Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Battle of the Field
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
An Old Friend, Again
Jeffrey A. Showell | Portland, OR USA | 02/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers have more or less said it already, but this is undoubtedly one of THE classic recordings from the heyday of British traditional folk-rock. Fairport Convention was always a rock band that discovered traditional music. Steeleye Span was always a folk band that tried (sometimes miserably) to be a rock band. The Albion Country Band-- at least the version that recorded this album-- seems to be the perfect blend-- a muscular rhythm section of Roger Swallow and Ashley Hutchings, the band's founder, together with rhythmically-oriented guitar work by both Simon Nicol and Martin Carthy, topped off with Carthy's vocals and John Kirkpatrick's accordian. It's Sue Harris' snakey oboe on top of it all, however, that gives the band it's distinctive sound. These musicians are all superstars and play together marvelously in a very carefully arranged selection of songs and dance tunes.
I have this recording on vinyl-- I got in college a couple of decades ago-- and it's as fresh now as it was then. I haven't had an operating turntable in a while, so I decided to get it on CD. I'd had a real hankering to hear the bitter lament "I Was a Young Man"-- a superb arrangement--so resistance was futile. "The Gallant Poacher" lopes along in great striding fashion, followed by an almost impossibly fast and nicely arranged "Cheshire Rounds/The Lancashire Hornpipe." There are a couple of Richard Thompson songs, including one he himself has not recorded. It's a bit of a throwaway in terms of it's being "a Richard Thompson song" but intoduces the recording and sets things up nicely.
The album has a "chamber folk orchestra" feel, created primarily by Harris' oboe and the band's very attentive, brilliant arrangements. Americans would never record folk music this way, but I'm a big fan. Some of Norma Waterson's and Linda Thompson's work has this same feel.
The band had a confusing history and recorded only this album, which, itself, took a few years to see the light of day. An earlier customer review by "the Wizard" is not entirely accurate regarding the line up. Lead vocalist is without a doubt the ever-magnificant Martin Carthy and, while drummer Dave Mattacks did play with the band and is recorded on one track, Roger Swallow plays on all other tracks. This is a great recording and I recommend it without hesitation.
An English folkrock classic
K. Hottentot | Netherlands | 06/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1973 at the end of British folkrock's heyday, but shelved when the band that made it broke up and ultimately released three years later in 1976 on an Island budget sublabel, this was an at the time largely ignored piece of work. Which is really sad because this album is up there with the best of the genre, with some of its finest musicians collaborating: Ashley Hutchings, Martin Carthy, Simon Nicol, John Kirkpatrick, Sue Harris and Roger Swallow. A wonderful blend of trad and rock, listen to the Morris Medley amongst others and be blown away. They don't make 'em like that anymore!"
Worth the wait, worth your time
loce_the_wizard | Lilburn, GA USA | 08/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Put away your scratched vinyl, your carefully hoarded tapes! At long last,some of the finest music from the primo period of English folk is available on CD. The music runs the gamut, as it well should given the "substitute" line up. It seems most members of the original line scattered before Ashley Hutchings, the driving force of this band, could get everyone back into the studio for another round. So he had to bring in some pinch hitters, among whom were Richard and Linda Thompson. Hutchings clearly leaves his mark across this 1973 recording through his impeccable arrangements and dead-on vocals. Seasoned pros such as guitarist Martin Carty--who has also has stints in Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, to name only a few--Simon Nicol, John Kirpatrick, Dave Mattacks--widely considered the best folk drummer in this genre--and the multitalented Sue Harris round out the rich sound. There are lots of nods to the old roots of English folk here with the occasional foray into amplified rock, as at the end of the Morris Medley. Themes range from a wife's shrewish behavior in "I Was a Young Man" to the rampant injustice in old England in "Hanged I Shall Be." This is a recording to savor, one to listen to on the front porch during the "tween" hours of the day."