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Mellow CandleSwaddling Songs

Label:Deram – SDL 7
Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, Gatefold
Genre:Rock, Folk, World, & Country
Style:Prog Rock, Folk Rock


A1Heaven Heath
Written-ByA. Williams*
A2Sheep Season
Written-ByA. Williams*, Simonds*, D. Williams*
A4The Poet And The Witch
A5Messenger Birds
Written-ByA. Williams*
A6Dan The Wing
B1Reverend Sisters
B2Break Your Token
B3Buy Or Beware
Written-ByD. Williams*
B4Vile Excesses
Written-ByD. Williams*, Murray*
B5Lonely Man
B6Boulders On My Grave

Companies, etc.



1st pressing with brown/white Deram labels that can be identified by the stamped matrix numbers. The Deram reissue has hand-carved matrix numbers.

© 1972, The Decca Record Company Limited, London.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Run-out info [machine-stamped] side A): ZAL-11141.P-1W
  • Matrix / Runout (Run-out info [machine-stamped] side B): ZAL-11142.P-2W

Other Versions (5 of 27)View All

Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
New Submission
Swaddling Songs (LP, Album)DeramSDL 7South Africa1972
New Submission
Swaddling Songs = 抱擁の歌 (CD, Album, Reissue)Deram, DeramERC-29223, DCI 23190Japan1989
New Submission
Swaddling Songs (LP, Album, Unofficial Release)Zen (5)ZN-001US1989
New Submission
Swaddling Songs (LP, Album, Reissue)Si-Wan RecordsSRML 0021South Korea1993
New Submission
Swaddling Songs (CD, Album, Reissue)Si-Wan Records, DeramSRMC 0021South Korea1993


streetmouse's avatar
A 3rd Tier Band Achieving Cult Status …

Mellow Candle’s very hippie album Swaddling Songs is for some reason considered an imaginative psychedelic folk-rock progressive masterpiece, though methinks it’s all about the rarity (current value $4800US) for this 1972 bit of wanderlust and not the music.

There are those who are going to inform you that Swaddling Songs is a true sonic marvel, rich, varied, beautiful, filled with lush and lustful simple melodies, where the vocal blendings making for a fantastic pastoral listen, on par with Renaissance, Pentangle and even Fairport Convention. While all that’s a bold statement, it’s relatively so, if you are inclined to venture into those witchy Irish tales of wild trees, tragic hearts, magical harmonies and bigger than life presentations, where the numbers feel forever out of reach, etherial in the fact they are unable to be memorably captured. Oddly enough there’s the undefined influence of Phil Spector’s recording techniques along with his ‘Wall of Sound’, not to mention the work that would float from Genesis, in their early incarnation.

The odd thing is that the band and fans credit Mellow Candle’s inability to attract a wider audience to the lack of support from their label, yet that’s only part of the story, as they were simply not as good as the afore mentioned groups, where even while reaching for counter rhythms, they lacked a cohesive center, meaning all that was moving around that center was never able to find a comfortable place to sit. Though what I truly believe is that fans of this sort of womanly vocal splendor, is that Swaddling Songs for a very long time was a lost underdog, and we all no how instantly the underdog is gravitated to; not to mention that by 1972, this sort of pseudo-intellectual layered poetic production was sincerely losing it’s flavor, with demised critical acclaim across the boards.

The album has been re-released a number of times, along with bonus material and varied album jackets, though it’s all basically the same. This is the point in time where even if you love this band, you’re forced to face the question, “Why were they not big in 1972?”, where the answer to that question is that the progressive folk harmonic multi layered vocal arrangements were just too strained, drawn from a time that existed but a few years before, and now seemed frightfully long ago.

