Mike Cooper, one of the more underrated voices from the outer fringes of the UK folk rock world, will be reissuing his wild final songwriter album, 1974’s Life and Death in Paradise, packaged together with a previously unreleased live performance from 2018.
Available for preorder today through Paradise of Bachelors and set for a July 14th release, Life and Death in Paradise features the folk veteran taking one last stab at recording songs, before diving headfirst into more improv-based music. Assisting him along the way is a crack team of South African spiritual jazz musicians (Harry Miller, Louis Moholo, and Mike Osborne), and the results are certainly one of a kind.
While there’s still a folk rock base to most of the songs on this record, Cooper and the trio launch off into prog-laced folk-jazz and even starry-eyed glam rock that recalls Marc Bolan or Bowie’s earliest Ziggy experimentations. Check out the stirring Michael Chapman-like ballad, “O.M.M. Coda” for an example:
The bonus live disc is also a marvel. Recorded in 2018 in Milan, this set displays Cooper’s slide skills as well as his experimental side, both of which have remained strong over the ensuing decades. Check out the dobro meditation that is “Peach Trees,” from Milan Live Acoustic 2018 below for a little taste:
Fans of the more renegade genre-hopping artists of the ’70s UK music scene, like Roy Harper, John Martyn and Kevin Ayers, will surely dig this album. Click here to preorder your copy today.
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