Beyond The Willow Tree: Double Vinyl LP
Cleveland Francis

Beyond The Willow Tree: Double Vinyl LP

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Label: Forager Records
Release Date: 29th April

Sometimes you'll hear an artists for the first time and you feel like you've been listening to their music forever, we get that from Cleveland Francis, who back in the late 60s was trying to break free of the racial stereotypes that pocketed artists in genres for Cleveland wanted to play folk but also made soul and so he called his music 'soulfolk'. 'Beyond the Willow Tree' is a double LP anthology from our favourite new reissue label Forager, bringing together his debut and follow up record along with some extras. His is a warm familiar stripped back sound, not too earnest, not too pained, not contrived, just human and free.

For those who dig: Fred Neil, Richie Havens, Bill Withers, warm soul and folk.

21 track double LP anthology, restored and remastered from the original master tapes by grammy award winning mastering engineer Michael Graves.

Includes Francis’ debut release “Follow Me”, as well as a second record featuring unreleased and never before heard covers and demos.

Made with a deluxe tip-on gatefold sleeve. Non-Returnable.
Liner notes written by Cleveland Francis and Forager Records.

Artwork based on the original Follow Me record featuring photos of Francis from the late 60s and early 70s.
Beyond The Willow Tree is a hauntingly beautiful anthology of folk songs chronicling the experience of a young black man growing up in the segregated south. A balanced mix of covers and originals, Cleveland
Francis’ body of work seamlessly blends deep, soulful vocals with the stripped down acoustic instrumentation of folk. In the late 60’s Francis coined the term “soulfolk”, playing his genre bending music across college campuses and coffee shops while earning a medical degree at William & Mary.

These songs serve as a missing link between soul and folk music, suppressed by the harsh political landscape of a music industry heavily influenced by racial stereotypes. “If you were black, you played blues or soul music … I wanted to play folk music,” Cleveland professed.

Included in this double LP set is Cleveland Francis’ entire 1970 self released album Follow Me, featuring the original artwork and liner notes printed inside the gatefold. The second LP takes you Beyond The Willow Tree with unreleased demos recorded in 1968 along with one 45 only single recorded in 1970.

“These recordings are a look into my soul through a long and lonely journey to understand feelings of my childhood, poverty, racial segregation, bigotry, war, love and hope. It represents my attempt to express and come to terms with all that I have seen and felt as a Black man growing up in America.” – Cleveland Francis

Tracklist:
The Willow Tree
Little Green Apples
Early Morning Rain
When I’m Sixty Four
Hot Sun
Hey Jude
Just Think About It For A While
Both Sides Now
Rain
Time
Getting Ready For Tomorrow
With God On Our Side
What’s Wrong With The World
Ballad Of Martin Luther King
Change
It’s Got To Get Better
Hot Sun (demo)
Early Morning Rain (demo)
Summertime
Just Think About It For A While (demo)
The Willow Tree (demo)


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