BEGGARS’ HILL – Beggars’ Hill (Talking Elephant Records TECD156)

Well, here’s a blast from the past…at least my past. Beggars’ Hill were a ‘collective’ from the Surrey area who, for a labour of love with that music we so endearingly call ‘folk’ recorded a selection of songs for their posterity and ours. The ‘band’ were around at the same time I was doing the rounds of the folk clubs and I would more often than not meet up with the band’s multi-talented strings player John “JM” Davis who also contributed a majority of the vocals including two leads (“Jack Hall” and “Poor Ditching Boy”) to the album and, just by chance, also worked with me in the band Erwillian. The nucleus of eleven members combined to make an ultimately pleasing sound on the ‘folk’ standards of the day including “Who Knows Where The Time Goes”, “Wild Rover” and even a version of Steeleye’s “Cannily, Cannily” and, although I suppose the album comes across as quite dated now (having been recorded in 1976) is still a must buy for Albion Band connected collectors everywhere. A unique selling point is that one of the guest musicians is a certain John Rodd who adds the dulcet tones of his concertina to “New St George” and “Here’s To The Last To Die”. For those that can remember that far back, John will best be remembered as a member of the Albion Dance Band and Antic Hey. I must admit that I didn’t think this album would be committed to CD but those exceedingly nice chaps at Talking Elephant (Barry and Malcolm) should be applauded for their efforts in compiling every known track affiliated to all things Albion. Ps/ I’ve just been on the Beggars Hill website and discovered that the album I sold to Beano’s Record Shop in Croydon was on sale for £250 quid!!! PETE FYFE

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