Bluehorses – Dragons Milk and Coal

This album bays loudly and stampedes the listener with a sound that has been created by the fusion of a classic Rock technique thrust into a delicate layer of traditional folk. Liz Prendergast’s vibrant electric fiddle and gritty vocal control works beautifully on tracks like “Rabbit in the Headlights” and “Dragons, Milk and Coal”. Nic Waulker hammers out the funky drum parts, Rob Khoo keeps it all pinned together with his thumping bass line, while Martyn Standing’s provides trail blazing guitar antics in “Liberty”. Another gem from the album is “Barbara Allen” a high-energy tale of treachery and love with foot stomping fiddle and guitar parts.

The “Mining song”, written straight from the heart is about the 1913 explosion which rocked the tiny town of Senghenydd, to the north of Caerphilly in Wales. The tragedy became know as the Aber Valley/ Senghenydd pit disaster and the explosion, and subsequent release of poisonous gas, killed 439 miners, making it the most lethal and tragic mining disaster in British history. On the morning of Tuesday 14 October 1913, nearly 950 men had been working below ground, one of those men being Lizzie’s Granddad on his last shift.  The chorus of the song, resonates the spirit of the miners echoing voices, calling out, down the tunnels of time.

Every track on the album is a winner and the CD also contains live versions of “Witch in Wedlock” and “Old Haslams Bits” as a bonus.

Reviewers Name –The Folkmaster – 17-May-2001

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2014 update from “the folkmaster”… It’s a real shame as I can’t find a current website for this brilliant band but I did find a Wikipedia entry here for those that need a little more background – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bluehorses

Shave the Monkey – Good Luck Mr Gorsky

Original folking posting date – 17-May-2001

When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” statement but followed it by several remarks, whilst communicating between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky” statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.

On July 5, 1995 (in Tampa Bay, FL) while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

When he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball which landed in the front of his neighbor’s bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. & Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, “Oral sex! You want oral sex?! You’ll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”

While Shave the Monkey are still fundamentally a folk rock band, their latest album also reflects their musical interests outside the folk world. The fourth album “Good Luck Mr Gorsky” is an exploration of Jazz-funk, techno and pop, together with some tracks nearer to the “Euro folk” style of their previous albums. Yet the album is unmistakably Shave. The band says that they are not deserting their folk fans, just flexing their muscles.

Track Analysis:

ON THE EDGE, Irish-American folk rock.
PERFECT MATCH, a pop love song.
BROKEN ROCK, haunting vocals.
BEYOND THE PADDINGTON SLIP, a high-energy Flemish tune
MOVING SOFTLY, a fine duet.
LAAYOUNE, bouncy, meaty and fun.
SCARED explores the stresses of modern life.
ANOTHER DAY, written after a nightmare.
SCORCHIO, an instrumental that leaves a blazing trail behind it.
STRANGERS LAND, misadventure on the high seas.
LAST GOODBYE, an up-beat ghost story.
HYPOCHONDRIAC/COBRA, as near as Shave get to a full on techno track.

Reviewers Name – The Folkmaster

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Ashley Hutchings – An Hour With Cecil Sharp


Not exactly an hour but who’s counting? Bearing in mind the current debate on the nature of Englishness, this is a timely and welcome re-issue of the 1986 vinyl album that followed up Ashley’s successful show, “An Evening with Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings”.

Part entertainment and part documentary, it is a celebration of the work of Cecil Sharp and an intriguing insight into one of the most influential characters of the folk revival.

There is a great deal of fascination in hearing some of the early cylinder recordings featured here and the whole album should be regarded as essential listening for any one who has an interest in the folk tradition and its development.

Throw in some terrific playing from Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy and Dave Whetstone and you have a CD that’s well worth the price. It fits easily as part of series that includes “Rattlebone and Ploughjack”, “The Complete Dancing Master” and “A Word In Your Ear”.

Review courtesy of Folk on Tap

Originally posted on folking – 17-May-2001

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Flook – Flatfish

FLOOK FLATFISHOrginal folking.com Posting date – 17-May-2001

Flook are like a well-oiled machine, with the many parts working in harmonious precision. Driving the sound is the flute interplay of Brian Finnegan and Sarah Allen, supported by the deft rhythm section of guitar and bodhran. ‘Flatfish’ is full of vitality and energy, from the outset the track ‘Calico’ sets the scene with it’s flutey fruity antics. ‘Eb reels’ moves the sound into overdrive, with a frantic cascade of intricate flute parts. Slower and more reflective moods are captured in ‘The Gentle Giant’ and ‘Flatfish’. ‘Happy Jigs’ is uplifting and sprightly, while ‘Flutopia’ is a rich cornucopia of European styles which twist and turn at every corner. This album’s unique flute based sound gives it a cutting edge, which holds your attention from start to finish.

folkmaster@folking.com

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Artist web link – http://www.flook.co.uk

Martyn Joseph – Far from Silent

Far from Silent” is about real life, people and experiences. When you listen to the words behind the songs you begin to understand the depth to Martyn’s world. Like the destruction of communities, cultures and traditions portrayed in the song “All in the Past” or the irony and false obsession in the words to “Celebrity“. Martyn Joseph is a visual cinema with the perfect sound track. I remember my first screening of “The Mayor of Candor Lied” a roller coaster period drama with an ending that will give Spielberg a run for his money. By far the most poignant song on the album is “The Good in Me is Dead” a song that express the hopelessness and desperation of a Kosovo refugee whose life has been torn apart by war. “Far from silent”, is an album that will make you think, which is a rarity in today’s silver “rapped” chocolate world of pop.

Folkmaster May 2001

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Lorraine Jordan – This Big Feeling

“This Big Feeling” has it all: Syncopated rhythms where guitar, cello, accordion and bouzouki work together in perfect harmony, blended with soft rhythmic swing vocals that accompany travelling blues, to the sunnier rhythms of Hawaiian slide guitar, mixed with meandering accordion and gospel undertones.

“This Big Feeling” is a huge achievement. Lorraine has not only composed and written the majority of songs and plays guitar/ bouzouki or percussion on all of the tracks, but also has gathered together a tightly knitted group of musicians who underpin the wonderful depth to her vocal range giving the album tremendous feeling, expression and composition.  The Folkmaster

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Artist web link: https://www.lorrainejordan.net/