HOME SERVICE – A New Ground (Dotted Line DLCD002)

a new groundAfter quite a hiatus in band history Home Service march on with their terrific new album A New Ground. Losing three band members in a short space of time might have meant calling time on their 25 year history but no, Home Service are back, refreshed and folk rocking like never before.

It has taken a while to fit the band jigsaw back together but the result was worth waiting for with a vibrant set of songs fronted by the well-travelled John Kirkpatrick whose precise delivery of lyrics resonates with feeling throughout the album.

Home Service recognises the writing of A New Ground as a team effort. Such collaborations can result in disaster by committee but not here; each track is as strong as the next and each has the individual characteristics of a bunch of highly talented experienced writers challenging each other.

‘Kellingley’ opens the album with hints of a medieval riff, a philosophical tribute to miner’s strength and bravery but recognising the need for a cleaner planet; a familiar eco-ode but delivered with the passion only folk folk can do. Another familiar theme shines through in the moving ‘The Last Tommy’ written by a lady of many talents, Issy Emeney. Many a song and complete works have questioned the futility of war but this is something different, simple and powerful. “Three million young men marched away to war, a generation later, three million more”. Why? “I’m Free” is the refrain.

After such a thought provoking start the album moves on in a lighter tone with a great version of ‘Papa Joe’s Polka’ that allows the band to flex themselves; this is followed by a more traditional tone set with ‘Arthur McBride’.

We then turn to 1683 with the album’s title track ‘A New Ground’ being based upon Henry Purcell’s ‘Here The Deities Approve’, a simple arrangement of keys and tenor saxophone hold the track together behind Fitzpatrick’s great delivery. John’s son Benji, freshly released from his own Bellowhead big band duties has penned ‘Wallbreaker’ expertly arranged by the Home Service team.

Our band of writers draw inspiration from diverse sources; ‘Dirt, Dust, Lorries and Noise’ was written by John Kirkpatrick for the 1990 anti-British Coal protest play The Dirty Hill which is followed by ‘The Kings Hunt’ a rousing 17th Century work given the full Home Service treatment with the band displaying their individual talents as the track builds; this will sit well with a festival crowd.

On it goes, each song a gem sitting beautifully in this wonderfully constructed album. Things mellow a little with ‘Melting’ which could have been picked from many a West End play but was actually written by Derek Pearce for his solo album Paradox. A fine piece follows with an uplifting arrangement by John Kirkpatrick of ‘Ten Pound Lass’ that seamlessly flows into ‘The Skies Turned Grey’; more cracking lyrics from Issy Emeney handled with tender care and affection by the Home Service arrangement.

The album exits on another high with ‘Cheeky Capers’; hints of Ska and early Specials – surely not! But this is what you get with A New Ground; it really is a delight at every turn.

Simon Goodale

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 HOME SERVICE – A New Ground link 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.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artists’ website: www.homeserviceband.co.uk

‘Arthur McBride/Chaconne’ – no new videos yet:

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John Kirkpatrick joins Home Service

John Kirkpatrick joins Home Service

John Tams has announced his retirement from Home Service – we thank him mightily for all his work with us and wish him well!

“A combination of circumstance not least and most recently an 8-part television drama series has drawn me reluctantly to leave Home Service effective from September 13th 2015”, said John. “This decision, whilst difficult, aims to avoid compromising the future for Home Service at a time when my restricted diary would make forward planning impossible. There are no issues beyond this and I leave my friends and colleagues, some of almost 40 years standing, in the certain knowledge that they are ‘The best damn band in the land.’ I send them my fondest thoughts and support for their continuing success. I’ll miss you lads!”

We are excited to announce that we have now regrouped with two new members and a revamped brass section.

Replacing Tam would never be an easy task, but with John Kirkpatrick joining our ranks we have found exactly the calibre of character and musicianship required. John will take over the lead vocal role and add his inimitably masterful accordion.

Also, we must announce the emigration of Jonathan Davie to Thailand. Huge gratitude and best wishes are due to Jon, whose replacement has also taken a lot of consideration. However, we can heartily welcome the wonderful Rory McFarlane (ex Richard Thompson band) to join us on bass.

