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Big Potato

Emmett Finley - S/T

Emmett Finley - S/T

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Big Potato present the first world-wide release of Emmett Finley’s amazing 1971 album and we at Rough Trade are super stoked to have a special 200 exclusive red pressing. Imagine songs redolent of prime ‘Doom Trilogy’ Neil Young, Love, Exile On Main Street’s honk via the swagger of Stone Roses (no kidding). Add the crushed biblical ballads of Bill Fay plus mini rock operas and we’re close to describing this ornately crafted but beautifully raw collection. Like Fay, he was a wilful studio maverick, a virtuoso who pushed his music as far as it would go and no mind for a career. Both eschew 70’s strings in favour of driven piano, loose skronky guitar. And soul to burn.

Emmett knew Hendrix and booked him to play on ‘Sky King’ - a rollicking paean to their competitive friendship. Hendrix vanished to England, but guests who did show included gospel trio The Ellington Sisters. Emmett enthused about their adventurous collaboration including a powerful “Three part harmony on G diminished 7th chords” & lovely snarl on “Gospel’s” finale “Come, come and believe...” giving way to two minutes of vocal musique concrète - and you’re only midway through side one!.

Lyrically beautiful and haunted, Emmett later described his main influence was ‘the Time’. “In 69, Rock had nothing higher to offer, Woodstock was a peaceful, contained riot. Charles Manson slammed the door of that generation shut!”. It’s dark, it’s emotional, it’s groovy, just a perfect album from a brilliant hooky songwriter and guitarist - with the look & ambition of a rockstar expecting to fly.

And then Emmett disappeared from the scene. Forever. A mystery wrapped in an enigma: “I may wind up a thoroughly obscure figure entirely forgotten” Emmett Finley.

The songs, the beguiling, exquisite arrangements, the ambitious undated production of this soul-piercing album should say otherwise.

“Timeless, poetic depth & unique style like Big Star, Bill Fay & Paris 1919” Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills

“Blessed with a reedy, delicate voice reminiscent of Neil Young at his most reflective on this long lost gospel country gem.” Will Hodgkinson 

“Finely crafted semi-autobiographical songs moving from baroque folk melancholy to rousing psych-rock intricacy. It’s Finley’s fragile haunting lyrics that keeps you coming back.” Mojo 4/5 

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