The adage, “they don’t make ’em like they used to” never rang truer when it comes to Norman Morrison and Terry Kincannon. The duo began recording music they made on Saturday mornings in the seventies and early eighties. They garnered the attention of Manny Greenhill, a Folk music producer who worked with the likes of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. Unfortunately for M-K they only released one single. The two would continue to record music until 1986 when familial responsibilities would become a priority.
Almost thirty years later in 2013, the tandem would receive a call from UK label Spacetalk Records. Calling to inquire about purchasing the licensing to the B-side of their 1986 single. The B-side, “To See One Eagle Fly” had been a personal favorite of label co-founder Danny McLewin. It was this inquiry that opened up a dialogue between Morrison and McLewin, leading to Morrison revealing the treasure trove of unreleased songs that Morrison-Kincannon recorded in their heyday. These songs would eventually become the fifteen track album Spacetalk, a treat for lovers of classic rock that are itching to get their hands on unheard content.
It’s astonishing that Morisson-Kincannon’s career never took off during the height of folk rock’s popularity. Capturing a similar sound to Steve Miller, but with a dash of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and then blended with Bob Dylan. Their songs range from lullaby-like acoustic arrangements such as “All My Life,” a heartfelt song about merely living life, to “Sonshine,” an upbeat track about a fathers’ love for his child. The band then kicks things up a notch with tracks like “Destination,” a song that easily could have topped the folk-rock charts if it released in the bands’ heyday. It’s a bouncy tune about trucking through life, always moving forward no matter the obstacle.
The final track of the album, “A Few Minutes of Peace” is a beautiful but haunting ballad that carries the listener through a five-minute epiphany. Morrison’s mastery of songwriting and lyricism is evident in this hidden gem lost to time. It’s introspective and profound at the same time. The track contemplates everything from the narrator’s place in the world, and what makes them feel at peace, to the triviality of life, making the listener feel like nothing more than a speck in an ever-expanding universe. It’s the kind of deep philosophical thought that only music could make accessible to a casual audience.
While Morrison was the lyricist of the duo, Kincannon’s instrumental creativity was just as essential in forging their unique sound. His ingenious arrangements gave auditory form to Morrison’s prolific songwriting. Making excellent use of a diverse selection of instruments such as maracas, bongos, flute, and then enhancing those instruments with effects such as reverb, echo, and wah-wah give their tracks an atmosphere that is palpable. Not only did they make great use of sound effects, but had an excellent clean sound as well. “Summer Days” is just the pair’s vocals, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. The nostalgic track is all about reliving the summers of childhood, and the lifelong memories made during them.
It’s a damn shame that Morrison-Kincannon didn’t get discovered until recently because if the pair had gained any notoriety during the seventies, the entire landscape of folk-rock could be vastly different from what it is today. Their sound is timeless and with the raw talent between the two, and nowhere to go, but up, it is entirely possible that the world could have been hailing them as all-time great musical acts along with Bob Dylan and the man in black: Johnny Cash.