Scottish singer/songwriter Alan Trajan made one very obscure album, Firm Roots, for MCA in 1969. With a foggy voice slightly reminiscent of British soul-rockers such as Stevie Winwood, Gary Brooker, and Joe Cocker (though not in their league), the keyboardist offered rather downbeat, even despondent songs with well-crafted late-'60s rock arrangements featuring prominent organ/piano/guitar blends (and some acoustic guitar by British folk legend Davy Graham, though it's not a prominent part of the mix). Though most of the tracks were original compositions, Trajan broke the mood with no less than three songs learned from Bob Dylan's first pair of albums, as well as a cover of kindred spirit David Ackles' "Down River." Perhaps unsurprisingly, the record sold little, though the music was actually wrapped in melodies and midtempo rock textures far more conventionally accessible than the lyrics.
Born Alan Robertson near Edinburgh, Scotland, Trajan got his record deal when he was introduced to Decca producer Ray Horricks (who'd worked with Graham) by another act that Horricks had signed, the British folk-rock group Bread, Love and Dreams. Trajan would later play organ on Bread, Love and Dreams' 1970 LP Amaryllis and also work with Scottish blues singer Tam White in the early '70s. He then relocated to London, where he played in pubs and jazz singer George Melly's band, though sadly he served time in prison before his death of liver disease in the early 21st century. The Firm Roots album was reissued on CD in 2006. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi