The Self Preservation Society

Here is something that must have been a lot of fun to do… Released by ECC Records – 19th February 2018 – A really folking brilliant, folk-rocking and beautiful listen, I can tell you – the folkmaster.

‘The Self Preservation Society’, a stunning vinyl-only triple compilation album, three years in the making. Personally curated by Mark Constantine, founder of Lush and a passionate music fan, the album features 34 versions of songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s, bringing together some of the finest progressive, folk and psychedelic moments of that era. Original compositions by artists as diverse as Genesis, Nick Drake, The Doors and Frank Zappa have been reinterpreted by a galaxy of established and rising stars including Teddy Thompson, Eliza Carthy, Jackie Oates, Marry Waterson, Julie Tippetts and Honeyfeet. The album captures a period of time that was rich with experimentation; an era when anything and everything could happen. The result is a magnificently diverse, six-sided jewel of a record.

Mark Constantine on Teddy Thompson’s version of The Zombies classic, She’s Not There, taken from the album…

The track is one of many “from a period of time when my friends and I were experimenting by listening to everything from West Coast bands like The Byrds to classically-inspired groups such as The Nice,” says Mark Constantine. Honoured and thrilled that that some of his favourite artists, many of whom he had worked with before, shared his enthusiasm and passion for these songs, he added, “Each track has had the deluxe treatment from a collection of great individuals, bands and producers. The result means a great deal to me, and I can’t stop listening to it.”

The album will be available from all Lush stores (plus via the amazon link below) bringing this extraordinary collection to a new audience. The record is full of breathtaking moments, many of which sound unlikely on paper but are stunning in reality. The Imagined Village’s take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, featuring pounding dhol drums of Johnny Kalsi and Eliza Carthy’s incredible vocal performance, is an undoubted highlight. Barney Morse Brown’s version of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”, a face-off between layered cellos and pounding drums, adds a sinister, ghostly edge to a rock classic. Beautiful vocal performances by Jackie Oates, Rosie Doonan and Marry Waterson bring nostalgic memories of The Zombies, The Byrds and Leonard Cohen into sharp focus. And two versions of Quincy Jones’s “Get A Bloomin’ Move On” – the theme to the 1969 film The Italian Job – bookend the album.

“They were truly extraordinary times,” says Simon Heyworth, who mastered the record. “I was an avid attendee at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco… I would go to every concert I could, including Cream, Blind Faith, The Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield. I never saw The Zombies perform, but Teddy Thompson’s rendition of ‘She’s Not There’ is brilliant. I love the way all these recordings sound.”

‘The Self Preservation Society’ is released on heavy-weight triple-vinyl . If you would like to order a copy, then click 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.

‘The Self Preservation Society’ Track list:

Get A Bloomin’ Move On – The Pickled Walnuts
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack – Beagle & Amalthea
Hocus Pocus – Man Diamond
Time Of The Season – Jackie Oates
Fresh Garbage – Julie Tippetts
I Wouldn’t Leave My Wooden Wife – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Gunga Din – Rosie Doonan & Ben Murray
I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) – Beagle & Amalthea
Lady Eleanor – Ben Murray
As You Said – Doonan, Oates & Manga
Sunshine Of Your Love – Barney Morse-Brown
Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Marry Waterson
Hello, I Love You – Beagle & Amalthea
Reasons For Waiting – Honeyfeet
She’s Not There – Teddy Thompson
Riders on the Storm – The Dhol Foundation featuring Charlie Casey
Kashmir – The Imagined Village (feat Eliza Carthy)
White Rabbit – Honeyfeet
America – The Naked King
Utterly Simple – Sheema Mukherjee
For What It’s Worth – Kami Thompson
Don’t Bogart Me – Honeyfeet
Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Lullaby – Matt Shaw & James Porter
Graveyard – Jackie Oates & Barney Morse-Brown
Terrapin – James Porter
The River – The Naked King
Montana – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Get A Bloomin’ Move On – Dream Themes
Nantucket Sleighride – Beagle & Amalthea
Stamping Ground – Iamesh and the Secret Collective
Moonchild – The Naked King
Time Has Told Me – Ben Murray

