I don’t know what it is about Christmas but it always brings out the best in me particularly the seasonal songs. It seems that I’m not the only one either as this is the latest in a long line of several albums that the Albion Band have released on the theme. The band’s choice of material would appear to be inexhaustible and to prove the point they incorporate traditional fare such as “The Seven Joys Of Mary” and standards “In The Bleak Mid Winter” and “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” (each with their original melodies still intact) alongside more contemporary songs “Frozen Man”, “Comfort And Joy” and Dave Goulder’s classic “January Man” which are blessed with titles that settle nicely within the framework of the concept. As ever, Ashley Hutchings along with Simon Nicol, Kellie While and squeeze-box maestro Simon Care provide the core backing and vocals augmented by Guy Fletcher (violin/drums), David Tobin (cornamuse/recorder) and Mark Hutchinson on keyboards/percussion and production. Finally, perhaps it’s my age (or maybe as it’s a Christmas recording and I’m in Scrooge mode) but my only gripe with an otherwise blemish free production is that I’ve had to take up ‘squinting’ as a hobby because I can just about read the sleeve notes…sleeve designers please note 4pt as your choice of font size is not exactly ideal (!) That aside this is a recording that should be on every ‘folk’ enthusiasts Christmas wish list.
Label’s website www.talkingelephant.com
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