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:

Hobgoblin Music celebrates its 40th anniversary with unique album

Hobgoblin Music

Founded in the autumn of 1976, Hobgoblin Music has turned 40! Hobgoblin Music has been trading in the UK for 40 years across many locations, both in their shops and on their travelling festival stall. Millions of musicians have passed through their doors, and they’ve been lucky enough to employ a great many of the most talented of them. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, they have compiled an album of music by past and present staff, as a follow-up to our 25th anniversary CD 15 years ago

PETE & MANNIE MCCLELLAND Founders of Hobgoblin, Pete and Mannie are still involved, but are now spending more time making music. Pete and Mannie worked in the barn and shop in Crawley, the market stall, the festivals, Pete currently works in the Worthing headquarters. Blackthorn features Pete on Bouzouki & vocals, Mannie on concertina, Sarah Mooney on flute & guitar & Alex Percy (Festivals) on Guitar.

MARK McCABE (Birmingham) Mark’s fine accordion work can be heard on two tracks from The Teds. He’s their Birmingham manager.

SARAH MALLINSON, NICK COLLINS, RUSS FLEMMING (Leeds) ‘Green Grows The Laurel’ was recorded for this album specially by the Leeds shop staff.

CRIS PIERSENNÉ (Bristol) Cris has contributed ‘Ja Vstretil Vas’ by Malarchy and ‘Up Down, Ka Kachar’ by RSVP

MARK WHITE (Crawley) Mark was one of the earliest employees of Hobgoblin, he worked with them from 1978 to 1991.

JACQUELYN HYNES (London) Jacqy worked with us in London in the 90s and 00s, she’s provided two great flute tracks.

NICOLA RAIN (Worthing, Crawley & Festivals) & SARAH MOONEY (Bristol & Festivals) ‘Letters From The Sea’ was written by Nicola and Sarah especially for this album.

GEORGIA LEWIS (Festivals) Georgia is a new arrival on the festival circuit both as an artist and with the Hobgoblin festival stall.

KEN THOMPSON (Manchester) Ken managed the Hobgoblin Manchester from 99 to recently and is a member of the Paddywhacks

DOGAN MEHMET (Worthing) Doe released two albums with Hobgoblin Records and from the first they have included his composition ‘The Raging Seas’.

NEIL CAMPBELL (Brighton) Neil recently joined the staff in Brighton and here we have his track ‘Haggard Rider’.

MIKE ROSS (Brighton) Hobgoblin Brighton manager Mike Ross joined in 2014 –featured is his blues number ‘Fixin’ To Die’.

OLLIE KING (Leeds) Ollie King has been a member of the Leeds team for the last few years and featured is one of his own compositions, ‘Polperro Bay’, from his first album.

JOHN RAIN (Worthing) John works with in the Worthing head office, and is a member of Montana Rain band along with Nicola Rain and Pete McClelland, this is the band’s signature song.

ALEX PERCY (Festivals) Alex Percy worked for the Hobgoblin festival team over a number of years from the 00’s till recently. He’s a member of The Long Notes and the Blackthorn Band among other projects.

PIP IVES (Canterbury) Pip is a stalwart of the Hobgoblin Canterbury shop; here he plays several instruments along with Bill Howarth’s dulcimer on two well-known traditional tunes, ‘Tip Top’ and ‘Redwing’.

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ROSIE HOOD – The Beautiful & The Actual (Rootbeat Records RBRCD36)

The Beautiful & The ActualRosie Hood’s debut solo album impresses on so many levels. Firstly, there’s her voice – a model of power and clarity; secondly there is the restraint of the accompaniments, even allowing for the presence of a string trio and Emma Smith’s mighty double bass and, finally, the template for the record. The Beautiful & The Actual is a quotation from Alfred Williams’ Folk Songs Of The Upper Thames and if you know anything about Williams you’ll know that he collected only words, never tunes, on the grounds that no-one would want to sing these songs again.

Many of Williams’ songs are unusual variants and I suspect that some of them, ‘Baker’s Oven’ for example, are unique. They provide a rich source of material for both singers and composers which is where Rosie comes in. She isn’t the first person to arrange Williams’ songs but probably the first to dedicate almost a whole album to him. She opens with ‘Lover’s Ghost’ matched with the tune of Packie Byrne’s version of ‘Holland Handkerchief’. This is an undeniably spooky tale made more so by its apparent simplicity. Having chilled your blood, Rosie injects some humour with a song of her own, ‘Furlong Of Flight’ concerning the unlikely story of an 11th century monk who constructed a pair of wings and flew down Malmesbury High Street before his crash landing.

‘William’s Sweetheart’ is a reworking of ‘William Taylor’ and ‘Lord Lovel’ borrows Peter Bellamy’s tune. ‘The Little Blind Girl’ is an unpublished text with a tune by Rosie who also wrote new melodies for variants of ‘The Red Herring’ and ‘The Cruel Mother’. Of the contemporary songs two, placed side by side, stand out. ‘Adrift, Adrift’ is Rosie’s song about refugees lost in the Mediterranean and John Archbold’s ‘The Hills Of Kandahar’ looks at the other end of the ongoing story, telling of a soldier killed by an IED in Afghanistan.

Supporting musicians include co-producer Tom A Wright, Ollie King, Jefferson Hamer and Emily Portman but Rosie’s voice dominates as it should with traditional music. The Beautiful & The Actual is high on my list of albums of the year.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

Rosie Hood and her band – ‘William’s Sweetheart’ live:

Your chance to back Rosie Hood

Rosie Hood’s debut solo album is coming soon; your chance to preorder with exclusive rewards

Rosie Hood 2

Nominated for the Horizon Award at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Rosie Hood has already appeared on RootBeat in the Dovetail Trio’s Wing of Evening. We’re delighted to be bringing you her solo debut as well, and for the next few days you have the chance to pre-order it with exclusive bonuses including limited edition artwork prints by Louise Bichan and Rosie herself, bonus tracks, gig tickets and even an exclusive house concert.

Rosie says: There will be old songs and new songs on this album, traditional and re-worked folk songs as well as those I’ve written. Songs of women and from their voices, songs and stories from where I grew up in Wiltshire, songs of struggle, love and death (it is a folk album after all…).

My as-yet-unnamed debut album is already under way with demos of 12 tracks recorded with producer Tom Wright, the photo shoot in the diary with Louise Bichan, and Elly Lucas on board to work on styling and design. Melodeon player Ollie King and guitarist Jefferson Hamer are confirmed guests with more brilliant musicians yet to be announced.

Follow this link to find out more: Back Rosie’s album now!