Few groups epitomised the spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s like Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. A collective of musicians, dancers, poets and sound and lighting engineers, based around the music of Root Cartwright, the group produced one of rock’s first forays into multi-media presentation and found themselves championed by, and recording for, the great John Peel.
This set brings together both albums recorded for Dandelion Records – Soundtrack and The Asmoto Running Band – plus five recently unearthed BBC session tracks, unreleased demos and a fantastic live recording made at London’s Hampstead Theatre in September 1971. Together, those unreleased recordings shed new light on this most intriguing of groups, and point towards the direction a third Principal Edwards Magic Theatre album might have taken.
Recent years have seen a revival of interest in PEMT, including lengthy pieces in both Record Collector and Shindig! magazines. Their musical eclecticism, blending rock, folk and classical elements with wit and invention, warrant the consideration of all serious aficionados of such things.