John McCabe's recording of Herbert Howells' clavichord music is a chance to hear some twentieth century music inspired by C.P.E. Bach's favorite instrument. While other composers were re-discovering the harpsichord, Howells' love for early English music and the instruments of two modern clavichord makers led to the composition of the three sets of miniatures: Lambert's Clavichord and Howells' Clavichord Books One and Two. Howells dedicated every piece in each set to a friend, and in the last two sets he even sometimes attempted to put something of the dedicatee into the music, whether it was a description of that person's character or an imitation of a fellow composer's style. Howells' titles, and in many instances the style of the piece, is a reference to the keyboard compositions of the English virginalists of the late sixteenth/early seventeenth centuries. On the one hand, "Lambert's Fireside" and "Goff's Fireside," named after Herbert Lambert and Thomas Goff, the two clavichord makers, are almost completely idiomatic of virginal music. On the other, the meandering tonality of "Rubbra's Soliloquy" and "E.B.'s Fanfarando" marks them as twentieth century compositions.
Mystic Merlin were originally known as Mystic. Merlin’s Magic Band and used to incorporate magic tricks into their live shows, they later dropped this gimmick and were taken seriously on the Soul and Dance Scene. Main vocals in Mystic Merlin were occasionally provided by Freddie Jackson who went onto have a hugely successful solo career with ten R&B #1 singles as well as seven R&B top ten hits. MYSTIC MERLIN was the band’s first album released in 1980 on Capitol Records. It was produced by Charles Kipp following his work with David Ruffin, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Melba Moore, Aretha Franklin and Johnny Nash.