RUSTY SHACKLE – The Raven, The Thief & The Hangman (Get Folked Records)

The Raven, The Thief & The HangmanRusty Shackle are a vibrant and energetic five piece folk-rock band from South Wales who I had the pleasure to see perform on the main stage at BunkFest, Wallingford in 2018. They have previously released three studio albums and one live album. The Raven, The Thief & The Hangman is the result of two years researching folk music and stories then writing their brand of music to provide an exciting setting for the olde worlde words.

The first track ‘Hanging Johnny’ sets the tone of the album, it’s a bit of a foot stomping tub thumping experience. ‘Sam Hall’ follows in the same manner and ‘Newport Rising’ is an anthem song. ‘Long John’ is a bit slower, but still has a bit of oomph. ‘The Holy Ground’ is more gentile with mainly an acoustic guitar accompaniment that gives you a bit of a breather.

If there is a song that feels a bit out of place it is ‘Coorie Doon’ with its piano that sounds like it’s come out of a Western and Pogue-esque growly voice, I was half expecting Kirsty MacColl to come in over the top with some jolly vocals, but she doesn’t.

‘The Raven’s Song’ takes us to a much more boppy place with hand claps and pipes and clever overlapping vocals. ‘St James Infirmary’ brings us back on track and if Kasabian had a banjo in their line up this is what they’d sound like! The final track ‘Time Of Death’ also sounds Kasabian-ish and is another track with a great beat and is a great way to close the album.

I’m looking forward to seeing them live again in a few weeks in Witney.

Duncan Chappell

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Artist’s website: www.rustyshackle.com

‘Sam Hall’ – official video of the first single:

ME AND MY FRIENDS – Look Up (Split Shift Records – MAMFCD001)

Look UpThis is a cool album from a band I’d not come across before. Their Facebook page describes the band as “the sound of English folk colliding head-on with the golden-era music of 1970s West Africa and the Caribbean”. There are nine tracks on the album two of which are instrumental, these are the title track ‘Look Up’ and ‘You Read My Mind’. The songs are bass and rhythm driven ranging from the upbeat and happy ‘Another Lifetime’ and ‘High as the Sun’ to the laid back ‘Good Life’.

Me And My Friends have an original yet familiar sound to them that reminded me very much of Sade, though I guess I’m showing my age now as ‘Diamond Life’ came out in 1984! You’ll see what I mean when you listen to ‘Promise Me This Much’. The band are made up of Emma Coleman on cello and vocals, James Grunwell on bass, Fred Harper on drums and percussion, Sam Murray on clarinet and vocals and Nick Rasle on vocals and guitar.

The album was recorded at Henwood Studios by Tom Excell (who produces Megan Henwood so well) and James Grunwell and produced by James. All the songs are written by the band except the last track ‘Sometime’, a John Lee Hooker song wonderfully executed by the band.

I will be seeing this band live as soon as I can.

Duncan Chappell

We have set up a new UK & U.S Storefront for brand new CD/Vinyl/Download releases recently featured together with a search facility for older stuff. The link for the folking store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/

Click to order featured CD/ Vinyl/Download/Book/DVD

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’ website: www.meandmyfriends.co.uk

‘Look Up’:

THE MAGIC LANTERN – To The Islands (Hectic Eclectic Records)

Magic LanternReading the PR notes there were several references to jazz, and as I’m not a jazz aficionado I didn’t think I would enjoy this CD, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Jamie Doe (aka The Magic Lantern) has a wonderfully mellow voice with a great range and sings with superb diction so you can hear the story being told. He covers topics as varied as his Dad’s Alzheimers, ‘Two Bells’ to finding his wife, ‘Re: Her’, and a myriad of other doubts, fears and hopes.

This is his third album album that includes a number of previously released singles ‘Holding Hands’, ‘Albatross’ and ‘Lydia’ and it has a very contemporary feel. It puts me in mind of Me For Queen, aka Mary Erskine, especially the use of brass and keyboards on ‘Holding Hands’ and the subtle brass on the gently rolling ‘Between The World And Me’.

This is an album to sit in a softly lit room with your favourite libation and just gently chill, letting that warm mahogany voice transport you to a comfortable safe place. Enjoy!

Duncan Chappell

Artist’s website: https://the-magic-lantern.co.uk/

‘Albatross’ – live at Abbey Road: