Available For First Time In Over 50 Years
Elephantasia is a glorious folk opus from 1972, long lost and attaining a legendary reputation for its candour and creativity, from the late Bangor-born singer/songwriter Dave Evans. For fans of Nick Drake, Bill Fay and Davy Graham – with a touch of Michael Chapman, Jansch and Fahey for good measure.
Dave Evans’ story is like a Pinter play; he sailed the seas in the merchant navy, was taught guitar in a brief interlude by the “mythical” Morocco John, wound up sharing a room with Steve Tilston in the late 1960s when they attended Loughborough Art College and ran the local folk club, while learning to make stringed instruments, the art of wine making and ceramics.
Steve headed for Bristol to record his debut for Village Thing and sent for Dave to play on it. So enamoured with the local scene was the young Evans that he hung around and wound up recording his debut in label boss Ian A Anderson’s flat. The Words In Betweenwas released in 1971.
Available on Black Vinyl & CD
Pre-order ‘Elephantasia’ Now
“Forgotten great of the ’70s british folk scene”
“Cult status guaranteed”
“Very much an exponent of Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Ralph McTell, Wizz Jones style of brit folksong”
The Vinyl District
Over the next year Dave got a domestic 2-track reel-to-reel tape recorder and experimented with its two speeds to produce the tracks Elephantasia and Lady Portia. He pulled in members of local prog band Squidd, including latter day Hawkwind member Steve Swindells on keyboards, John Merritt on bass and Rodney Matthews on drums, who also designed the Elephantasia album cover, and went on to become a renowned fantasy artist (covers for Michael Moorcock books, etc).
Elephantasia – the album – was originally released in 1972, fully exposing Dave’s finger picking style, lilting vocal and his dalliance with the tape manipulation. It sold around 2000 copies and over the years became a talked about rarity, deemed too progressive for folk, too folk for the new prog heads. In best plot-thickening style, Dave tried two more releases and then disappeared.
Elephantasia’s scant sleeve notes recounted the songs’ creation, featuring tales of experimentation in sound inspired by elephants, old memories recounted with all of the unpleasant bits edited out, storylines for escapists, the residents of St Agnes Park, broken beauty queens and a fat feline. It’s an eclectic but beautifully fluent narrative from a finger picking maestro with a warm and engaging vocal style that wowed Peel and Whispering Bob back in the day.
Dave Evans sadly died in April 2021. Earth Recordings is proud to release Elephantasia on vinyl and CD for the first time in over 50 years, in collaboration with his estate.
Photo credit: Dave Borthwick/ Village Thing