USB EXTRA – It Happened Today – Wojtek Godzisz

ECC Records Web link: https://www.eccrecords.co.uk/about/

ELIZA CARTHY & THE WAYWARD BAND – Big Machine (Topic TSCD592P)

Big MachineFrom her debut solo album back in 1996, Carthy has never been predictable in her constant determination to both celebrate and reinvent the folk tradition and, while that may not have always endeared her to purists, it has produced a remarkable – and sometimes challenging – back catalogue. Her latest is no exception, here working with the big-band set up on her festival appearances, a 12-piece line –up that includes, among others, Beth Porter on cello, melodeonist Saul Rose, Mawkin’s David Delarre on guitar, bassist Barnaby Stradling from Blowzabella and former Bellowhead fiddler Sam Sweeney.

Aptly titled to reflect the sound, Carthy appearing on the front cover like some kind of folk Boudica leading her tooled-up army into battle, the material follows a similar pattern of self-penned originals, traditional reworks and covers, kicking off with a strident metronomic rhythm arrangement of one of ‘Fade & Fall (Love Not)’ complete with plucked cello and soaring brassy flourishes. It’s one of three Manchester Ballads, the others being equally strident shanty ‘The Sea’ with its martial beat and sweeping fiddle and, introduced with a cosmic keyboards whoosh, stumbling domestic violence number ‘Devil in the Woman’ with its repeated refrain chant ‘charming little woman”.

Staying in the traditional arena, the album’s longest and arguably most striking number sees her joined by Damien Dempsey for the eight-minute ‘I Wish That The Wars Were All Over’ (performed live onstage in the studio), a Roud ballad sung from the perspective of a soldier’s love, stemming from the American Revolution and referencing the Seven Years War, collected by the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, from Dartmoor miner Sam Fone. Featuring a tinkling repeated piano pattern, melodeon, fiddle it has Carthy in tender vocal form, counterpointed by Dempsey’s keening longing. Interestingly, it has also been recorded by American folk artist Tim Eriksen with whom she made 2015’s Bottle album.

Ewan MacColl’s cabaret-like lurching shanty ‘The Fitter’s Song’ provides the title source, the melody a variation on ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’, with the third cover seeing her joined by the scion of another folk family dynasty, Teddy Thompson lending his voice to a rousing gospel-blues shaded treatment of Rory McLeod’s ‘Hug You Like A Mountain’ providing a showcase fiddle spotlight.

The remaining numbers are all Carthy originals, indeed the whale-themed shanty ‘Great Grey Back’ is a new treatment of a song that originally featured on Wayward Daughter, here with massed vocal backing rather than just one voice. One is an instrumental, the rousing part vocalised but wordless ‘Jack Warrell’s (Exerpt) – Love Lane’, while, another big sound, ‘Mrs. Dyer the Baby Farmer’, with its fiddle lament intro, is essentially a murder ballad concerning Victorian serial killer Amelia Elizabeth Dyer who took in babies that were unwanted or could not be cared for, ostensibly to be adopted, and despatched them to Jesus. ‘Epitaph’ closes the album on another murder ballad, here a cabaret-like tale of death by custard poisoning, Willy Molleson providing the thundering drums. The remaining track again underlines Carthy’s willingness and thirst to experiment and push the folk envelope, ‘You Know Me’ a commentary on hospitality and the refugee crisis (“the door is always open and the fires are blazing, no one ever turned away, the fruit in our garden is always good”) that, with a scratch intro and set against a dub-styled rhythm, features a rap by MC Dizraeli. Arguably her best work since 2008’s Dreams of Breathing Underwater, it further confirms her as one of the fiercest and most striking voices in contemporary folk music.

The album also comes as a deluxe edition that includes ‘Aleppo in the Sun As It Was’ from last year’s English Electric EP as well as the demo of ‘The Fitter’s Song’ and five extra tracks, including both a fiddle and vocal version of ‘Three Day Millionaire’.

