Leaving the Farm is an extension of the old 60s/70s ethos that saw a number of units with free spirits and anarchic sentiments trying all kinds of experimental formats to greater or lesser degree. The Europeans were vastly more prolific in this regard than we here in the States, and thus was had a number of striking, puzzling, curious, and sometimes middling LPs from Eroc, Uli Trepte, Amon Duul II, and quite a few wandering souls. The Mr. Curt Ensemble captures aspects of all that and then stuffs them into an It's a Beautiful Day sound (Clara Kebabian taking David LaFlamme's violin role) by way of Marty Balin's slant in Jefferson Airplane's more mellifluous side—here courtesy of Mr. Curt, who sounds uncannily like Balin.
Go Away (If She'd Only) and House, Divided are luxurious projections of that whole gig: breezy, flowing, something Balin himself would envy. Faint elements of Hometown Band and Flairck also drift in, especially in the Balkan breeze invading much of the CD chiefly through Kebabian's atmospheric lines. The band occasionally dips a trifle into "mid-fi-ville", but, actually, the engineering's pretty damn good, well balanced, though here and there an amateurish mistake or two crops up, especially in the way too long silent intro to the first track with similarly overly spacious rests between another song or two, not to mention the too-quick fade-out to The Key. These, however, are trivial complaints in view of the overall way cool nature of the release.
Mr. Curt Ensemble is actually a band that's dying to jam its brains out on its beautiful quasi-classical compositions and just doesn't know it yet. For a bunch of hippies heading down the Jurassic Highway (welcome to the club, ladies 'n gents!)—except, that is, for the young Kebabian—they retain more than enough of an energy and sense of adventure to put fellow travelers to shame. The group really should be running their trade at prog fests, as they'd find warm welcome in such halls. But, for anyone yearning for the old Fillmore days, this is without doubt a prime item from a group that would've wowed even the most jaded Haight-Ashbury aficionado then or now.
Speaking of which, C.J. Lori's cover painting is likewise a blast to the past a la the popular Gilbert Williams and others who graced many a rock and New Age LP cover; then, for a look inside Kebabian's solo CD, look here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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