*** The Fun Facts: How ’bout that album art? It was drawn by David Anstey and doesn’t really reflect the sound of the music held within.  Anstey was a highly sought after record cover illustrator at the time, most known for the cover art of The Moody Blues’ Days Of Future Past.  The image on Swaddling Songs features some bloke (as it is an English album) with a gun (blunderbus) and a cutlass, seemingly on some lysergic adventure. He’s in an open snowy landscape, which looks like a frozen lake due to the small pool of water at his feet, where he’s holding a (mellow?) candle (aren’t all candles mellow?) against a tall spire made of an unidentifiable material, probably ice, and melting it. There’s a fat, goofy-looking bird on top who will soon fall to earth (if, indeed, they are on earth in the first place) … unless it flies away.  I’d be remiss in not calling attention to the rather large feather in our hero’s hat, which is obviously not from the featured bird.

Tripping down the same avenue as the album art is the album title, where ‘swaddling’ means to wrap (someone, especially a baby) in garments or cloth, perhaps indicating that this album was a transformative magical birth that needed to be nurtured and kept safe.

I own this album, its was passed onto me through several hands, allow me to assure you, it is not worth $4800 ...

Review by Jenell Kesler
black-shuck's avatar
there are two label variants for the original uk pressing, one has a small black rectangle stereo box middle top label, the other is without this box. both are otherwise identical with uk stamped matrices. in the early days of collecting, it was generally thought that the label with the black box was the earliest pressing. if anyone knows the history of deram pressings and has info as to which came first with other deram releases showing the same label variants, eg moody blues lps? then maybe they could give some advice to the listing. i think the black box label is the absolute first press, or first off the same run and given those labels til they ran out. i own that version and have also owned the other. and theres no other difference, and both have stamped original matrices.
vitbabenco's avatar
Amidst Leprechauns and Unicorns
Tunes on Swaddling Songs are frilly and juicy and their instrumentation is really rich. “Bring snowy lady with the laughing, spread your sailing angels over me, tell a tale of old sinfuls, look for you to change their face. Do not cry, for all your leaden tears graced a lorded man whose gift was all too free, he came to fall upon a faithless smile, leaning eyes towards the clay.” The songs have a feeling of fairytales about them and Mellow Candle is a troupe of medieval bards telling fabulous stories to the gorgeous music. “Tell me, show me, teach me where you've been did you see shadows of unicorns? Did you wear laurels or a crown of thorns? Dance through sadness, dance through tears of rage, dance for the poet, dance for the Queen, dancing for something you've never seen. Rhapsodising pain will make you blind, harmonising rain can help you find the way to understand and learning how to cry.” Lyrics are sparkling with imagery and the singing is polyphonic and lucid.
DPSydBerry's avatar
The copies with the handwritten matrix numbers were a 'collectors replica' counterfeit edition issued in the 1990s. I remember seeing one on a record trader's market stall back then - it was a beautiful, perfect copy (right down to the inner sleeve details and colouring) and the chap selling it said that the hand-written matrix number was the only sign that it wasn't a Deram original. They were selling for about £25 each. I would have bought it, but I was too busy spending all my money on Pink Floyd at the time. The same chap had other (really excellent quality) replicas; the Pink Floyd 'See Emily Play' EP from Spain and the 'Gary Walker's Rain' LP (apparently a psychedelic classic!) both spring to mind.
daive101's avatar
Edited 11 years ago
Im a little bit skeptic about the note.
I have the Mellow Candle "Swaddling Songs" UK Deram LP. But with handwritten matrix and orginal blue-white Deram stereo innersleeve. The Labels are brown/ white.
Ive got the LP from my father and he said to me that he bought the vinyl 1972 in a UK record/book store. And it was the only "SS" vinyl in this shop. He didnt know the band but he liked the songs. That is why he bought the LP.
So i cant believe that the "SS" with handwritten matrix is a repress or bootleg.
marcelrecords's avatar
Apart from this being nowadays the most expensive Deram album, this Irish folk band's sole LP presents truly magical psychedelic folk with two excellent female singers. Less fragile than Trees, more mystical than Fairport Convention, the sound is full of surprises and the songwriting is strong. Lyrically much revolves around loneliness, not in a self-pitying way, but rather accepted as a key fact of life. Consolation is exclusively found in nature and in the presumption that something ''beyond'' must be existing.
The sheer quality of the performance makes it perplexing that they did not find any recognition at the time.