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Bulletin - January/ February 2010
Folk Music
Peter Bellamy ->
Various Artists




ENGLAND PETER BELLAMY Topic TSCD 582 Both Sides Then $14.98
15 songs, 57 mins, essential
Back in print on CD. Peter Bellamy was one of the finest folk song interpreters on the British folk scene and his suicide in 1991 was a major tragedy. Starting his career in the mid 60s as a founding member of the outstanding and influential group The Young Tradition he commenced a solo career when they disbanded and over the years produced one significant recording after another. His unique vocal style earned him the anagrammatic nickname Elmer P. Bleaty - once you heard him you would never forget him. His concertina and guitar playing, while not flashy were alway appropriate to the performance. He loved all kinds of traditional music and this recording - originally issued on Topic in 1979 was possibly the high point in his career drawing together his love of both English and American traditional music by alternating English and American songs - hence the whimsical album title. The result is spellbinding - the choice of songs impeccable, Peter's performances marvelous and he is joined at various times by such sterling musicians as Dave Swarbrick, The Watersons, Louis Killen and others. It's all so good that it's hard to pick favorites though his exquisite treatment of A-Roving On A Winter's Night from the family repertoire of Doc Watson with guitar and harmony vocal accompaniment by Lisa Null & Bill Shute is particularly fine. The Watersons join him on some lovely treatments of American spirituals like The Lord Will Provide and Long Time Travelling. But its all great and this CD release like the previous Fled'gling reissue has added the risque The Maid Of Australia previously issued on a Fellside collection. In addition to Peter's original notes on the songs this reissue features lengthy notes by Leslie Berman and Edward Haber and a warm tribute from Peter's good friend Martin Carthy. Essential indeed! (FS)

ENGLAND DAVY GRAHAM Decca (UK) 532 263-1 A Scholar And A Gentleman $29.98
Two CDs, 36 tracks, essential
A tribute to one of Britain's greatest and most influential guitarists who died in December 2008. This collection features some of the best tracks drawn from a number of albums and E.P.s recorded between 1962 and 1970 when Davy (or Davey as he later called himself) was at his very peak. Davy was adept at fusing blues, jazz, folk, world and even classical music and his playing influenced a generations of folk guitarists. This set opens with his original recording from 1962 of his original tune Angi which became a much covered tune and bcame known worldwide when it appeared on Simon & Garfunkle's first album (as Anji). Between 1962 and the last track here Forty Ton Parachute from his 1970 album Godington Boundry he tackles a wide variety of material - traditional blues songs ( Ain't Nobody's Business What I Do/ Rock Me Baby, etc.), traditional folk songs (She Moved Through The Fair/ Bruton Town/ Ramblin' Sailor), etc.), jazz standards (Sermonette/ Grooveyard/ Watermelon Man, etc), songs by Dylan and Lennon & McCartney and a whole heap of originals. It also includes tracks from his groundbreaking collaboration with English folk singer Shirley Collins - "Folk Routes, New Routes." Davy sings a few tracks but aware of his shortcomings of a vocalist he mostly sticks to guitar playing and throughout we hear the work of a true genius. After several upheavals in the early 70s including a divorce and a drug habit he did little recording and the few that he did make, though fine, lacked the spark of these earlier sides. Includes 20 page illustrated booklet with detailed notes by David Suff. (FS)
DAVY GRAHAM: Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do/ Angi/ Better Git In Your Soul/ Blue Monk/ Blues For Betty/ Bruton Town/ Buhaina Chant/ Bulgarian Dance/ Charlie/ Davy's Train Blues/ Don't Stop The Carnival/ Don't Think Twice, It's Alright/ Everything's Fine Right Now/ Fire In My Soul/ Forty Ton Parachute/ Getting Better/ Graham/ Grooveyard/ Hornpipe For Harpsichord Played Upon Guitar/ Jenra/ Maajun (A taste of Tangier)/ No Preacher Blues/ Nottamun Town/ Ramblin' Sailor/ Reynardine/ Rif Mountain/ Rock Me Baby/ Sermonette/ She Moved Through The Fair/ She Moved Thru' The Bizarre-Blue Raga (live)/ Sonnymoon For Two/ Stan's Guitar/ Sunshine Raga/ Take Five/ The Fakir/ Tristano/ Watermelon Man

