MERRY HELL – Let The Music Speak For Itself (Merry Hell MHMCD00123)

Let The Music Speak For ItselfRecently released Merry Hell’s Let The Music Speak For Itself is a retrospective look at the band’s back catalogue in a double CD and digital release which gives the avid fan and also the newcomer to Merry Hell’s music a superb look into what Merry Hell are all about.  28 great tracks for your delectation.  Spanning over twelve years and 100’s of gigs they have certainly earned their place on the music scene. Originating in the Northwest of England the band have changed personnel over the years but have kept the folk/rock theme throughout. The band asked their social media followers to help them choose what went on the double album as a good representation of their material, as with over 70 songs to choose from they needed help choosing 28!  Lots of singalong songs included.

Disc One kicks off with Andrew Kettle belting out the punky/rocky number ‘Drunken Serenade’.  A Merry Hell Classic!  ‘Let’s Not Have A Morning After (Until We’ve Had A Night Before)’ with the late Dave Swarbrick featuring is a humorous track followed by ‘Loving The Skin You Are In’ – a banjo country style singalong.  Slow numbers including ‘Lean On Me’ and ‘Rosanna’s Song’ sung powerfully by Andrew Kettle. ‘Stand Down’ is about freedom and justice, ‘Let The Music Speak For Itself’, ‘We Are Different’ and the wonderful ‘Coming Home Song’ about refugees pulls the heartstrings particularly the words ‘wind take our wings’.

‘Nobody Knows Me’ sung beautifully by Virginia Kettle, ‘Over The Border’ has an Irish feel. ‘The Bakers Daughter/Soldiers Joy’ leads perfectly to the end of Disc One with ‘Pendle Hill’.

Disc Two.  The first three tracks – ‘We Need Each Other Now’, ‘Come On England’ and ‘There’s A Ghost in Our House’ open up CD 2 with the exciting atmosphere of a live gig.  Environmental songs ‘Leave It in The Ground’ and ‘Emergency Lullaby’ make a statement.  Virginia tells a story in ‘Violet’, and ‘Man Of Few Words’ is a beautifully composed story as per the title. ‘The Gentle Man’ tells of family as does ‘Three Little Lions’, when next comes the rocky ‘Rage Like Thunder’. ‘Sailor’ has a bit of a seafaring hornpipe in the mix and ‘When Will We Meet Again’ tells of separation and longing.  ‘No Place Like Tomorrow’ where Virginia tells of being broken but there is always tomorrow. ‘Drunken Serenade featuring The Banshee Reel’ ending with ‘Emergency Lullaby’.

A wonderful and eclectic collection and one that has really whetted my appetite for a live gig.

Just in we have heard that Let The Music Speak For Itself album has reached the Top 40 in the Official Folk Albums Chart already!  Well done all!  Well deserved!

Jean Camp

Artists’ website:

‘Let’s Not Have A Morning After’ – live: