Robin James Hurt’s And We For One Another is an Irish folk (and beyond!) album of traditional songs, a few covers, and self-penned instrumentals that echoes the idiosyncratic singer-songwriter sound of the very progressive folk scene in the early 70’s. The great John Martyn, with his penchant for lovely songs and the occasional sonic guitar fling comes to mind.
And speaking of that occasional sonic guitar fling, the RJH composed instrumental ‘Laharma’ is a really nice folky tune that taps into its very own Labyrinth Stone maze as that folk melody is amped up into electric guitar pulse that, indeed, conjures a (Thank you, Horslips!) ‘Dance With Yer Daddy”, but it also takes a detour that always travels, with a mystical map, to a place that’s “sideways to the sun”. There’s also a comparison with (the before-mentioned) John Martyn’s electronically-enhanced instrumental stuff like ‘Eibhil Ghall Chiun Chearbhail’ and (the more easily pronounced) ‘Beverly’ from his Inside Out album.
As my friend, Kilda Defnut, said, “Sometimes, even Danny Boy confesses to his local priest that ‘I’d rather be the devil’”.
In total juxtaposition are the initial two songs. First, ‘Morning Mist (The Birds)’ is a joyous romp (with pulsing percussion!) through a brain thumping melody. Nice. Then, the traditional ‘Galway Shawl’ roughs up a vocal delivery that well suits the song’s plaintive call for simple love, with a very rural woven sweater patterned drama. Perhaps, a slightly sober Shane MacGowan might sound like this.
Oh – ‘The Keach In The Creel’ is pure joy and just a lot of Irish jaunty car fun. And the instrumental ‘The Green Man/Compatriot’s Reel’ completes the rural ride, with full folk violin and concertina ensemble.
Oh (again!) – ‘Hector The Hero’, once more, interrupts with a wonderfully dramatic sonic folk acoustic guitar collage.
But the songs continue. ‘Song For The 12th Of July (And We For One Another)’ touches politics with melodic hope with “lasting peace, with equal laws”. And the tragic ‘Fare Thee Well Enniskillen’ gets a big ensemble pulse with nice percussion and recorder.
But Oh (yet again!) – the instrumental ‘Across The Black Soil Plains’ quite simple explodes in more folk Labyrinth Stone ancient energy. The tune gallops with big gulps of acoustic guitar and everything else that swirls in an always impending musical universe. This is a nice sonic ride! Perhaps, (the great) Michael Chapman spun this sort of magical mayhem.
And ‘Snialp’ is yet another brief guitar (albeit backwards at times!) journey into some sort of warm psychology, which gives way to the very and ever hopeful lovely song, ‘The Magpie’s Nest’.
And We For One Another is a melodic fun house ride. It’s music that lands safely on planet folk with songs aplenty, yet it touches the magic of weird guitar stuff that takes a very Irish detour on a mystical road that passes, in (the great!) Horslips’ words, “the laughter on the hill” and travels, with song and guitar, to an inner groove that is always, somehow, “sideways to the sun”.
Artist’s website: https://robinjameshurt.com/
‘Morning Mist (The Birds)’ – official video: