NEWSLETTER #128
Folk Music - American, British Isles, Europe
Albion Dance Band -> Various Artists

THE ALBION DANCE BAND
MARTIN CARTHY
JEAN-FRANCOIS DUTERTRE
FAIRPORT CONVENTION
 
MADDY PRIOR
JOHN RENBOURN
ALICE STUART
RICHARD THOMPSON
VARIOUS ARTISTS
 

 

ENGLAND THE ALBION DANCE BAND BGO BGOCD 486 The Prospect Before Us ● CD $17.98
16 tracks, 48 mins, essential. Previously on EMI Harvest. This, along "Battle Of The Field," marks, to my mind, the high points in the career of the ever changing group of musicians assembled around one of the architects of the British folk rock scene, Ashley Hutchings. Intended as a dance band the group featured two drummers (Michael Gregory and Dave Mattacks), two electric guitarists (Simon Nicol & Graeme Taylor), singer and melodeon player John Tams, Ashley on bass and lending a medieval flavor were Phil Pickett and John Sothcott who played such ancient instruments as curtals, shawms, bagpipes, vielle, crumhorn and more. Pickett also provided occasional synthesizer. With the exception of the French group Malicorne I cannot think of any other group that has so effectively wedded contemporary and ancient instruments. Joining the fun are vocalist Shirley Collins and vocalist and dance caller Eddie Upton. The material is a mixture of traditional (Huntsman's Chorus/ Wassail Song/ Hopping Down In Kent, etc) along with tunes from British 17th century composers like John Playford and Henry Purcell (Masque Tune/ Minuet/ The Whim, etc). The material and performances are consistently superb and don't let the "Dance" part deterr you - this is as wonderful to listen to as it is would be to dance to. For the CD reissue EMI have added the previously unissued Sussex carol On Christmas Night All Christians Sing and an alternate take of my favorite tune here Merry Sherwood Rangers originally issued on a single. Remastering is superb and the disc comes with a booklet with extensive notes on the group and the performances. This disc, like the LP, boasts one of my favorite cover design and the inside of the booklet reproduces the delightful back cover of the album. One definitely not to miss. (FS)

 
ENGLAND MARTIN CARTHY Highpoint 6001 The Definitive Collection ● CD $9.98
17 track introduction to the Topic recordings of one of Britain's greatest musical treasures - includes sides with Brass Monkey and Waterson:Carthy as well as solo tracks and sides with dave Swarbrick - Jolly Tinker/ The Sheepstealer/ The Trimdon Grange Explosion/ Prince Heathen/ The Bows Of London/ The Dominion Of The Sword/ Jack Rowland and others.

 
FRANCE JEAN-FRANCOIS DUTERTRE Buda 189402 Chanson Traditionelle De Normandie ● CD $16.98
Fine 15 track collection of traditional songs collected in the Normandy in the 70s and performed here by the excellent Dutertre who accompanies himself on hurdy gurdy or zither along with the occasional acapella performance. There is occasional added accompaniment on some tracks featuring accordion, guitar or violin. Includes 36 page booklet with notes by Dutertre on the background and the individual songs.

 
ENGLAND FAIRPORT CONVENTION Island IMCD 293 Unhalfbricking ● CD $13.98
10 tracks, 48 mins, essential. Newly remastered versions of the group's third album from 1969 with two bonus tracks. This album was one of their best and the one that presaged their yet to come groundbreaking album Liege & Lief (reissued recently on Island 291 - $13.98). This album includes several originals by Sandy & Richard including Richard's but magnificent Genesis Hall with a spellbinding vocal by Sandy and Sandy's most famous song - the moving Who Knows Where The Time Goes. There are 3 Dylan songs including their whimsical French version of If You Gotta Go and a lovely treatment of Percy's Song. The superb version of the traditional Sailor's Life is the first to extensively feature Dave Swarbrick's fiery fiddling, and points the way to their next album. The bonus tracks include yet another Dylan song Dear Landlord recorded at the "Unhalfbricking" session and their version of Ballad Of Easy Rider which was recorded at the "Liege & Leaf" sessions. Includes another 16 page booklet with notes by Ashley and loads of great vintage photos. Quintessential English folk rock from its greatest exponents. (FS)

 
ENGLAND FAIRPORT CONVENTION Island IMCD 294 What We Did On Our Holidays ● CD $13.98
15 tracks, 49 mins, highly recommended Newly remastered version of the group's first Island album from 1969 with three bonus cuts. Featuring Sandy Denny, Ian Matthews, Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Martin Lamble and Ashley Hutchings the group hadn't quite focused and some of their songs (mostly written by Sandy & Richard) show them to be still under the spell of West Coast folk rock. Still this does include such gems as the exquisite Fotheringay, the bluesy rave up Mr Lacey, the song that was to become their theme song Meet On The Ledge and a couple of fine performances of traditional songs that presaged things to come. The bonus tracks include Throwaway Street Puzzle which was the B-side of the Meet On The Ledge single, a rare radio track with Richard playing slide guitar and Some Sweet day which was intended for single release but subsequently shelved. The newly remastered sound is simply breathtaking and the CD is packaged in a slip case with a 16 page booklet with new notes by Ashley Hutchings and great vintage photos and memorabilia. (FS)

 
ENGLAND FAIRPORT CONVENTION Polydor (UK) 068 291-2 Fairport Convention ● CD $13.98
Newly remastered reissue of Fairport's first album originally issued in 1968 plus four bonus cuts - one side of their first single and three previously unissued cuts recorded in 1968. Handsomely packaged in a slip case with 16 page booklet with new notes by Ashley Hutchings and some great photos in color and black and white.

 
ENGLAND MADDY PRIOR Park PRKCD 54 Ballads & Candles ● CD $18.98
18 tracks, 65 mins, highly recommended Wonderful collection featuring Maddy recorded live during a shor tour in 1999 where she was joined on vocals by June Tabor and her daughter Rose, former Steeleye Spanners Peter Knight and Rick Kemp and other fine musicians. The repertoire is largely traditional along with a few originals, much of it drawn from the Steeleye and Silly Sisters repertoire but with very differnt arrangements and are tremndous. The version of Betsy Bell & Mary Gray with only fiddle accompaniment is truly spine chilling. Other songs include Blacksmith/ Boars Head/ All In The Morning (an acapella solo by June)/ Sing, Sing All Earth/ Hind Horn/ Long Shadows/ Rose/ Alex/ Blackleg Miner and others. Wonderful stuff! (FS)

 
USA ALICE STUART Arhoolie 9034 All The Good Times ● CD $9.98
Reissue of Alice's 1964 Arhoolie album with 8 bonus, previously unreleased, tracks. Alice got her start in Seattle in the early 60s and is still performing and recording. She has a pleasing, clear voice and accompanies herself on guitar, banjo and autoharp on a varied selection material including Appalachian ballds, country and cowboy songs, humorous ditties, country blues and more. Includes Leavin' Home/ Beatnik/ Black Jack David/ Everyday Dirt/ Stackerlee/ Seven Beers With The Wrong Woman/ All The Good Times/ I'll Turn Your Money Green/ Kassie Jones/ Three Jolly Rogues/ Frankie & Johnny and others.

 
ENGLAND RICHARD THOMPSON Cooking Vinyl 251 The Old Kit Bag ● CD $19.98
First new album by Richard in a number of years finds him back on an independent label after years with Capitol. 12 new original songs with stripped down arrangements featuring Richard on electric and acoustic guitars, Danny Thompson/ bass and Michael Jerome/ drums plus occasional harmony vocals from Judith Owen.

 
MISCELLANEOUS VARIOUS ARTISTS Highpoint 6002 The Definitive Folk Collection ● CD $9.98
17 track compilation of sides drawn from Topic's great catalog of folk recordings - mostly from the last few years. Includes sides by Eliza Carthy, June Tabor, Colin REid, Waterson:Carthy, John Tams, Oliver Knight, Norma Waterson, Tarras, Blue Murder and others. An excellent introduction to the folk scene in the British Isles.

 
ENGLAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Talking Elephant 051 Son Of Morris On ● CD $13.98
20 tracks, 44 mins., highly recommended. Ashley Hutchings, credited by some as the father of British folk-rock, is certainly a scholar of no small achievement and harder working than any 10 normal people. In 1972 he put together a modern gloss on Morris dance music called "Morris On" which heralded a huge revival in interest in that odd and varied English tradition. This CD is a re-release of the 1976 follow-up album with two bonus cuts, featuring actual dances, arrangements of Morris tunes, and broadside ballads and songs from associated traditions. John Tams, Shirley Collins, and Martin Carthy are among the vocalists. Various Fairporters, Albion Morrismen, and others abound throughout. The whole is not a dance record as much as a presentation of a wide breadth of musical expression loosely associated with Morris, happy, bouncy, jangly, sometimes bawdy and silly, always fun. This new release includes a booklet with new notes by Ashley Hutchings. (DC/ FS)

 

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