Mike Davies

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 website: www.eliza-carthy.com

‘Fade And Fall (Love Not)’ – official video:

 

THOMPSON – Family (Fantasy FAN36392)

ThompsonAfter last year’s Linda Thompson album saw a family gathering of sorts, in as much as her children, Teddy and Kami, son-in-law James, grandson Zak and ex-husband Richard, as well as his other son, Jack, variously featured on different tracks, this, as the title suggests, is much more of a united reunion. Conceived as a means of putting the family back together, Teddy contacted parents and siblings with the proposal that each should contribute two songs to the project, which he would orchestrate and produce. Everyone duly responded, writing and recordings their songs at their individual bases, which were then forwarded around the clan for overdubs, before coming together for four days in London and New York for the final recordings. They weren’t all in the room at the same time, something that might have well-tested Richard and Linda’s cautious rapprochement, but, if it wasn’t a full reunion in the flesh, it was certainly one in terms of emotion and spirit.

Embracing an overall Thompson-esque folk-rock sensibility, Teddy kicks the album off with the strumalong title track’s upfront dose of confessional therapy as, as well as referencing his own romantic implosion, he admits to the self-doubt that, can come from having parents, one of whom is “one of the greatest to ever step on a stage” and the other “has the most beautiful voice in the world”, and, as he says Sean Lennon will well know, never being quite able to be your own person, never quite able to deal with the pain. He shouldn’t beat himself up, like his own past albums and the material he wrote for mom, the song clearly shows the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, though it would be understandable if his older sister, Muna was not best pleased by the line about how Kami “is prettier still”.

Like his dad, rock‘n’roll is also in Teddy’s blood, hence his other song, ‘Right’, a country boogie kiss-off you could imagine Dave Edmunds doing where those Roy Orbison echoes sound out. Richard’s own numbers, on which, as per Teddy’s scheme of thing, he cedes electric guitar to either Jack or James, highlight his stylistic diversity, ‘One Life At A Time,’ a swipe at people sticking their nose into others’ business, sounds curiously like Creedence’s ‘Almost Saturday Night’, while ‘That’s Enough’, with its soaring family harmonies and a lyric about the “fairy dust” and “pie in the sky” politicians keep dishing out, is firmly in the tradition of those early R&L swayalong folk rock anthems.

Zack and Jack provide a track each, the former the fingerpicking 60s folk blues ‘Root So Bitter’ and the latter ‘At The Feet Of The Emperor’, a brooding five minute guitar and bass showcase, while Kami, though initially reluctant to enter what she felt could well prove the songwriting equivalent of a pissing contest,   has two credits, one solo and one with her husband. The second, which closes the album, is the rather lovely Gram and Emmylou-like yearning acoustic ballad ‘I Long For Lonely’ while the first, ‘Careful’, is a sprightly, poppy, ringing guitar (that’ll be dad) rocker of a Buckingham-Nicks persuasion. It also confirms her reservations about the competitive element in that it apparently prompted Linda to go back and rework one of her two songs in order not to be overshadowed.

Not that was ever much danger of that since, good as the second and third generation may be, it’s the parents, if only by dint of experience, shine brightest, her piano-accompanied, achingly vulnerable hymnal ‘Perhaps We Can Sleep’ and the acoustic guitar backed ‘Bonny Boys’, a mother’s heartfelt and hard won advice to her son about finding love, providing the album’s most potent emotional charge. Although the Thompsons may give the lie to the old adage (and Spirit album title) that the family that plays together stays together, the album is fulsome evidence that the bonds are far greater than the divides.

Mike Davies

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.

Artists’ websites: www.teddythompson.com www.richardthompson-music.com www.lindathompsonmusic.com www.therailsofficial.com

Two very exciting pieces of Nick Drake news…

WAY TO BLUE THE SONGS OF NICK DRAKEThe first, is that WAY TO BLUE – THE SONGS OF NICK DRAKE is released on Navigator Records, April 15, 2013.

The concet features Teddy Thompson, Vashti Bunyan, Green Gartside, Robyn Hitchcock, Lisa Hannigan, Scott Matthews, Krystle Warren, Danny Thompson and many more and was recorded live in London and Melbourne.

“Every week, somewhere in the world, singers gather in clubs and halls to sing the songs of Nick Drake. It is sobering to think that more people now hear his songs in a month than ever heard them in his lifetime.” – Joe Boyd

Undoubtedly one of the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years, Nick Drake found little mainstream success during his lifetime; however, since his untimely death at the age of 26, his fragile acoustic, autumnal music has touched the hearts of millions of people.

