labi siffre – crying, laughing, loving, lying (1972)

Beyond his beloved-by-producers take on funk, Labi Siffre was unusually skilled at creating subtle folk ballads. On C,L, L, L his high-pitched, drifting vocals, which have since inhabited Robin Pecknold, coalesced with serene acoustics. Each component is wrapped in his earnest songwriting—-the rushes of emotion bloom and plateau with deep sweetness. In spite of some overly whimsical lines, this album feels delightful. Embodying a solo woodland walk, Siffre angles himself against the homophobia and racism of his environment with introspective, wholehearted expression. The smoothness of his vocals, instrumentation, and messages may be received as a bit gooey; it might also help you fall in love.

25/30

A favourite: ‘Cannock Chase’

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