Rusty Shackle are a vibrant and energetic five piece folk-rock band from South Wales who I had the pleasure to see perform on the main stage at BunkFest, Wallingford in 2018. They have previously released three studio albums and one live album. The Raven, The Thief & The Hangman is the result of two years researching folk music and stories then writing their brand of music to provide an exciting setting for the olde worlde words.
The first track ‘Hanging Johnny’ sets the tone of the album, it’s a bit of a foot stomping tub thumping experience. ‘Sam Hall’ follows in the same manner and ‘Newport Rising’ is an anthem song. ‘Long John’ is a bit slower, but still has a bit of oomph. ‘The Holy Ground’ is more gentile with mainly an acoustic guitar accompaniment that gives you a bit of a breather.
If there is a song that feels a bit out of place it is ‘Coorie Doon’ with its piano that sounds like it’s come out of a Western and Pogue-esque growly voice, I was half expecting Kirsty MacColl to come in over the top with some jolly vocals, but she doesn’t.
‘The Raven’s Song’ takes us to a much more boppy place with hand claps and pipes and clever overlapping vocals. ‘St James Infirmary’ brings us back on track and if Kasabian had a banjo in their line up this is what they’d sound like! The final track ‘Time Of Death’ also sounds Kasabian-ish and is another track with a great beat and is a great way to close the album.
I’m looking forward to seeing them live again in a few weeks in Witney.
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‘Sam Hall’ – official video of the first single: