Title - 'The Riddle'
Artist - The Gardening Club
For those not in the know, in 1984, UK-born Martin Springett — an accomplished musician and illustrator who had produced comics for the legendary Heavy Metal magazine and designed and illustrated record covers for Columbia — was commissioned to illustrate the cover of The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay; the first novel of the acclaimed Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy.
A classic of fantasy literature, the trilogy is beloved worldwide, and it launched Springett to international fantasy illustration fame.
Martin Springett was born in the UK but moved with his family to Canada in 1965. In 1969 in Vancouver he recorded an album of settings of Tolkien’s poems from Lord Of The Rings and the Hobbit.
Alas, Christopher Tolkien did not allow the record to be released. Martin played in bands and toured in Canada and the U S, but returned to England in 1971 to seek a record deal.
He subsequently toured in Europe with a band called Gateway Driver, based in Hanover. Upon returning to Canada, a move to Toronto meant entering a new musical landscape and a Vancouver pal, Don Geppert; now a respected engineer in the Toronto music scene worked with Martin on an LP called The Gardening Club, which was released in 1983.
A musically rich and diverse album, The Gardening Club combined King Crimson-like complexity, Canterbury scene-infused whimsy, and a strong pop sensibility; but in the shadow of new wave it was the right album, at the wrong time.
Martin has continued to write create and record music in the intervening years, releasing six independent CD’s.
Indeed, Martin and his band mates - Norm Macpherson, producer and guitarist, James Macpherson, drums and synths, along with both Sean Drabitt and Wayne Kozak - recently completed a brand new The Gardening Club album, entitled The Riddle.
Out now, Martin also, of course, created the wonderfully, and deeply animated artwork that accompanies the album.
1. 'The Riddle Overture'
2. 'Whirled Away'
3. 'Seven Years Old Poet'
4. 'Blues For Richard'
5. 'Leaving Home'
7. 'Notes On The Affair'
8. 'The Original Sleep'
9. 'Tears At The Matinee'
11. 'The Riddle'
13. 'Overture Reprise'
Kicking off on some style with the incredible ambiance of 'The Riddle Overture,' they back that up seamlessly with both my personal favorite, the joyous, playful bounce of 'Whirled Away' and then the expert storytelling of 'Seven Year Old Poet' (albeit, perhaps, for the whole dog on fire thing!).
Progressing through the album and there truly is not one filler to be found amongst the 13 cuts. Another stand out track is the flowingly buoyant 'Leaving Home' along with both 'Tears At The Matinee' and the title track itself, the impeccable dueling guitar work found within the quite brilliant 'The Riddle.'
You can order a copy of the new The Gardening Club album, The Riddle below.
The CD comes with a 24 page illustrated lyric booklet and The Three Riddles (pictured) signed by Martin Springett, and any other members of the Club hanging out in The Potting Shed that they could find!
Official CD Purchase Link