Shelleyan Orphan, ‘Century Flower’

My elderly copy of 'Century Flower'

‘Century Flower’ by Shelleyan Orphan is one of my favourite albums, but the way I only ever came to own it through a series of mistakes.

I remember going into a record store in 1989 in Bristol where I was at university. Was it called Replay? It was at the back of a vintage clothes shop on Park Street.

The cover really appealed to me but I’d never heard of Shelleyan Orphan or heard anything by them, so I asked to listen to it as you did in those days.

What I didn’t know was that the record was made to be played at 45 and the bloke in the record shop had put it on at 33. Even so I bought it and when I played it at home was surprised by what I heard.

It’s a lovely album though and Caroline Crawley’s voice is just gorgeous. She sang some songs for This Mortal Coil amongst them a phenomenal version of Syd Barrett’s ‘Late Night’, just drone and voice.

I’d never seen this video before, but it is perfect: stark, too intimate, and  Crawley looks as she sounds, like a female Barrett. Wonderful.

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