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. 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 at coffee shops around colonial Williamsburg while studying biology at the college of 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.”
All tracks were restored and remastered by Grammy award winner Michael Graves of Osiris Studios.
2xLP housed in a beautiful gatefold “tip-on” style sleeve.
First pressing limited to 800 copies worldwide.