Over the years since Drake’s death, his original producer Joe Boyd has explored the possibility of producing an album in tribute to his songwriting. But despite many well-known artists wishing to participate, he always resisted, because it seemed the only practical way to accomplish it would be for each artist to supply a track recorded separately, with their own chosen musicians.

Boyd felt that the only way to avoid the pitfalls of the typical Tribute Album would be to have everyone together for a week in a rural studio, backing each other with harmonies and guitar parts, creating an organic whole of an album. By performing Way To Blue fifteen times over the course of four years, he has accomplished something resembling his original dream.

The songs have been honed and shaped over the course of time, and the spirit of togetherness among the Way To Blue company has proved inspiring to all participants.

The recordings on this new CD are the edited highlights of concerts in London and Melbourne; the interpretations provide evidence, if such evidence was ever needed, of the timeless depth of Nick Drake’s qualities as a songwriter. The result is an album with the quality of a studio production and the spontaneity of a live performance.

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.

Writing in the album sleeve notes, Joe says,

“Selecting singers has been one of the most rewarding parts of this exercise. One criterion was that none of them should sound like Nick.Vashti Bunyan is the one singer who actually knew Nick. I tried to get them to write songs together, but should have known that two such self-contained people would have trouble provoking one another into a collaboration. Since that time, the arc of Vashti’s career has been almost as remarkable as Nick’s, with the gratifying difference that she has survived to enjoy the late (but not too late) adulation of a generation of singers, songwriters and fans.

Robyn Hitchcock was too young to know Nick, but not by much. He grew up, he says, “with his nose pressed up against the glass of the Sixties” and has carved out a brilliant career, bringing to his own songs and his interpretations of Dylan, Syd Barrett, the Incredible String Band and Nick Drake a genuinely original evocation of the mad spirit of those years.

Shortly after the Birmingham Town Hall show, as I was preparing a concert of Incredible String Band songs at the Barbican, I learned that Green Gartside, whose Scritti Politti recordings I had loved in the ‘80s, wanted to come and ‘play some back-up guitar or sing harmony’. I asked him whether he was equally fond of Nick Drake. You can hear the response in his performance of “Fruit Tree” on this cd.

Lisa Hannigan is a magnetic and melodic singer with clever, thoughtful songs. I had but to mention Nick to her and she was on the team. Her wild take on “Black Eyed Dog” brought down the house the first night and has done so ever since.

Scott Matthews, a Midlands singer-songwriter who went from small clubs in Wolverhampton to earn an Ivor Novello Award, sell 80,000 copies of his debut cd and duet and tour with Robert Plant. The passion and power of his version of “Place To Be” has all the more impact for the fact that it sneaks up on you.

Krystle Warren is an African-American woman with a powerful voice and impeccable taste who loved Nick and wanted to sing “Time Has Told Me”.  I saw in her the realization of a dream I had from the time I first heard Nick’s demo of  the song and was convinced it should be Roberta Flack’s follow-up to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”.

Teddy Thompson is the talented son of my old friends and colleagues Richard and Linda Thompson. Teddy has his mother’s exquisite phrasing and sense of humour and his father’s intensity. Teddy’s seemingly effortless rendering of “Riverman” became one of Way To Blue’s highlights.

When we received an offer to tour Australia, we decided to bring six singers with us and add two locals. The male choice of Shane Nicholson was easy – he has become one of Australia’s favourite singers, winning award after award. Shane slotted easily into the show and delivered the impeccable “Poor Boy” you hear on the cd.

The female voice proved more difficult until I discovered the mesmorizing singing of Australian Zoe Rendell who with Steve Hassett, comprises the duo Luluc. The lineup was complete.

From his characteristic entry at the start of the second verse on “Things Behind The Sun”, many will recognize the “Danny Thompson feel” underpinning Way To Blue. A jazzer, he has lent his skills to dozens of my productions and hundreds of albums by artists across the pop, folk and jazz fields. Nick loved Danny, both for his playing and for the way he teased and cajoled him, never letting him retreat into his shell, drawing laughter from him whenever they met.

