VARIOUS ARTISTS – Hobgoblin Music – 40 Years (Hobgoblin HOBCD040)

Hobgoblin MusicIt’s forty years since the founders of Hobgoblin Music set out to make, and I quote “what was then almost impossible – finding good quality folk instruments – possible”. As the sleeve notes acknowledge, that seems almost ordinary now and you can buy just about anything from a Hobgoblin shop and if you can’t they will probably know someone who can make it for you. The twenty-one tracks that make up this compilation are all performed by current or former Hobgoblin staff and that must make it unique. With shops all over the country the performers come from very different backgrounds which makes for a very varied set. Some of the players are professional musicians now, others come from ad hoc groupings; so much so that one track is credited to the Leeds Shop Staff – a richly arranged version of ‘Green Grows The Laurel’.

The opening track is a sparkling instrumental from one of the company’s first employees, Mark White. There is no indication when ‘Tea Time’ was written but it has a 70s feel.  That’s followed by ‘An Ordinary Life’, a folk-punk track by The Teds who feature Mark McCabe and the first of two tracks by flautist Jacquelyn Hynes, ‘The Cuckoo’, this being the Appalachian setting. Her other contribution is a set of two tunes, ‘Micho Russell’s/Father Kelly’s’. Rather modestly, the company’s founder Pete McClelland, holds himself back to the fourth track, ‘Walk This Road’, from his debut album, Carolina Sky. Actually, he’s not so modest, his Blackthorn Band get two tracks. ‘Spailpin Fanach’ and ‘The Banks Of The Sweet Primroses’.

I hope you’re getting the picture by now. Here you will find traditional songs and tunes and the writing of fine singer/songwriters like Nicola Rain & Sarah Mooney, Dogan Mehmet, Neil Campbell, Ollie King and John Rain. And I’m prepared to guarantee that you’ll discover someone you want to hear more of.

Dai Jeffries

Label website:

Dogan Mehmet & friends: ‘The Raging Seas’ – live: