Tea and Symphony were an English folk-psych band that released the 1969–70 Harvest albums An Asylum for the Musically Insane and Jo Sago.
Members: Jeff Daw (vocals, guitar, flute), James Langston (guitar, vocals), Nigel Phillips (keyboards, vocals, percussion), Dave Clempson (guitar, drums, 1969), Gus Dudgeon (drums, 1969) Dave Carrol (guitar, 1970-71), Michael “Mick” Hincks (bass, 1970-71), Bob Lamb (drums, 1970-71), Bob Wilson (guitar, keyboards, 1970-71)
Tea and Symphony formed in Birmingham in 1968 when guitarists Jeff Daw and James Langston teamed with keyboardist–percussionist Nigel Phillips, an auxiliary of local psych-rockers Locomotive. The signed to EMI’s recently established Harvest label.
An Asylum for the Musically Insane
Side One contains five songs by Jeff Daw, who plays lead guitar, flute, and triangle. Daw co-wrote “Terror In My Soul” with drummer Nigel Phillips, who wrote “Nothing Will Come To Nothing” and plays recorder, mandolin, organ, and piano.
Side Two contains a cover of “Travelling Shoes” by American folkie Fred Neil. The penultimate track, “Winter,” is by lead vocalist James Langston, who plays rhythm guitar, kazoo, bells, and cymbal.
1. “Armchair Theatre” (3:54)
2. “Feel How So Cool The Wind” (3:19)
3. “Sometime” (4:14)
4. “Maybe My Mind (With Egg)” (3:42)
5. “The Come On” (4:30) features Bakerloo guitarist Clem Clempson and the Locomotive rhythm section; bassist Mick Hincks and drummer Bob Lamb.
6. “Terror In My Soul” (6:06)
7. “Travelling Shoes” (4:25) features Strawbs double-bassist Ron Chesterman.
8. “Winter” (3:19)
9. “Nothing Will Come To Nothing” (6:12)
Gus Dudgeon, a future Elton John soundman, produced Asylum in sequence with 1969 albums by Ralph McTell, Michael Chapman, Strawbs, and the single “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. Trident’s Barry Sheffield engineered Asylum amid Bakerloo and Chapman’s Rainmaker and albums by Jackie Lomax and Sweet Thursday.
Artist Peter Thaine illustrated the Asylum outer gatefold: a colorful depiction of “musically insane” revelers in a ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’-like scenario. The artwork features multiple cutout images of the band among animated characters, who cavort, drink tea, and play instruments amid candy-striped flora. The inner-gates show monochrome photos of the trio and their entourage.
“Armchair Theatre” first appeared as the b-side of Tea & Symphony’s August 1969 single “Boredom,” a Procol Harum rarity.
“Maybe My Mind (With Egg)” appears on the 1970 Harvest compilation Picnic – A Breath of Fresh Air, a multi-artist double album with cuts by Barclay James Harvest, Battered Ornaments, Deep Purple, Forest, Kevin Ayers, The Greatest Show On Earth, Pink Floyd, Pretty Things, Quatermass, Roy Harper, Syd Barrett, Third Ear Band, and Pete Brown & Piblokto!
Tea and Symphony released their debut album, Jo Sago, in 1970 on Harvest. It features a revised lineup of Jeff Daw, James Langston, and multi-instrumentalist Bob Wilson, who plays piano, organ, harpsichord, acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars, bass guitar, and percussion.
Side One consists of the titular Jo Sago – A Play On Music, a suite in nine parts by Daw, who plays multiple guitars (acoustic, electric, 12-string), bass, percussion, and flute.
Side Two contains a Daw sequence (“Green Fingered,” “Seasons Turn to One”) and songs by singer–guitarist Langston (“Yourself,” “View to the Sky”), and prior drummer Nigel Phillips (“Try Your Luck,” “The Nortihorticulturalist”).
1. Jo Sago – A Play On Music
a. “Miniature” (2:01)
b. “Nyada” (4:06)
c. “Journey” (1:19)
d. “Brother” (3:51)
e. “Africa Paprika” (3:29)
f. “Fairground Suite” (2:25)
g. “Desperate Oil” (5:53)
h. “Umbilical Bill” (0:51)
i. “Goodnight” (3:33)
2. “Try Your Luck” (3:18)
3. “Yourself” (3:28)
4. “Green Fingered – Redhanded” (0:54)
5. “Seasons Turn to One” (3:04)
6. “View to the Sky” (2:41)
7. “The Nortihorticulturalist” (3:26)
8. “Dangling” (0:59) Bob Wilson’s idea.
Sessions took place at London’s Sound Techniques studio with producer Tony Cox and engineer Victor Gamm, the sound team on 1970 recordings by Trees and Mick Softley. Gamm also worked on recent albums by Caravan, Dr. Strangely Strange, Steeleye Span, and .
Jo Sago sports a gatefold cover with a saturated field shot of the trio with Phillips and supplemental guitarist Mick Hincks.
- An Asylum for the Musically Insane (1969)
- “Boredom” / “Armchair Theatre” (1969)
- Jo Sago (1970)
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