyrics and is illustrated with vintage and more recent pictures. Joined by drummer Paul Burgess, the album also features guest appearances by Jerry Donoghue and Ray Jackson, both of whom Doug Morter has worked with in The Gathering and The Acoustic Gathering over the past few years. This album must not under any circumstances by written off as a nostalgic has-been folk rock endeavour; THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW is a gorgeous record. Welcome back Hunter Muskett.  

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky