GALLEY BEGGAR – Silence and Tears (Rise Above Recordings RISECD189)

GalleyBeggar3I first encountered Galley Beggar at the Half-Moon, Putney, where they were playing support to Mike Heron and Trembling Bells. They were, quite simply, terrific; folk-rock played with gusto. At the time they were two albums to the good, but both albums, though very enjoyable, failed to capture the essence of Galley Beggar live. This, their third album, goes some way to redressing that.

Modern production values shy away from reverb going, instead, for a drier sound. A preference I have never understood. This album is mixed with reverb throughout, giving it a more live feel. The band seem to be playing more freely too, with a less studio-bound style.

The opener, ‘Adam and Eve’ is a good solid folk track and gives you a foretaste of what is to come. There are a couple of traditional folk songs, my favourite being ‘Geordie’, but the standout tracks for me are ‘Empty Sky’ and the wonderfully psychedelic ‘Pay My Body’.

Maria O’Donnell has a voice well suited for folk songs and she is backed by an accomplished group of musicians in Celine Marshall on violin, Bill Lynn on bass, Paul Dadswell, on drums and backing vocals and some stylish guitar-work by both David Ellis and Mat Fowler. Only eight tracks on the album, but every one a gem.

This album is closer in spirit to the Galley Beggar I saw, but still a gear or two lower than when the band are live. So, my advice is to buy this album and enjoy the sound of Galley Beggar, but if you ever get the opportunity to see band perform live – take it!

Ron D Bowes

Artists’ website:

It’s a couple of years ago but here’s a live version of ‘Jack Orion’ from Silence And Tears. Turn it up to eleven!

Electric Eden now out on Universal Music…

Presenting the soundtrack to Rob Young’s ground-breaking survey of music making in the British Isles.

Universal Music Catalogue has now released Electric Eden, a new compilation, hand-picked by author and journalist Rob Young. The two disc set is designed to serve as a companion to Young’s highly acclaimed book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music which was published by Faber & Faber in 2010.

Just as the book mapped out a native British musical voice that reflected the complex relationships between town and country, progress and nostalgia, radicalism and conservatism, so too does this compilation.

It’s a veritable connoisseur’s choice of folk music which collects together such diverse artists as Archie Fisher, Meic Stevens, Bill Fay, Comus, and Mick Softley, even David Bowie – alongside the more expected names such as Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, John Martyn, The Incredible String Band and Nick Drake.

The two disc set is divided into an Acoustic Eden and an Electric Eden and comes with comprehensive, track-by-track notes by Rob Young.

Comments Rob young: ‘This compilation is designed to follow the flow from acoustic to electric folk in the late 60s and early 70s, a magical time in British music. I’ve tried to include a mixture of rarities, unheard versions, familiar names and unjustly neglected heroes and heroines. I’m particularly proud of including a rare original version of ‘A Sailor’s Life’ by Fairport Convention, literally the first time a rock drum kit was ever used on a traditional folk song. History in the making!’



1. Peter Bellamy – ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’

2. Traffic – ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’

3. Bert Jansch – ‘The Waggoner’s Lad’

4. Fairport Convention – ‘Stranger to Himself’

5. Archie Fisher – ‘Reynardine’

6. Bread, Love and Dreams – ‘Brother John’

7. Bill Fay – ‘Garden Song’

8. Water Into Wine Band – ‘Stranger in the World’

9. Tudor Lodge – ‘Willow Tree’

10. Comus – ‘Diana’

11. Meic Stevens – ‘Yorric’

12. Magic Carpet – ‘The Dream’

13. Sweeney’s Men – ‘The Pipe on the Hob’

14. Tim Hart & Maddy Prior – ‘False Knight on the Road’

15. Dr Strangely Strange – ‘Dark-Haired Lady’

16. Albion Country Band – ‘I Was a Young Man’

17. COB – ‘Music of the Ages’

18. Roger Nicholson – ‘The Carman’s Whistle’

19. Bridget St John – ‘Fly High’

20. John Martyn – ‘She Moves Through the Fair’


CD 2


1. Richard Thompson – ‘Roll over Vaughn Williams’

2. Steeleye Span – ‘The Lark in the Morning’

3. Unicorn – ‘Country Road’

4. Fairport Convention – ‘A Sailor’s Life’

5. Trees – ‘Glasgerion’

6. Fotheringay – ‘Gypsy Davey’

7. David Bowie – ‘Black Country Rock’

8. John Martyn – ‘Glistening Glyndebourne’

9. Mike Cooper – ‘Paper and Smoke’

10. Shelagh McDonald – ‘Mirage’

11. Spirogyra – ‘Disraeli’s Problem’

12. Mick Softley – ‘Time Machine’

13. Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band – ‘Murder of Maria Marten’

14. Pentangle – ‘Jack Orion’

15. Incredible String Band – ‘Painted Chariot’

16. Nick Drake – ‘Voices’