The first solo album from the Gong matriarch and adorner of magical hats is what any Gong head would have expected and hoped for: that kind of spooky yet sexy space whisper; cosmic ambience; a fusion of rock, jazz, psyche and folk, and lyrics and poetry that move, provoke and conjure up all manner of worlds and images that makes your brain wonder whether something or other may have been slipped into that last cup of tea you recently imbibed.
Mother has a split personality.
Some tracks evoke, unsurprisingly, the Gong band in full flight; with many of the planet’s inhabitants taking up residence on 'Shakti Yoni', 'Time of the Goddess', and 'OK, Man, This is Your World'.
'Prostitute Poem' has Gilli going back to her performance roots and reciting poetry over a trippy, ambient soundscape.
As a piece of poetry I really do consider it to be up there amongst those by Rossetti, Plath and Atwood; and the additional psychedelic accompaniment takes the feminist discourse into another dimension.
'Next Time Ragtime' is a series of gags about reincarnation: this time, next time kind of thing, allowing Smyth and her collaborator and lover Daevid Allen to have a giggle; but as soon as they draw you in and you begin to relax, Smyth performs one of those just stumbled across a corpse like screams, which rattles every neuron.
If you are feeling a little sensitive or angsty, I recommend only listening to this album if you’re somewhat masochistic in your hedonistic pursuits.
There are some dazzling pieces of ambient music here and some of it distinctly creepy, well able to raise a hair or two.
The multi-tracked baby cries heard on 'Back to the Womb' very nearly start me lactating!
But it does have a happy ending; finishing with the telling of a story, 'Taliesin', a fairy tale.
Could it be played to the little ones?
Of course it should.
Maybe if kids were encouraged or allowed to engage with magical narratives a little more in school, rather than being confronted with such tosh as I’ve Got a New Daddy or Mummy’s Got to have an Operation, they may remain being kids a bit longer.
And as for us old folk.
Well, put the cans on, lean back, close your eyes, and allow Gilli Smyth’s wonderful words and voice to really take you out of yourself.
You know you’re worth it.
Gilli Smyth - Mother (1978)
I am a Fool
Back to the Womb
Keep the Children Free
OK, Man, This is Your World
Next Time Ragtime
Time of the Goddess
Excellent cassette rip @320kbs
If burning, remove pauses for best effect.
Mother yourself here