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DAVEY GRAHAM
TONY HALL
TIM HART & MADDY PRIOR
DORRIS HENDERSON & JOHN RENBOURN
THE HIGH LEVEL RANTERS
HOME SERVICE
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS

 

DAVEY GRAHAM Roller Coaster 3021 After Hours ● CD $24.98
13 tracks by this legendary and pioneering English guitarist recorded live at an informal gathering at Hull University in February, 1967 following a concert. Davey is in fine form performing his usual eclectic mix of jazz, folk, blues and Indian music - Cocaine/ Grooveyard/ How Long Blues/ She Moved Through The Bizarre/ Hey Bud Blues/ Jubilation/ Afro-Blue and others.
DAVEY GRAHAM: Afro-blue (for release during 1997)/ Bourree in E minor (Bach)/ Buffalo/ Buhaina chant/ Cocaine/ Gavotte or Bourree from D minor suite (de Visee)/ Grooveyard/ Hey Bud blues/ How long blues/ Jubilation/ Louisiana blues/ Medley: She moved thru' the fair/Blue raga/ Misirlou/ Work song

 
DAVEY GRAHAM Roller Coaster 3022 All That Moody ● CD $24.98
Reissue of Davey's rare 1976 Eron album plus five previously unissued cuts from the same period. Davey plays guitar and is often accompanied on tabla, tambura and/or bass. Mostly original compositions including a reworking of his most famous tune Anji. 16 page booklet features original notes, new notes by John Renourn, vintage photos and commentary on the tunes by Davey.

 
DAVEY GRAHAM Kicking Mule 3914 The Complete Guitarist ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 54 mins, recommended This fine set reissues Davey's 1977 solo album for Kicking Mule along with five tracks from his 1979 solo album "Dance For Two People" and three cuts from the 1980 compilation "Blues Guitar Workshop". As always his music is eclectic and he seems equally at ease with a traditional Scottish or Irish tune, a classical piece or an original jazz-blues invention. His playing in 1977 was no longer the ground breaking stylistic innovation that dazzled the British folk scene in the early 60s but still makes for rewarding and entertaining listening. (FS)

 
TONY HALL Osmosys 003 Mr. Universe ● CD $19.98
13 tracks, 50 mins, highly recommended
With only two albums in 20 years one could hardly accuse Tony Hall of being over-recorded but since he makes his living as a (successful) cartoonist he doesn't have to rely on music to put food on the table. If you are a English folk music fan you will have noticed him as an accompanying musician on albums by Nic Jones, Silly Sisters, Peter Bellamy and others. He is a fine melodeon player - not flashy but spot on with a warm, friendly quality full of whimsy. His singing has that same quality and it's unfortunate that his voice is under recorded on the three excellent songs he does here. The tunes are very diverse - film theme music, Scottish airs, hornpipes, Elizabethan compositions, bluegrass melodies, blues and more but all of it becomes distinctively his own. Most of it is solo but a few have added guitar, fiddle, percussion. If you are looking for something exciting you'll need to look elsewhere but this is great music to just settle down with - maybe with a pint or two. (FS)

 
TIM HART & MADDY PRIOR Shanachie 79046 Summer Solstice ● CD $14.98
U.S. issue of 1971 album by these (then) members of Steeleye Span. A nice collection of traditional songs with Tim & Maddy's vocals accompanied by Tim/ guitar, dulcimer, harmonium, psaltery and tabor, Andy Irvine/ mandolin, Pat Donaldson/ electric bass, etc. False Knights On The Road/ Sorry The Day I Was Married/ Adam Catched Eve/ Serving Girls Holiday - 13 in all. A very fine album, but why did Shanachie replace the beautiful cover of the original with a much inferior one?

 
DORRIS HENDERSON & JOHN RENBOURN Big Beat CDWIKD 186 There You Go! ● CD $17.98
19 tracks, 50 mins, recommended Reissue of rare 1965 Columbia album with two bonus tracks originally only on a 45 rpm. Henderson was an African-American folk singer who had moved to England just before she cut this album where she is joined by a young John Renbourn making his first appearance in a recording studio. The songs are mostly traditional (Single Girl/ Mist On the Mountain/ The Water Is Wide/ One Morning In May, etc) along with a few more recent compositions (Sally Free And Easy/ Mr Tambourine Man/ The Lag's Song, etc). I'm not too crazy about Dorris's very strident vocal style but Renbourn's guitar playing is a another matter - beautiful, imaginative and complex without being flashy - simply perfect accompaniments. (FS)

 
THE HIGH LEVEL RANTERS Topic TSCD 486 Bonnie Pit Laddie ● CD $15.98
Reissue on CD on classic 2 LP set from 1975 featuring a collection of songs and tunes portraying the life of the miner from the 18th to the 20th century.