Nick was never a folkie and some from that world have been uncomfortable with his privileged education and accent. Yet Neil MacColl, son of that founding anchor of British folk, Ewan MacColl, is the most supremely accomplished virtuoso of the impossibly complex Drake guitar parts. Which needn’t be that much of a surprise – his mother Peggy Seeger is a banjo and piano virtuoso who can startle the uninformed by playing brilliant renditions of Debussy and Scriabin!

Kate St John insisted on Zoe Rahman for the piano chair. Zoe has been a revelation.  She is a jazz player, but her own albums deftly weave in the music of her Bangladeshi heritage; making the leap to the very English art-song of Nick Drake seems just another effortless step accomplished with the fluency of a virtuoso devoid of any hint of jazz cliché.

Guitarist Leo Abrahams warmed my World Music heart by adding the Ukrainian bandura to his adventurous use of effects. When he was unable to make the Australian tour, Steve Jones proved a more than able deputy. He shares with Leo a background of working with Brian Eno and composing film scores.

Also bringing World Music chops to the party is drummer Martyn Barker, who performs with the Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara duo as well as Billy Bragg and Beth Gibbons.

Each concert featured a section of seven string players. The personnel have altered with each tour, but first violins Oli Langford and Jules Singleton have provided brilliant leadership and all the British, Italian and Australian players have given us wonderful energy and have clearly loved playing Robert Kirby’s and Kate St John’s arrangements.

The sadness of honouring a poet who died so young was compounded when Robert Kirby passed away as we were preparing for the first Way To Blue tour. Robert was a classmate of Nick’s at Cambridge; the musical context of Nick’s first two albums is that of a collaboration between two friends. He took Nick’s music on its own elegant terms and created a body of work that has lasted far past both his and Nick’s life spans.

It would be impossible to imagine Way To Blue without Kate St John. Her impeccable taste on accordion and cor anglais combine with her arrangements and direction to provide the glue that holds this diverse project so sweetly together.”

NICK DRAKE BRYTER LAYTER REMASTERED AND BOXED VINYL EDITIONThe second piece of news is that the NICK DRAKE – BRYTER LAYTER – REMASTERED AND BOXED VINYL EDITION is OUT 29TH APRIL 2013 ON UNIVERSAL MUSIC CATALOGUE

Continuing the ReDISCovered boxed vinyl series of Nick Drake’s albums, Island Records presents his second album BRYTER LAYTER in a format similar to that used for the release of Pink Moon in 2012.

The album itself is a near exact replica of the original 1970 release, pressed on heavyweight audiophile vinyl, and remastered at Abbey Road from master tapes by the album’s original engineer John Wood.  Although the first generation master tapes were found to be unusable, Wood had made a safety copy of the album in 1970 and it is from this that the new album has been struck.

The vinyl comes in an Island card inner bag in a single pocket textured sleeve just as the original release would have done. In addition it is housed in a box containing a copy of the original shop poster, a smaller ‘Live’ poster/brochure and a reprint of Nick’s handwritten set list together with reproductions of the master tape reel and tape box lids.

The album comes with a selection of downloadable electronic formats, including either high-resolution files, the usual MP3 files or unique Dubbed-From-Disc files for that authentic play-back experience.

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.

Vinyl

Wayward Daughter – The official biography of Eliza Carthy…

Since appearing at the Vancouver Folk Festival aged just thirteen, Eliza has sung and played across the globe, recording critically acclaimed albums – including Red Rice and Anglicana, which were both nominated for the Mercury Music Prize – and collaborating with a whole host of movers and shakers including Paul Weller, Cerys Matthews, Richard and Teddy Thompson, Billy Bragg, Stewart Lee and Patrick Wolf, amongst many, many others.

She is the Wayward Daughter of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson, giants of the British folk scene. In this official biography, released on May 9 courtesy of Soundcheck Books, Sophie Parkes discovers how Eliza came to inherit the family talent and continue the family trade: reinterpreting, reimagining and renovating English traditional music, and grounding it very much in a modern day experience.

If you would like to order a copy of the book 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.

A new mini-site providing more details about the book, including photos, podcasts and Q&As, in the run up to the release date can be found at http://www.elizacarthybook.co.uk/