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Babajack ROOSTER

BabaJack is an acoustic blues/ folk band from Malvern that is fast becoming an established band on the Folk and Blues Festival circuits in the UK and into Europe: in the last year, they have played at Warwick, Bromyard, Bromsgrove and Shrewsbury Folk Festivals on main stages, Wychwood Festival (Big Top Stage), Blues in Wonderland, Upton, Skegness, Gloucester, Tenby, Buxton and Leamington Spa Blues Festivals on main stages and many more festivals are booked for 2012 and beyond.

The band are made up of Trevor Steger (acoustic/resonator/ winebox guitars & Harmonica) and Becky Tate (African drum, cahon, stomp & vocals) and the pair form the song writing nucleus of the band, and have now been joined by Marc Miletitch on double bass. They have previously had two albums released THE MAKER and the acclaimed EXERCISING DEMONS and ROOSTER is their third and finest release to date.

ROOSTER was recorded at the legendary Twin Peaks studios by Adam Fuest, one of the leading UK record producers, having gained seventeen platinum discs. The album has been recorded to capture the Babajack live sound, acoustic, rootsy and full of energy, recorded in the round with only a few overdubs. As for the songs, the theme running through ROOSTER is early blues, and the bands homemade instruments:  Winebox guitars, homemade cahon and djembe stand. Real music, like it was back in the day, played and performed with a passion. The songs are about people the band have met, their kids, their lives, things on the news… whatever touches them as people.

Money’s All Gone was written about the 2011 UK riots, Plenty More Fish harps back to when Becky’s first marriage fell apart (proper blues theme there), Burn All the Bridges is about how Becky felt about her daughter growing up, Skin and Bone is a combination of African influences from Trevor’s time in Zimbabwe, European strains and a deep blues theme, Crying for my Homewas inspired by a Russian woman Becky met while living in Paris. The songs are all story songs, all killer tracks with no fillers.

To support the release of ROOSTER Babajack with be touring up and down the UK and across the rest of Europe during 2012.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Bap Kennedy THE SAILORS REVENGE

For nearly any singer/songwriter on the planet, the idea of collaborating with Mark Knopfler would be the stuff of fantasy. But for Bap Kennedy, it was just the latest in a long line of projects with high profile, and highly respected, musical legends. For a man who has worked with Steve Earle and Van Morrison, to name just two, an offer to record an album in the Dire Straits frontman’s own studio was another musical milestone. THE SAILOR’S REVENGE, the album that Kennedy wrote and Knopfler produced, features songwriting that grows stronger with every listen, assisted of course by Knopfler’s distinctive delicious guitar and tasteful widescreen production.

“The best singer songwriter I ever saw” Steve Earle

Bap’s first encounters with the record business were as rhythm guitarist, lead singer and primary songwriter for Belfast rockers Energy Orchard, with whom he recorded 5 albums. When the band left Belfast, they established themselves as legends of London’s live music scene. It was while he was in Energy Orchard that Kennedy first worked with compatriot Van Morrison, who gave the band several support slots to supplement their own hectic touring schedule of both the USA and Europe.

When Energy Orchard split up, Bap had little time to rest, because alt-country superstar, and longtime Energy Orchard fan, Steve Earle soon contacted him, suggesting that he would produce Bap’s first solo album.

Kennedy agreed, and soon found himself on the plane to Nashville, TN, where he would record DOMESTIC BLUES. The album featured several of Nashville’s most highly regarded musicians, including Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan and Nanci Griffith. It was a real success, getting into the top ten of the Billboard Americana chart.

The follow-up album, LONELY STREET, was an artistic project based on, and dedicated to; two of Bap’s childhood musical heroes, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley and his next album THE BIG PICTURE would see Bap returning to work with Van Morrison, who had supported Kennedy since his Energy Orchard days. THE BIG PICTURE was recorded at Morrison’s studio, and included a Bap and Van co-write, Milky Way. The album also featured guest vocals from Shane MacGowan, lead singer of the Pogues, on the song On the Mighty Ocean Alcohol, and a reading from Carolyn Cassady, one of the leading figures from the Beat generation of American writers, at the end of the beautifulMoriarty’s Blues.

For Howl On, released in 2009, Bap recorded in his native Northern Ireland for the first time in his solo career and, much like with LONELY STREET, returned to writing a series of songs on a subject that had fascinated Bap in childhood.

