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Sheep Farming In Barnet

December 31st, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

One of my presents this year was the box set re-issue of Sheep Farming in Barnet by Toyah. A bit of a nostalgia-fest, but actually I don’t think I actually had this LP despite being a fan. Actually I don’t think I had this LP because I was a fan.I had the 6-track Sheep Farming EP (or AP as they called it) and also the Tribal Look/Bird in Flight single and the Victims of the Riddle single, so there wasn’t really much imperative to buy an LP where I already had so much of it when cash was in short supply. Of course in later years I would quite happily buy things I already had many times, replacing the vinyl with CD and then an SACD or DVD-A or Blu Ray surround version – hence multiple copies of Dark Side of the Moon and Tubular Bells.

Anyway… its a great little box set. Obviously there is the full album, but also lots of interesting extra tracks from the time like demos, unreleased songs and alternative versions. The third disc has some vintage TV appearances and interviews plus a commentary on the album that I haven’t got round to watching yet.

What struck me while listening to the early demo recordings from before anything was realeased was just how proggy it all was. There are bits you could play in isolation and easily believe they were unreleased stuff from Genesis, Pink Floyd, Camel or perhaps an Anthony Phillips solo album. That was all toned down a bit by the time the band were releasing records but once you realise it you can still hear it.

It is like the image, clothes and hairstyles fooled us into thinking it was punk or new wave. Television played the same trick with Marquee Moon.

Fans of Toyah will obviously enjoy this set, but I reckon people who specifically do not like the 80s ‘Its A Mystery‘ Toyah would be pleasantly surprised by it all.

Toyah has been entertaining us all this year with her various YouTube exploits on her own and with Robert Fripp and now over the holidays I have been thoroughly entertained again by this lost prog classic.

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