Jan & Lorraine

Jan & Lorraine
Much mystery surrounds Jan & Lorraine, a female duo who recorded an obscure folk-rock album, Gypsy People, in London in October 1969. Jan Hendin and Lorraine Le Fevre both sang (often in harmony) on the record, did the ensemble arrangements, and also wrote (working separately) most of the material. Too, Hendin handled electric and acoustic guitars, piano, and organ, and Le Fevre contributed acoustic guitar as well. In part because the LP didn’t sound much like other British folk-rock efforts of the time, it’s been thought that Hendin and Le Fevre might have actually hailed from North America, despite the record being cut in London. And it does have a greater American influence to its mildly psychedelic late-’60s folk-rock than most British efforts in the genre, with stirring, slightly strident singing; some slight pop accents with a little similarity to the early work of Joni Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane, Fairport Convention, and even the Seekers, though the resemblance isn’t explicit; and some occasional exotic Eastern sounds on tamboura and tabla. The record’s slightly moody and introspective, though pleasant (and sometimes a little loosely drifting) in feel, and one presumes that the “D. Graham/M. Chapman” songwriting credit for “Gypsy People” could signify a tune co-written by noted British folkies Davy Graham and Michael Chapman. A couple noted musicians who were definitely involved in the recording were Pentangle drummer Terry Cox, who contributed percussion, and top British session drummer Clem Cattini. The album was reissued on CD in 2006. ~ Richie Unterberger

“If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t be anyone else but me,” Jan & Lorraine enthusiastically proclaim on “Break Out the Wine,” the opening track on the duo’s sole release, 1969’s Gypsy People. The pair’s origin is obscure, and although the set was recorded in London, slotting neatly into the contemporary British folk-prog scene, their accents tell another tale, with some evidence now suggesting they hailed from Canada. The duo certainly exuded a New World exuberance, particularly on the rollicking “Wine” and the ragtime rave-up of “Old Tyme Movie.” The childlike delight that wraps around “Number 33,” the soulfulness of “Foolin’ Myself,” and the intensity with which they deliver both “Life’s Parade” and the acid-laced “The Assignment Song-Sequence” are also far removed from the usual fare found at an English fayre. And it’s the intensity of the multi-instrumentalist pair’s delivery that sets Jan & Lorraine apart, with the women attacking both their vocals and guitars in particular with absolute gusto. There are, however, decidedly British elements leaking into the set as well, notably the orchestral strings that wrap around “Bird of Passage” and the sitar and tablas that shade the title track. Although supported by a clutch of guest musicians, Jan & Lorraine still asserted their independence. In a day when women artists had little control over their music, the pair not only penned the bulk of the set, they arranged it all. And it’s here the duo truly excelled, for the use of instrumentation is inspired, each song carefully crafted to create maximum effect. The whistles, kazoo, and jazzy piano that capture Hollywood’s yesteryear, the subtle use of organ to build up the excitement of “Song-Sequence,” the pulsing bassline that floods “Wine,” and the otherworldly atmosphere they create on “Gypsy People” all highlight the strength of the duo’s sound and vision. Like the Gypsies themselves, the pair’s past was shrouded in mystery, and once they packed up and left, their future destination was equally unknown. But Jan & Lorraine left behind a stunning, fiery album, as thrilling and exotic as a Gypsy dance. ~ Review by Jo-Ann Greene

Nazir Jair Azbhoy — tamboura
Clem Cattini — drums
Terry Cox — percussion
Jan Hendin — vocals, guitar, keyboards, kazoo
Takie Hendin — backing vocals
Lorraine LeFevre — vocals, guitar
Rod Mirfield — percussion
Brian Odgers — bass
Kaeshav Sathe — tabla

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…
From the 1969 album Gypsy People
Jan & Lorraine

  • The Assignment Song-Sequence
  • Bird Of Passage
  • Break Out The Wine
  • Don’t You Feel Fine?
  • Foolin’ Myself
  • Life’s Parade
  • Number 33
  • Snow Roses