By then, unearthing obscure psychedelic and freak folk recordings was the craze, with very mixed results, but rest assured that this album has nothing to do with those kinds of productions. In fact, Of Wondrous Legends is surprisingly 'straightforward' and well recorded. Titra's songs are poetic, soaring, imbued with a fondness for Romanticism and Old Europe, with a current of humanism running through the lyrics. Most of all, his voice is very pleasant and he is surrounded by solid musicians.
As a result, the album offers genuine pastoral folk of the highest caliber, up there with Shawn Phillips' Second Contribution - the closest comparison and, frankly, the best compliment one can make. Had this album been known a few years earlier, it could have been seen as an influence on contemporary folk artists like In Gowan Ring. There is not a single weak track on the album, with only "Renaissance & Rococo" sounding derivative of King Crimson's "I Talk to the Wind" and "Cadence and Cascade"). "A Tale of a Crimson Knight" and "Breton Landscape" are the best soft numbers, while "Midnight Carnival" and "Everyman & The Philosopher King" liven up the set with a rockier edge.
Of Wondrous Legends ranks among the very best previously-unknown finds of the last decade, as it would rank among the best folk records of the late-60s/early-70s had it been released when it was recorded. A must-have, as much for collectors of obscure psych/folk than for fans of Simon & Garfunkel. Yeah, it¹s that good, that accessible, and that universal." - Francoise Couture, All Music Guide_ Of Wondrous Legends is a Chicago baroque psych gem recovered from the dustbins of history. To the few who have heard it, it has earned comparisons to Tim Buckley, Pearls Before Swine, and 60s British prog-folk. O.W.L was formed in 1968 on Chicago's north side by Stephen Titra.
A founding member of the beloved midwestern hippie jam band Mountain Bus, Titra left that band just as their Dead-inspired, bluesy jams gained serious regional traction in order to fully devote himself to the inward looking, singular vision of O.W.L. Of Wondrous Legends was recorded at Chicago's Universal Studios over a six month stretch in 1971 and a handful of test pressings were produced and circulated, but despite serious interest from a number of major labels, this gem went unreleased. The passage of time only further helped ensure the album's place in near total obscurity until a copy of one of the test pressings was unearthed in a Chicago thrift shop in 2004. Following several years of collaborative efforts on this lost epic, Of Wondrous Legends now sees its first public release after some 35 years of obscurity. Read more on Last.fm.
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