The debut album by High Wycombe’s Rainbow Ffolly, Sallies Fforth, was released in 1968. It’s since gone on to attain almost mystical status in psychedelic pop circles, spoken of in reverential tones and changing hands for up to four figures in shady backstreet transactions. Forty eight years later the band have reconvened (minus the member who’s mining gold in Nevada, naturally) to make the cleverly titled Ffollow-Up!, and it’s much better than it has any right to be.
Featuring tracks written across the intervening years, it runs the full musical gamut, from prog anthems to lightly twisted psychedelia, and is stuffed with sound effects and Pythonesque asides. That the album can leap from the epic, Abbey Road-ish Noah to the wistful pop of Slow Down Zone — a song written 45 years later — with nary a glitch speaks volumes for the consistency of the material, but what shines through most is the absolute joy with which the band has approached the recording.
From the conversational jazz blues of Shoes to Tour de Fforce’s comic skiffle, Ffollow Up! sounds like an album made by musicians who’ve never been apart. It’s possible more bands should take half a century between releases.