IRELAND THE MCPEAKE FAMILY Topic TSCD 583 Wild Mountain Thyme $14.98
18 tracks, 50 mins, essential
What an absolute joy to finally have these magnificent recordings finally available on CD featuring some of the most sublime Irish folk music you're ever likely to hear. Every lover of folk music is familiar with the song Wild Mountain Thyme (also known as Will Ye Go Lassie Go) and while the origins of the song are somewhat controversial there is no doubt that this exquisetly beautiful song was introduced to the folk audience at large by The McPeake Family along with other songs like Slieve Gallon Braes and Verdant Braes Of Skreen which are all featured here along with other superb songs and tunes. The McPeake Family had a unique sound featuring father Francis, son Francis and his brother and sister James and Kathleen and grandson Francis (got that straight?!). They perform in various combinations often featuring three sets of uileann pipes (Francis, Francis & Francis) and harp (James). They sing in various combinations, sometimes acapella and sometimes accompanied and the sound is unique and exquisite - no fancy playing or ornamented singing - the result is artless and totally haunting. This CD features a 1962 Topic LP and an EP from the following year. If you love Irish music or any kind of folk music this is a must. (FS)

ENGLAND STEELEYE SPAN EMI (UK) 85436-2 A Parcel Of Steeleye Span - The First Five Chrysalis Al $21.98
Three CDs, 51 tracks, essential
A fabulous collection of music at a great price. A few years ago Castle Records issued the first three CDs of Britain's greatest tradition oriented folk rock band (still available - $25.98) and now EMI has made available their next five albums recorded for Chrysalis between 1972 and 1975 including several bonus tracks. Prior to signing Ashley Hutchings and Martin Carthy left to be replaced by guitarist and vocalist Bob Johnson and and bassist Rick Kemp. Though having a background in rock and blues they were right at home playing traditional music and by their sixth album they were joined by ex-Small Faces drummer Niegl Pegrum. The songs are mostly traditional though Steeleye gave them immensely creative arrangements that were faithful to the tradition yet able to fit into a rock format. Their first album "Below The Salt" yielded the single of their haunting acapella version of the classical motet Gaudete which became a surprise hit in England in Christmas of 1973 and this CD set includes the single version as well as it's flip The Holly & The Ivy. For their eighth album "All Around My Hat" they brought in pop producer Mike Batt who "sweetened" their sound somewhat and their single version of the title song became their biggest hit to date. Throughout the five albums their are many great songs, superb singing from Maddy, Bob and Tim and stunning instrumental work including stellar fiddling from Peter Knight. Among the many gems here are Sheepcrook And Black Dog/ King Henry/ Saucy Sailor/ One Misty Moisty Morning/ Allison Gross/ The Weaver And The Factory Maid/ Thomas The Rhymer/ Two Magicians/ Long Lankin/ Weary Cutter/ Black Jack Davey and many more. There are a few oddities showing the group's sense of humor including a couple of nursery rhymes and the inclusion of Peter Sellers on ukulele on New York Girls. Among the bonus tracks are a gorgeous version of Bonny Moorhen from the "Parcel Of Rogues" session and a live rendition of The Wife Of Usher's Well from 1974. All tracks have been newly remastered so even if you have all the CD releases of the albums this is worth your while and if you don't and you like folk rock this is absolutely indispensible. (FS)

ENGLAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Castle PULSE 150 Folk Guitar $10.98
A fine collection of guitar instrumentals along with the occasional vocals featuring some of the English (and one American) performers who put a uniquely English approach to guitar on the map. Drawn from recordings made for the Transatlantic group of labels between the mid 60s and mid 70s it features sides by Bert Jansch, Donovan, John Pearse, Stefan Grossman, Dave Murrell, John James & Pete Berryman, Willy Barrett, Ralph McTell, Isaac Guillory and others.


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