Furthermore, now we have John K on board, Steve King will be not only be gracing the keyboard, but freed to stand tall amongst the brass section and exhibit his skills on tenor saxophone, helping to create an even more dynamic sound. The new line-up has already begun recording a new album at Morden Shoals Studio – watch this space to follow its development!

We shall miss you both greatly Tam and Jon, but know that you both wish the band all good fortune in its future voyage of discovery…

Artists’ website: http://www.homeserviceband.co.uk/index.html

Dai Jeffries Interviews Graeme Taylor from Home Service

Graeme Taylor Rehearsals 2011.... Our very own Dai Jeffries caught up with Graeme Taylor last month to talk about his pivotal role in Home Service, the bands history, his accident and his other theater and musical projects.

The band has had quite a journey since the highly successful festival season in the summer of 2011 which put them back at the epicenter of the folk rock map, Home Service was then nominated in two categories for Radio 2’s Annual Folk and Roots Awards, where they secured ‘Best Live Act’ at The Lowry, Manchester in February 2012.

The reunion of this classic band came about after the discovery, in early 2011, of some previously unheard live recordings made by their faithful sound engineer on a couple of cassette tapes that had languished in the back of his wardrobe for the last 25 years. These recordings, made at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1986, exhibited a power and commitment that was never fully captured in the studio, so a live album release immediately became inevitable.

Home Service was originally formed from the creative nucleus of the Albion Band line-up that produced the classic “Rise Up Like the Sun” album, singer-songwriter John Tams feeling the need to explore more contemporary themes in his writing and its musical interpretation. Songs like “Walk my Way”, “Alright Jack” and ”Sorrow” were anthemic observations on the unfairness of Thatcherite Britain and its social inequalities. The crushing irony is that they sound as potent now as they did then, thereby making this band’s work as relevant as ever.

Listen to Part 1 of the Graeme Taylor interview below: Continue reading Dai Jeffries Interviews Graeme Taylor from Home Service

HOME SERVICE – Live 1986 (Fledg’ling Records FLED3085)

This recording should be a required purchase by every music consumer who considers themselves tuned in. My formative years of the folk-rock scene in the UK were amazing in that I was lucky enough to witness in their full glory acts such as Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, the Celtic styled JSD Band and Five Hand Reel and the quintessential English sound of the Albion Dance Band and later The Home Service. Of course, it was pretty selfish of us to feel that the band should be exclusively the preserve of the ‘folk’ world and that we, in a way would smother the band’s very existence by classifying it ‘folk’ music.

Still, we’re lucky enough that from the vaults comes this more than welcome release lovingly restored by the band’s lead guitarist Graeme Taylor and released on David Suff’s excellent Fledg’ling Records. This time I hope that the band are given the air to breath and flourish without the stigma of pigeon-holing. In some ways this octuplet (I’ve always wanted to use that term) come across as a traditional imbued Jools Holland Orchestra with first rate vocals (courtesy of the legendary John Tams) and a wind/brass section to die for. Every song and tune on the CD strike the right note with not one track out of place and (all too rarely) leaves you clamouring for more. This is an album that will make you proud to be British without the feeling the music’s been hijacked by some football team or other for their own nefarious purposes so let’s just wallow in the grandiose performances of “Alright Jack”, “Battle Pavanne/Peat Bog Soldiers” and the mellow “Rose Of Allendale”. Still, enough talking…I’m off for a serious dose of nostalgia and hopefully there’ll be many more who will join me in saluting the return of one of this country’s greatest musical ambassadors.

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: www.homeserviceband.co.uk

RETURN OF THE CROPREDY EXILE – By Dai Jeffries

Whisper this, but I hadn’t been to Fairport’s Cropredy Convention for twenty years. I had felt it was getting too big for my personal comfort – when I first went there was one campsite, now there are seven – but an insistent invitation drew me back this year. In fact what are bigger are the camper vans, the folding chairs and, dare I say, the waistlines. We older and …er…more substantial punters do like our comforts. Some aspects of the festival are more technological and sophisticated. The bar is a marvel of mobile opulence although initially no more efficient than in the days when there was oneWadsworth’s lorry, lots of barrels and one choice of beer. That’s no reflection on the brilliant bar-staff, by the way, but logistics do sometimes let the side down. Continue reading RETURN OF THE CROPREDY EXILE – By Dai Jeffries