This recording should be a required purchase by every music consumer who considers themselves tuned in. My formative years of the folk-rock scene in the UK were amazing in that I was lucky enough to witness in their full glory acts such as Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, the Celtic styled JSD Band and Five Hand Reel and the quintessential English sound of the Albion Dance Band and later The Home Service. Of course, it was pretty selfish of us to feel that the band should be exclusively the preserve of the ‘folk’ world and that we, in a way would smother the band’s very existence by classifying it ‘folk’ music.
Still, we’re lucky enough that from the vaults comes this more than welcome release lovingly restored by the band’s lead guitarist Graeme Taylor and released on David Suff’s excellent Fledg’ling Records. This time I hope that the band are given the air to breath and flourish without the stigma of pigeon-holing. In some ways this octuplet (I’ve always wanted to use that term) come across as a traditional imbued Jools Holland Orchestra with first rate vocals (courtesy of the legendary John Tams) and a wind/brass section to die for. Every song and tune on the CD strike the right note with not one track out of place and (all too rarely) leaves you clamouring for more. This is an album that will make you proud to be British without the feeling the music’s been hijacked by some football team or other for their own nefarious purposes so let’s just wallow in the grandiose performances of “Alright Jack”, “Battle Pavanne/Peat Bog Soldiers” and the mellow “Rose Of Allendale”. Still, enough talking…I’m off for a serious dose of nostalgia and hopefully there’ll be many more who will join me in saluting the return of one of this country’s greatest musical ambassadors.
Artist Web Link: www.homeserviceband.co.uk