 
HOME SERVICE Fledg'ling 3001 Wild Life ● CD $15.98
1992 live recordings

 
HOME SERVICE Fledg'ling 3014 The Mysteries ● CD $15.98
7 tracks, 46 mins, highly recommended
What a treat to have this fabulous album from 1985 now on CD. It features songs and music from the National Theatre productions of 'The Nativity', 'The Passion' and 'Doomsday' which ran from 1977 to 1985. These were updated versions of the medieval mystery plays which tell the Bible story from the Creation to the Last Judgement. The songs and tunes used are a mixture of original compositions by members of the group, traditional pieces and folk hymns. Joining Home Service are several guest musicians including Andy Findon/ saxophones, flute & clarinet; Phil Langham/ fiddle, accordion and vocals; Eve Matheson/ backing vocals; Philip Pickett/ recorders & shawm, etc. There are powerful vocals from John Tams and Bill Caddick plus 4 superb hair raising guest vocals from Linda Thompson. The brass section is tremendously exciting and Graeme Taylor plays some stunning electric guitar solos. A joy! (FS)

 
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS & CO BGO BGOCD 244 Kickin' Up The Sawdust ● CD $17.98

 
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS BGO BGOCD 353 Rattlebone & Ploughjack ● CD $17.98

 
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS Castle Music America CMX 519 The Guv'nor, Vol 1 ● CD $11.98
19 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
In England the phrase "The Guv'nor" refers to the man in charge which certainly is an apt description of Ashley Hutchings when it comes to the English folk rock scene. He was a founding member of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and the ever changing Albion Band. This is the first of two CDs featuring recordings from Ashley's archives of outtakes, live performances, radio broadcast tracks, etc - all previously unissued. There's some great stuff here. The disc opens with The Ethnic Shuffle Orchestra from 1966 - one of Ashley's first groups also featuring a young Simon Nicol - a novelty group in the Cheap Suit Serenaders vein. There are three tracks from Fairport including a lovely version of Dylan's Dear Landlord with a wonderful Sandy Denny vocal. Dylan is also responsible for my favorite cut here - a stunning acapella rendering of Lay Down Your Weary by Steeleye Span from 1970 - poorly recorded but what a performance! There is also one track from the short lived acoustic band The Etchingham Steam Band with Shirley Collins vocal. The rest of the disc features every conceivable variation on the Albion Band including a terrific Sailor's Life/ One More Day with John Tams lead and Julie Covington harmony vocal. Great stuff! (FS)

  
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS Castle Music America CMX 546 The Guv'nor, Vol 2 ● CD $11.98
18 tracks, 69 mins, recommended
The second volume is not quite as strong as the first. There is a greater proportion of material from the 80s and 90s which, to my mind, is often less interesting than the earlier material. Still, there are some gems here including a couple of wonderful Fairport tracks You Never Wanted Me (1968) and Sir Patrick Spens (1969) with superb Sandy Denny vocals. There's a fine set of Morris dance tunes by The Albion Country Band from 1972 (Sue Draheim, Steve Ashley, Simon Nicol, Dave Mattacks & Ashley). Royston Wood joins the lineup and shares the vocals with Steve Ashley on a superb rendition of Rambling Sailor. Shirley Collins joins the Albion Dance Band for Old Sir Simon The King and there are several fine tracks by The Albion Band from 1981 with the brilliant John Tams on vocal and melodeon including a strange breakneck version of Lay Down Your Weary Tunes. Booklet includes a complete Ashley Hutchings discography.  (FS)

 
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS Castle Music America CMX 547 The Guv'nor, Vol. 3 ● CD $11.98
19 tracks, 64 mins, very good
The third collection of unissued songs and outtakes from Ashley Hutching's archives is nowhere near as strong as the first two and some of this smacks of bottom of the barrel scraping. The two opening cuts by Fairport from 1968 are mediocre songs which are not helped by the poor sound. Ashley's comparison of them to hearing rare recordings of Mississippi Delta bluesmen like Robert Johnson is disingenuous at best! There are 8 tracks from various 70s incarnations of the Albion Band - among the best is a 1973 instrumental set with the group featuring John Kirkpatrick and Martin Carthy and the 1977 Y'Acre Of Land by an 8 piece band with fine vocals and melodeon from John Tams. The 80s recordings are a hit and miss affair and Polly Bolton's breathy vocal on the wonderful trad song Spencer The Rover is really quite painful. The set ends up with a couple of cuts from the 90s - decent but not earth shaking. (FS)

 
ASHLEY HUTCHINGS Mooncrest CRESTCD 055 Along The Downs ● CD $17.98
A collection of songs tunes inspired by the English countryside drawn from various albums recorded by Ashley and his various groups between 1977 and 1998 which includes, among others, Simon Nicol, Cathy LeSurf, Dave Swarbrick, Martin Carthy, John Tams, Phil Beer and Julie Matthews. Includes Shapes Of The Lanscape/ The Drover's Song/ The Hanging Tree/ Speed The Plough/ Aris & Pick A Posey/ Pierce The Screen/ The Woodlands Of England and more.

 

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