THE SAILOR’S REVENGE features Kennedy’s most mature and sophisticated songwriting to date, an achievement in itself when you consider his back catalogue. Bap is joined by guest musicians such as Jerry Douglas, Glenn Worf and of course Mark Knopfler, all combining to ensure that the musicianship on the album is every bit as good as the songwriting. When it comes to the songs there are simply too many superb compositions to list here. Highlights include the album opener Shimnavale, a place that sits between the Irish Sea and the mountains of Mourne in County Down, inspired by old photographs of a family who lived there and Bap’s own experience as an immigrant. Working Man tells of Bap’s life as a builders labourer in the mid eighties while waiting for a record deal to come along and Jimmy Sanchez was written about the Chilean miners rescue where nineteen year old Jimmy, the youngest miner trapped was quoted as saying that God must want him to change, powerful words, hence the line in the song “I know I must change”.

THE SAILOR’S REVENGE is a phenomenal body of work and as “game changing” as a Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan with no brakes… We urge you all to buy it! folking.com

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Bap Kennedy is touring the UK, this month (March 2012), more information and the latest tour dates can be found at www.bapkennedy.com

DAVID GIBB and ELLY LUCAS – Old Chairs To Mend (Hairpin Records 002)

David Gibb and Elly Lucas are an exciting young duo who play a mixture of original and re‐worked traditional folk material. They hail from Derbyshire in the Midlands and have previously toured the UK extensively as part of David Gibb & The Pony Club.

David plays the guitars, melodeon and sings; Elly plays fiddle, viola and also sings. From these minimal resources, the twosome produce distinctive vocal leads, haunting harmonies and a quite dense instrumental sound. Their singing is simple and unadorned ‐ check out Elly’s wistful vocal on ‘Blacksmith’ from their début album ‘Old Chairs To Mend’ below:

The pair were chosen as finalists in the prestigious BBC Young Folk Awards 2011 and, on the road, have supported such acts as Cara Dillon, Chris Wood,Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Jez Lowe, and Megson.

In early 2011, they released their first EP, entitled ‘Three Children Sliding On The Ice’, garnering praise and national airplay from the likes of the Mike Harding Show (BBC Radio 2) : Mike Harding says ‘I was very impressed’.

‘Old Chairs To Mend’ is the brand new spanking new album from David Gibb and Elly Lucas and although we have not heard the album in full, we loved the snippets from the Amazon web link below – folking.com

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

LITHA – Dancing Of The Light (ARCD 3045)

A few years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the 2Duos outstanding debut CD. Since then they’ve changed their name to Litha but whatever title they choose, this certainly is a 4-piece more than capable of carving out their own unique slice of Celtic ‘folk’ history given half a chance. Diving straight in with a powerful set-up of guitar ‘chops’ and a swooping riff on the fiddle it opens the album with a bang on Tim O’Leary’s song “Blind George”. The vocals are delivered with passion by Aaron Jones but minus the heavy Scottish bur (think Dougie MacLean rather than Dick Gaughan) often associated with a majority of bands of this genre and, in my opinion are all the better for it. The captivating tonal qualities of Germany’s Gudrun Walther provides a wonderful juxtaposition within the band in much the same way that brother and sister Micheal & Triona O’Domhnaill did in the Bothy Band and like ‘The Bothys’ debut album this really is an exciting prospect. As if to cement the deal check out “Rosie’s Reels” where all four members including Claire Mann’s driving fiddle and Jurgen Treyz rhythmical guitar accompaniment really prove their mettle as inspired instrumentalists. The group’s choice of songs by Suzanne Vega and Karine Polwart’s Radio 2 friendly “Waterlily” will be forever immortalised like a stamp through a stick of Brighton rock and all members are to be complimented for their ‘arty’ but consumer friendly approach to their music. By the way trivia fans…for those wondering where they’ve heard the tune ‘New Claret’ at the end of the ‘Flying Dairymaids’ it’s the elusive title of the tune Fairport couldn’t find in their “Flatback Caper” set on the Full House album.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist Web link: www.litha-music.com

Ledfoot Gothic Blues Volume One

LEDFOOT a.k.a. Tim Scott McConnell was born in a trailer-park in Florida 1958. At the age of 15 he started to play biker bars around Florida and moved to New York when he was 17. He played all the famed underground clubs in NY such as legendary CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City and the Mud club.

In 1979 he joined the band The Rockats and signed a deal with Island Records and toured around the USA for the next five years.

In 1989 he started The Havalinas with Smutty Smiff (Rockats, 13kats) and Chalo Quitana (Cruzados, Bob Dylan, Social Distortion). The band signed to Elektra after a bidding war between the major companies and released THE HAVALINAS in 1990. They toured around USA extensively and did support gigs for Bob Dylan, Chris Isaak and Tina Turner. The Havalinas toured all over the world including three tours of Europe this helping to raise Tim’s profile this side of the Atlantic. In 1993 Tim Scott moved to Norway and the bands only release on Electra became their first and only album.

In Norway Tim signed with Warner Music who released the album DECEIVERS AND BELIEVERS in 1994. This album gave Tim heavy radio play in Norway and across Europe. In 1996 he recorded an album on Waterfall Records, the same year as Bruce Springsteen recorded Tim’s song High Hopes on the BLOODBROTHERS EP and DVD.

Ledfoot is the culmination of Tim’s 35 years of history and experience as an artist.

GOTHIC BLUES VOLUME ONE was recorded in the hours between nine and midnight one day in April 2011 giving the recordings a very heartfelt live sound.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Sarah McQuaid The Sun Goes On Rising

The Sun Goes On Rising is the first single from The Plum Tree and the Rose, the forthcoming third album by Sarah McQuaid, featuring two tracks from the album plus a bonus guitar instrumental. Sarah McQuaid is a gifted and captivating performer whose warm, haunting alto is delicately cradled by her “sparkling guitar” (Sing Out!). She is both song crafter and song collector, equally at home with traditional Irish and Appalachian folk songs, Elizabethan ballads and 1930s jazz numbers.

Her musical output is a direct and unfolding reflection of her own eclectic background: Sarah was born in Spain, raised in Chicago, holds dual US and Irish citizenship, and currently lives in rural England. While the genre, era and geographical location of her songs may change, at their core is a musician who has soaked it all in – and, luckily for us, is able to eloquently express the stories she’s gathered.

A folk album is not complete without comment on our current socio-political climate, and Sarah does excellent justice to the global economic downturn on “The Sun Goes on Rising,” co-written with Gerry O’Beirne (Midnight Well, Patrick Street, Sharon Shannon Band), who produced The Plum Tree and the Rose as well as its two predecessors. As percussionist Liam Bradley’s shuffling snare sets a tone of relentless perseverance, the fear of debt and poverty is embodied in the proverbial lurking “wolf at the door” – but, as the chorus points out, there’s hope for the patient.

Up next is Sarah’s cover of “Solid Air,” the late John Martyn’s tribute to Nick Drake, delivered here as a soulful duet with Bill Blackmore on trumpet.

The single’s final track is a bonus download-only release, not included on the album, of “The Duke of Somersette’s Dompe,” a 16th century lute piece that Sarah (author of The Irish DADGAD Guitar Book) has arranged for DADGAD-tuned guitar. The Dolmetsch Music Dictionary defines the “dump” or “dompe” as “a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century slow, melancholy old English dance form usually in 4/4 time, … the title’s meaning possibly that mentioned in Ralph Roister Doister, the comedy written by Nicholas Udall (1504-1556), namely a melancholy induced by love.”

The Plum Tree and the Rose represents a departure from Sarah’s previous albums, which focused on her arrangements of traditional material, in that nine of its thirteen tracks are originals. Although a thread of personal experience is woven into the material, Sarah truly shines as a teller of parables. Whether she’s recounting the life of 16th century businesswoman Bess of Hardwick or standing in a cathedral and pondering the immortality of the soul, the specific detail subtly manifests a universal truth. These are songs that linger in the listener’s imagination.

Sitting surprisingly comfortably alongside the self-penned numbers and the “Solid Air” cover are “S’Anc Fuy Belha Ni Prezada,” a 13th century “alba” or dawn song sung in Old Occitan, a sparse arrangement of Elizabethan composer John Dowland’s “Can She Excuse My Wrongs,” and “New Oysters New,” a three-part canon published in 1609 by Thomas Ravenscroft, featuring guest vocalists Niamh Parsons and Tom Barry.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Sarah McQuaid Catalogue

The Plumb Tree & The Rose (March 2012)

I Won’t Go Home ‘Til Morning

When Two Lovers Meet

Crow Coyote Buffalo (As the duo Mama – Zoë Pollock & Sarah McQuaid)