Even before the final farewell tour begins Pandemonium –The Essential Bellowhead hits the streets just in time for Christmas lists everywhere. The tracks were reportedly selected by the band themselves and cover the band’s career from E.P.Onymous to Revival.
Bellowhead didn’t launch themselves in a big way back in 2008. There was one gig, then another and rumours of more. I heard them in the early days in a venue that just couldn’t cope with their power – the brass mics were off but, even so, if you were on their side of the auditorium that’s what you heard. Jon Boden was brilliant – a quivering tower of energy, spitting out his lyrics, but no-one could honestly have predicted how big they would become.
Pandemonium is a real party album. It kicks off, quite literally, with ‘New York Girls’ (scheduled to be the next single), ’10,000 Miles Away’ and ‘Roll Alabama’ before throttling back a little with ‘Fakenham Fair’. It’s still a big song but the arrangement allows space for fiddle, melodeon and Pete Flood’s unique percussion to stand out with Paul Sartin’s oboe leading the playout. ‘Gosport Nancy’ picks up the pace again. ‘Betsy Baker’ is nearest they come to a gentle love song and ‘Let Her Run’, ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’ and ‘Yarmouth Town’ return to the nautical themes they so enjoy.
‘Prickle-Eye Bush’ comes from their first EP and is, to be honest, a song that I think is much overdone but Bellowhead do it well, as you’d expect, with funky melodeon from John Spiers. ‘Whiskey Is The Life Of Man’ is another relatively minor song while ‘Cold Blows The Wind’ eschews the usual mournful tone for a more anarchic style before ‘London Town’ wraps up the proceedings. And that’s it – until the lost recordings and the box set appear!
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Fresh from their victory as winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album, 11-piece folk super-group Bellowhead reveal their new video for their already incredibly successful single, Roll The Woodpile Down. It’s no secret that Bellowhead are one of the best live bands around (as their 5 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Live Band will attest) and this brand new video showcases the band in their element – live at a sell-out show in Glasgow.
On the 17th of October, Paul Johnson caught up with Jon Boden (from Bellowhead) at the Broadside album launch party in the aptly named “Water Rats” hostelry in old London town. The interview took place just outside the toilet… We can a-shore you that its all “above board” if you get our drift. Unfortunately however, like the transcript of the interview, our old sea-dog, Paul “Johno” Johnson appears to be sinking at the very end leaving poor old Jon Bowden desperate to bail and the folkmaster with a long weight for the interview hence the posting delay Continue reading Paul Johnson interviews Jon Boden from Bellowhead at the Broadside Album Launch…
Dartford is an unforgiving one-way nightmare – let my mate Les Elvin tell you about it sometime. Arriving at The Orchard Theatre just as Bellowhead were starting neither of us were in the best of moods but our frayed tempers were immediately put at ease by the brash delights of the band striking up. This personable eleven-piece don’t just effervesce, they EXPLODE Continue reading BELLOWHEAD – The Orchard Theatre, Dartford 28.01.12
Released in October 2010, the ‘Hedonism‘ album has quickly become one of the best selling folk releases of modern times. After a packed summer of 23 UK festival appearances that concluded with a performance at BBC Radio 2’s Hyde Park concert, Bellowhead then embarked on their second sell-out UK tour in support of the album in November and have a European tour scheduled in early 2012. A new in concert DVD entitled ‘Hedonism Live‘ was released at the conclusion of the November tour and really gives a great insight into why the band are at the top of their game .
Recorded in Bournemouth at the O2 Academy in May 2011, the two hour set contains 23 songs drawn from all three albums released by Bellowhead to date.
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.
I suppose the mark of any good CD is when you can play it to your mates (even those not remotely interested in ‘folk’) whilst grooving like an ‘acoustic’ version of Bill & Ted in the car and you can play it loud (if you’re so inclined) without offending passers-by. OK, so the mix of Indian and British folk cultures has been attempted before (most recently by Michael McGoldrick) but to get the balance right commercially is like walking a tight-rope. Continue reading MOONSHEE – Moonshee (Park Records PRKCD114)