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Bulletin - October 2008
Folk Music - American, British Isles, etc.
The Albion Band ->
Kate Wolf

 

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 

ENGLAND THE ALBION BAND Talking Elephant 123 Lark Rise To Candleford $18.98
21 tracks, 50 mins, highly recommended
Newly remastered and repackaged. It's great to have this superb 1980 album back in print on CD. This recording features original and traditional music from the stage production of a play about rural life from the late 19th century to the early 20th based on the writings of Flora Thompson. This is a "concept" album complete with narration and dialogue from the play, which help to enhance the music. The band included Doug Morter & Graeme Taylor/ electric guitars, Howard Evans/ trumpet, Ashley Hutchings/ bass, John Kirkptrick/ accordion & concertina, Martin Simpson/ banjo and others. The vocals are handled by Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, John Tams, Bill Caddick and others. Some truly exciting music and songs including The Girl I Left behind Me/ Arise And Pick A Posy/ Tommy Toes/ Witch Elder/ Abroad For Pleasure/Battle Of The Somme/ Speed The Plough/ Postman's Knock/ Dare To Be A daniel and others. (FS)

 
ENGLAND PETER BELLAMY & OTHERS Free Reed 11 The Transports $15.98
21 tracks, 78 mins, essential
In 1977 the brilliant English folk performer Peter Bellamy conceived of something new in the British folk field - a "folk opera" using a series of songs to tell a story. In this case the story was based on the story of Henry Cabell and Susannah Holmes who were among the first convicts transported to Australia in the late 18th century. The story is told in series of songs with a traditional feel written Bellamy and performed by some of Britain's finest performers including Bellamy himself, Nic Jones, A.L. Lloyd, June Tabor, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Cyril Tawney and others. Instrumental arrangements were by Dolly Collins and are performed by a small group with flute, oboe, whistle, bassoon, serpent and cello with Dave Swarbrick on fiddle on some of the songs. Originally issued as two LP set this was a remarkable and adventurous project that works beautifully and garnered parise and was reissued as a single CD on Topic some years ago. This is the same as the Topic CD with one bonus track - the instrumental The Convicts Wedding by Fairport Convention. (FS)

 
IRELAND THE BOTHY BAND Mulligan (US) 3002 The Bothy Band 1975 $17.98
Reissue of the first, album by this superb Irish group. Recorded in 1975 it is the only one of their albums featuring the incredible fiddle playing of Tommy Peoples and it has a spontaneous excitement that became somewhat dampened on their later albums.

 
IRELAND EDDIE BUTCHER/ JOE HOLMES & LEN GRA HAM Free Reed 08 I Once Was A Daysman/ Chaste Muses, Bards & Sages $15.98
Reissue of two LPs from 1975 featuring lovely unaccompanied singing from north Derry. Eddie Butcher, who was 75 at the time of these recordings, was a truly superb vocalist and his radio broadcasts in the 1960s was an influence on a younger generation of Irish singers like Paul Brady and Andy Irvine who subsequently recorded some of the songs here. He performs spellbinding renditions of songs like Heather Down the Moor/ To My Son In Amerikay/ The Week's Work/ Hiring Fair/ Thousands Are Sailing, etc. Joe Holmes & Len Graham were two younger singers who were also inspired by BUtcher and they perform 9 songs - mostly as duets - True Lover John/ Tumbling Through The Hay/ Wellington's Medal/ Dark Eyed Gypsy, etc.

 
ENGLAND FOTHERINGAY Fledg'ling 3066 Fotheringay 2 $18.98
11 tracks, 50 mins, essential
Wow! 38 years after their first album we finally have the second album from the great British folk-rock group Fotheringay. When Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention at the end of 1969 she joined with her soon to be husband, Australian singer/ songwriter Trevor Lucas plus superb American guitarist Jerry Donahue, bassist Pat Donaldson and drummer Gerry Conway to form a new band Fotheringay which released one album in 1970 (available on Fledg'ling 3044 - $18.98) to great acclaim and is now considered a folk-rock masterpiece. Late in the year they went into the studio to start work on a second album but after the basic tracks were laid down the group disbanded as Sandy wanted to pursue a solo career. The original tapes languished in various vaults until 2007 when Jerry Donahue started working with Donaldson, Conway and various other musicians on completing the album. The original instrumental arrangements were fleshed out in the spirit of the original. Since the original vocals were not finalized the vocal/ instrumental balance is not always ideal but there are some magnificent performances here. There are two original songs by Sandy which later appeared on her first solo album and I think her version here of John The Gun is even more intense and compelling than the more familiar version and includes a wonderful sax solo from veteran swing bandleader Sam Donahue - father of Jerry Donahue. Sandy sings several traditional songs including a truly luminescent version of Wild Mountain Thyme which also describes her version of the country standard Silver Threads & Golden Needles. Trevor has two original compositions - Knights Of The Road and Restless - two fine songs in country rock style. He also duets with Sandy on the Scottish traditional ballad Eppie Moray and does a great version of the Australian traditional ballad Bold Jack Donahue. About the only dud here is his version of Dylan's I Don't Believe You which doesn't really work and, I suspect, would have not made the final cut of the original album - still it's nice to have it for completeness. Listening to this album one can only pine for what might have been if the group had stayed together but we should be oh so grateful that this has survived the ravages of time and give thanks to Jerry Donahue for his stellar production work. (FS)

 
ENGLAND JOHN KIRKPATRICK Free Reed 10 Going Spare $15.98
Reissue of 1978 album from this brilliant English singer and accordion player. All original songs & tunes, mostly in traditional mould with varied arrangements including some with electric folk arrangements and one with punk rock band The Pork Dukes! This CD release includes two bonus tracks originally issued as a single on the Dingles label with Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Dave Mattacks and Dave Foster.

 
AMERICAN FOLK VARIOUS Repertoire 5102 Songs From The Invisible Republic - Music That Inspired $24.98
2 CDs, 55 tracks, 142 mins, highly recommended You could easily fill your bookshelf with dozens of books that try and unravel the supposed mystery that is Bob Dylan. There is practically a cottage industry devoted to understanding this most enigmatic artist and this CD fits in there with the better attempts. The best aspect of this collection is the wide range of material that it covers, with the basic notion that it all inspired Dylan, or that he covered or borrowed from it. There is a heavy amount of Blues, which was a bit surprising; also good portions of Folk, Pop, Country and Rock 'N' Roll. Muddy Waters' Rolling Stone, Bill Monroe's Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, and Woody Guthrie's 1913 Massacre, are all obvious choices, but this collection wins most on the lesser known choices, like the great, odd, Rockabilly of Johnny and Jack's Uncle John's Bongos, the ethereal Folk of Karen Dalton's Ribbon Bow, or Bert Jansch's Nottamun Town. No matter what the point of this CD is, it is most certainly full of all kinds of great music with a lot of it rarely compiled. Includes great tracks by Josh White, The Stanley Brothers, Lonnie Johnson, Tommy Duncan, Bing Crosby, Curtis Jones, Leadbelly, Bukka White, Hank Williams, Blind Arthur Blake, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and many more fantastic artists. Does this collection reveal the true story of what made Bob Dylan who he is? How the hell would I know? But, it's definitely a great collection, well worthy of your hard earned dollars. (JM)
LOUIS ARMSTRONG: St. James Infirmary/ GENE AUSTIN: Lonesome Road, The/ CHUCK BERRY: Too Much Monkey Business/ BLIND BLAKE: You Gonna Quit Me Baby Blues/ RICHARD "RABBIT" BROWN: James Alley Blues/ BING CROSBY: Where The Blue Of The Night (Meets The Gold Of The Day)/ KAREN DALTON: Ribbon Bow/ REVEREND GARY DAVIS: Baby Let Me Lay It On You/ TOMMY DUNCAN: Daddy Loves Mommy-O/ RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT: Diamond Joe/ THE GRAHAM BROTHERS: Hard Times (Come Again No More)/ WOODY GUTHRIE: 1913 Massacre/ SLIM HARPO: Shake Your Hips/ BILLIE HOLIDAY: Having Myself A Time/ Strange Fruit/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Automobile Blues/ Someday Baby/ MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT: Louis Collins/ Stack-O-Lee/ THE INK SPOTS: We Three (My Echo, My Shadow & Me)/ BERT JANSCH: Nottamun Town/ JOHNNY & JACK: Uncle John's Bongos/ LONNIE JOHNSON: Tomorrow Night/ ROBERT JOHNSON: Little Queen Of Spades/ CURTIS JONES: Highway 51 Blues/ JACK KELLY: Highway 61 Blues/ B.B. KING: Thrill Is Gone, The/ FRANKIE LAINE: That Lucky Old Son/ LEADBELLY: In The Pines/ CURTIS MAYFIELD: People Get Ready/ BLIND WILLIE MCTELL: Delila/ THE MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS: Sitting On Top Of The World/ BILL MONROE: Blue Moon Of Kentucky/ ODETTA: Another Man Done Gone/ CHARLEY PATTON: High Water Everywhere Pt. 2/ THE STANLEY BROTHERS: Man Of Constant Sorrow/ TAMPA RED: It Hurts Me Too/ MUDDY WATERS: Rollin' And Tumblin Pt.1/ Rollin' Stone/ Rosalie/ BUKKA WHITE: Fixin To Die Blues/ JOSH WHITE: Barbara Allen/ The House Of The Rising Sun/ HANK WILLIAMS: Alone & Forsaken/ The Pale Horse & His Rider

 
AMERICAN KATE WOLF Collectables 7916 Poet's Heart $13.98
9 tracks, essential
Kate's sixth release, originally issued on Kaleidoscope in 1985 and subsequently on CD by Rhino but out of print for a number of years. Kate has delivered a sumptuous musical banquet graced by elegant composition, multi-textured instrumental backing, moving harmonies, and spatial free-flowing production qualities. There are no gimmicks getting in the way, instead we have nine memorable song-scapes to soak in. Poet's Heart begins this musical odyssey; it is a touching tribute to Australia's premiere folk hero Eric Bogle. All He Ever Saw Was You is nothing short of classic Kate Wolf. Dedicated in spirit to the memory of the Canada's Stan Rogers, this song showcases a brilliant ensemble of supporting musicians as well as the albums most singable chorus. Crying Shame is one of my favorites, a country flavored duet sung with great empathy by Kate and Alan Thornhill but every track has something to offer and this is certainly one of her best albums. (SG)

 

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