Here for latecomers and historians is Magic Carpet's Magic
Carpet (MC 1001 CD & LP) made affordable again, and re-released on
the aptly named Magic Carpet Records label. The CD version includes an added
bonus track, the twenty minute "Raga", whilst a limited edition on vinyl
(MC 1001 LP) of just 1000 copies - 500 only numbered and signed by the band
- will prove to be yet another future collector's item. The album itself
is a strange fusion of Indian and Alisha's folk worlds. It was obviously
a 'child of its time' and was the perfect accompaniment for a lost weekend
of bon vivant dipsomania.
ALISHA– "During the eighties I became interested
in jazz and learnt a wide repertoire of standards, doing gigs with guitar
or piano accompaniment at various venues around London and elsewhere. After
a post graduate illustration course at St .Martin's School of Art, I continued
to work at both art and music. I've written hundreds of songs over the years
and in 1994 I brought out a solo album.'
Alisha Through the Looking Glass (SUFIT 010 CD and
MC 1000 LP) sees her joined by some fine players: Bernard O'Neill (double
bass) Chris Haigh (mandolin), Mamadi Kamara (congas), Alan Dunn (accordion),
Ray Warleigh (sax), and Keshav Sathe (Tabla).
Love and music are as essential
to each other as are breathing and oxygen, but frequently are only represented
by the sickly, overblown and sentimental, rather than the truly heart wrenching.
There are moments on this recording that redress that balance and address
the fact that love is almost always pain.
But in contrast Sleazy Geezer and Potato On the Side are written in a jazzy, lighter mode,
with the song Tricks Like This panning into a wider view, making wry
comment on the state of the world. The album ends with the One dark
Night a celtic flavoured tune with tabla rhythms echoing
the feel of the original Magic Carpet.
ALISHA – 'Magic Carpet Records recently
issued for the first time a recording that I made in 1974, when Nick Sykes
invited me to record at the famous R.G. Jones Studios, having heard me in
Portobello Road market busking. My friend Davey Graham, the guitarist, has done
the sleeve notes for the sixteen page booklet. It includes lyrics, archival
photos and artwork from the era.'
Love and the Maiden (MC 1002 CD) is a delightful solo
acoustic collection. It's not an imaginary movie soundtrack, more a soundtrack
for your imagination. There's no subterfuge, no gimmickry, nothing to mark
it out as anything new or radical, its pure rhythms and painfully evocative
melodies, each serving the other with the grace and elegance of a choir of
angels. Why is it so beautiful? Why does it seem to say so much? Perhaps
it's something to do with the free reign of imagination, with the trust Alisha
is prepared to place in us, the listeners, in our ability to be seduced rather
than beckoned. Geoff Wall – Folk On Tap magazine