RICHARD LUMSDEN – Morris: A Life With Bells On (Dreamboat Records DRMBT014)

The legend that is “Morris: A Life With Bells On” continues apace with another extraordinary leap of faith and a labour of love on behalf of the producers (Lucy Ackhurst & Chaz Oldham) who booked Richard Lumsden on the strength that the composer knew nothing about the tradition of Morris. These melodies that are used to invigorate the dancers with their sprightly steps has infused the film with a quaint British-ness of the Ealing Studios variety whilst remaining resolutely true to what the ‘folk’ world sees as the established Morris ‘sound’. Of course the music isn’t all ‘folk’ based and Lumsden’s sweeping panoramic orchestrations induce the movie with a soundtrack that is as widely expansive as anything by say John Barry or the Russian film composer Vladimir Cosma. OK, so getting established folk fiddler John Dipper and box player Saul Rose on board as music advisors was a bit of a masterstroke to add authenticity to proceedings but it’s the use of lush string and wind arrangements that provides the pivotal role of the recording. Alongside the more traditional sounding “Derecq” and “Threeple Hammer Damson” the inclusion of the ‘rap’ inspired “Sonoma” featuring Mr McTwist is the icing on a not inconsiderable cake. This soundtrack rings all the right bells for this particular reviewer and even if you thought you weren’t the least bit interested in Morris melodies you’ll go away loving this album! This CD has become something of a coup de grace for me as I thought the soundtrack might not have been released if the film didn’t get a National release. Of course, it has and hopefully the DVD won’t be long in coming!