GILBERT O’SULLIVAN – Gilbertville (Hypertension HYP 11275)

I don’t know why but I suppose you could call me a Sunday afternoon kind of person. Perhaps it’s due to my nature of relaxing listening to the likes of Aled Jones, Steve Wright or Terry Wogan on the radio. Those of a certain age will I’m sure know that same feeling and perhaps those not too precious to own up to it will also include a liking for the songs of Gilbert O’Sullivan. If so, I count myself amongst you. OK, so not strictly ‘folk’ in the true sense of the word but 1970 was a turning point for me as it was this year that first made me listen properly to the lyrics of a song and “Nothing Rhymed” was that particular song. It’s composer O’Sullivan made a great impact and from then on I purchased (more or less) everything he recorded. Having recently caught up with him via the early morning TV chat shows I picked-up on the fact he had recorded a new album so instinctively obtained a copy…and boy, am I pleased I did. Good contemporary songriters are rare to find in as much that they run the gammut of emotions and, by way of a bonus, as a musician they can take you from a solid waltz, (and on this occasion) to the blues and even a bit of Cajun for good measure. From gentle love ballads such as “Here’s Why” to a song about the inevitable deaths of the passangers and the anguish conveyed to their loved ones by mobile phones from the planes heading for the twin towers on the song “All They Wanted To Say” this really is writing of the highest calibre. Gilbert could of course have made this composition mawkish but in buoying the song in a tune that is almost at odds with the subject matter he makes things a more than pallatable work of art. This is the kind of performer that can just as easily switch from providing melancholy moods to a study in humour with that quintessential British brass band backing (think Peter Skellern) on “Where Would We Be (Without Tea)” and if you hadn’t guessed it already I’m a fan and I’d certainly suggest that you try this album if you were in any doubts he is a ‘folk’ musician at heart.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. 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: http://www.gilbertosullivan.net/

Any Forgotten Thing – The new album form HUNGRYTOWN

Any Forgotten Thing is the second album by the acclaimed songwriting and performing team of Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, known collectively as Hungrytown.  The CD features twelve original tracks, recorded entirely in the couple’s home studio, affectionately known as Song Catcher, over a two-month break between tours.  “It’s appropriate that this CD was recorded at home,” Rebecca explains, “because it’s our house and our struggle to maintain it that provided the inspiration for this album.” Married in 1994, by late 2003, Rebecca and Ken were ready to embark upon their new lives as full-time musicians, moving from their office day jobs and a towering apartment in lower Manhattan to a creaking little house nestled in the hills of southern Vermont.  They were unfamiliar with the duties of rural home ownership, and before too long, the roof leaked, the porch sagged and their tiny home seemed about ready to tumble off its fieldstone foundations. Continue reading Any Forgotten Thing – The new album form HUNGRYTOWN

CARA DILLON – Live At The Grand Opera House (Charcoal Records CHARDVD001)

CARA DILLON Live At The Grand Opera HouseOK, some of us lesser mortals working within the confines of the poverty stricken ‘folk scene’ would find it hard to muster enough funds to run to making a top-notch DVD but thank goodness that some can. Seth Lakeman, Bellowhead, The Transatlantic Sessions and of course Cara’s previous DVD “The Redcastle Sessions” are all shining examples of how well this minority music can flourish in the art of visual presentation. Cara will require no introduction for those that have followed her burgeoning career from the early days with the band Oige (and yes, I’m pleased to say “I was there”) to the full-blown heights she has arrived at today. A thoughtful selection of songs predominantly selected from her critically acclaimed album “Hill Of Thieves” plus extras including “Black Is The Colour” and “There Were Roses” along with a set of tunes “The Knotted Hanky/The Huntsman/The Gold Ring” and you have a perfect evening. Although the DVD is squarely focused on the lady herself, Dillon’s associates as one would expect are a who’s who of the Celtic music scene and in this respect we have Ed Boyd (guitar), Zoe Conway (fiddle), James Fagan (guitar/bouzouki), Brian Finnegan (flute/whistles), Sam Lakeman (piano/guitar), Eamon Murray (bodhran/shaker) and James O’Grady (Uilleann pipes/low whistle). Full credit must also be given to the excellent camera crew (I think I counted about five) who between them managed to capture the musicians flailing fingers and plenty of smiles from both the audience and band. The only thing I can find at fault with this otherwise well produced DVD is the ‘behind the scenes’ extras which is a video played over and over again…three times actually…accompanied by different songs. Cheap, but not so cheerful – Hey Ho but I suppose you can’t have everything.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of the DVD then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. 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.

