SHOW OF HANDS – Arrogance Ignorance And Greed (HMCD 29)

No resting on their laurels for that dynamic duo of ‘folk’, multi-instrumentalists Steve Knightley and Phil Beer bring home the bacon once again with a superbly crafted album that is positively crackling with great material. Now joined at the hip by bass player and vocalist Miranda Sykes, Show Of Hands well structured finger-wagging title track particularly at the ‘fat-cats’ from London and beyond is the voice of reason for a Nation sick to the back teeth of ‘rip-off’ bankers. Raking over coals in much the same way the Battlefield Band did with their diamond encrusted Zama Zama release a short while ago, Steve and Phil certainly know how to ‘have a pop’ and in much the same way as Peter, Paul and Mary, Tom Paxton and Bob Dylan did years before them the protestations of ‘folk music’ can certainly make itself heard above a lot of the crass drivel expounded on the airwaves today (did anyone watch the Mercury awards?). There is a darker, more gritty edge to this recording than the duo have been recognised for on past offerings and, with a bit of luck (although it might not go down too well in the loftier tiers of our society) this album could seriously make a dent where it needs to. Also added to the already heady mix are guests Mawkin:Causley and Jackie Oates on a stirring “Keys Of Canterbury”. With an impressive production that strips the musicians to their organic ‘acoustic’ roots Stu Hanna (one half of Megson) will gain much kudos from the recording ‘business’ and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. To complete the package I’d like to credit in despatches the terrific artwork and design by the team at Stylorouge. Nice one!

PETE FYFE

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