PECSAETAN MORRIS – At One With The Bells – Seville House Records SEVCD02

There are always new ways making records. We’ve had ‘sequester a bunch of songwriters in a lonely house and give them a week to write a complete stage show and album’ and now we’re in the midst of ‘record it live off the floor’ – which is pretty much what Bill Leader did forty-odd years ago in his kitchen.

Here we have a new method. Start with a morris side – invariably a multi-talented bunch – add the bands that members are part of and record: dances, songs, tunes, whatever. Pecsaetan Morris are a women’s Cotswold team from Sheffield who have done just that to celebrate their tenth anniversary and what a great idea it is.

There are six dances with musicians Richard Arrowsmith and Jo Maher and the feet and bells of the team. The songs are mostly well-known but none the worse for that. The first is ‘John Ball’, lead by Jess Arrowsmith and featuring members of The Sheffield Folk Chorale who return later for a Sheffield carol (what else?), ‘Sweet Bells’. There is a Sacred Harp hymn, a bit of Burns, Kipling/Bellamy and Utah Phillips as well as traditional favourites. The extra-mural bands include Trinculo and The Melrose Quartet which features Nancy Kerr and James Fagen. Sadly, there is no room for Crucible or Hekety which just shows what a wealth of talent Pecsaetan have to draw on.

At One With The Bells has the freshness and vitality that’s often hard to capture on record and it takes you back to when folk music was something we did just for fun. It’s good to remember that sometimes.

Dai Jeffries

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