ROSIE DOONAN – Pot Of Gold (Silvertop Records SRCD03)

Moving away from your previous audience comfort zone (in this instance the ‘folk’ music scene) can never be an easy choice for any artist to make but let’s face it, in the dog eat dog world of the music ‘industry’ occasionally these decisions have to be taken…and not lightly. Still, Rosie hasn’t forsaken her ‘roots’ entirely although from the opening track “Fall For Me” it might lead you to believe otherwise. The startling introduction with full on drum kit bashing away like an unmixed session featuring the Muppets aptly named percussionist ‘Animal’ might not be received too well in certain quarters but on the other hand, it might attract those looking for a fix of Lily Allen with a lyrical style that is…how shall we say…bloke-ish? For me though, it’s the more attractive nature of the gently pulsating (I presume) tambourine and maracas exploited on the track “Lay Your Love” and the Mexican influenced waltz song “Into The Fire” that really take pole position on what turns out to be a very satisfying album. This recording could be a case of the ‘pop’ world winning out to us sensitive ‘folkies’ but hopefully it might be seen reflectively as a take-over bid for common sense and let’s face it there’s precious little of that coming from the likes of Tinie Tempah.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. 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.

Pilgrims’ Way – EP (Own Label)

In these days of ever encroaching technology isn’t it pleasing to hear someone getting back to their ‘roots’ and performing on the unassuming, some might say teeth shattering Jews’ harp. I’m pleased to report that the perfectly pretty mouth of Lucy Wright is none the worse for her ordeal and her vocals sit very well with Tom Kitching (fiddle/mandolin and vocals) and Edwin Beasant (melodeon/guitar/bass and vocals). Not to be outdone instrumentally herself, young Wright also plays second fiddle (her words, not mine) on a set that establishes the band’s traditionally biased repertoire. As well as a jaunty “Tarry Trousers” and “The Handweaver And The Factory Maid” the trio also get a resounding thumbs-up for including Les Barker’s striking song “Maybe Then I’ll Be A Rose” (also covered some while ago by June Tabor). On the strength of this ‘sampler’ recording, the protagonists have secured many festival bookings and a full-blown album is to be released on Fellside Recordings and should be available shortly (Ed.now available below!). Definitely one to look out for! Now can somebody point me in the direction of a good dentist? PETE FYFE

Artist web link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pilgrims-Way/131686003547457

STEVE KNIGHTLEY – Live In Somerset (Hands On Music HMCD33)

It’s certainly to an artist’s credit when he opens a live performance by singing a traditional unaccompanied ballad “All Things Are Quite Silent” with such confidence that the audience couldn’t be anything other than impressed. But then what else would we expect from an artist the calibre of Steve Knightley? Without his usual tag-partner Phil Beer, Knightley is comfortable in the knowledge that predominantly his own song-writing, instrumental and vocal skills are all that’s required to give the listener what they want. On occasions such as “The Oakham Poachers” (hands up who remembers Steeleye’s ‘Bold Poachers?) where he is joined on some subtle dobro by Phillip Martin it is the little additions that make the arrangement more poignant. Of course, no Knightley experience would be complete without a couple of Show Of Hands standards and in this he does not disappoint by including “The Galway Farmer” and “Cousin Jack”. No mean showman, Steve finishes with a flourish on the anthemic “Now You Know” with the audience chanting as if they were at a rock concert and a fitting rapturous round of applause left ringing in his ears. Great stuff! PETE FYFE.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. 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 links: https://www.facebook.com/steveknightley