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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Review - The Full English



If you are a regular follower of EFDSS then you’ll know all about ‘The Full English’ Project. For those of you who don’t it is basically the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s project to archive their collections onto a large online database. Called ‘The Full English’. Like a big breakfast of folk songs and dances of English origin… it’s very clever.

Some of the most meaningful and exciting of the songs archived have been adapted by Fay Hield and a team of musicians to great an album called… well I’m sure you can guess.

Folk enthusiasts have been waiting patiently for the arrival of their CDs and I like to think that I speak for most when I say the wait has been well worth it. The collection is absolutely fantastic, really utilising the skills of some of the best folk artists on the block and creating beautiful songs for us.

The tunes in the collection are not simply a case of “let’s do this one, this one looks good!” but Fay and her team have chosen very carefully to reflect the world of folk and its current position in British life. The songs have been adapted and altered as needed but not in a butchered way.

Fay, Martin Simpson, Rob Harbron, Sam Sweeney, Nancy Kerr, Ben Nicholls and Seth Lakeman have united their superpowers of folk to form an Avengers style team up!
The album starts off with ‘Awake Awake’ (Fay Hield) which frankly sets the bar high for the rest of the album. The vocals are beautiful, the tune is gripping and exciting with perfect harmonics with the backing vocals.

‘Stand By Your Guns’ (Seth Lakeman), ‘Rounding the Horn’ and ‘The Servant Man’ (The use of swapping vocals in this track are really effective!) are all foot tapping catchy tunes which suggests to me one of the main purposes of the collection is to be gripping, and catch people in a net almost.

We also get soothing tracks, with the instrumental ‘William and Nancy’ and ‘Creeping Jane’ which sounds almost like the kind of story tune a father would sing to his children on a sunny day.

Most of the tunes are stories and I found myself hanging on each word, particularly in ‘Arthur O’Bradley’.

The entire collection shows the experience and skill of all the artists and words will never be able to fully project what this album has to offer to any music lover. Those who are varied in their genre, or those who want a sample of folk because they have not tried it before must add this to their collection!

DFTBA

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