Nigel Eaton

CD only BEJOCD-39


The Musicians  
Nigel Eaton hurdy-gurdy, bass and keys
Andy Cutting diatonic button accordion
Mark Davies keys, percussion, bass, voice and programming
Paul James saxophone
Julie Murphy voice
Becky Price piano, harpsichord and piano accordion

What the critics have said...

'Eaton takes us way beyond the expected... He even blends bass and hurdy-gurdy on Hum 'n' Bass, a tune that would be at home at a rave. The faint of heart can take heart though. Among the funk lies plenty of folk. Eaton subdues his instrument to back the glorious voice of Julie Murphy on Syney Carter's poignant 'Like the Snow' and on the traditional 'Break of the Day'. And there are also plenty of mazurkas, bourrees, and jigs to rip up the dance floor. This album is as balanced as it is creative.'
Sing! Out (USA)

'Nigel Eaton concentrates on the hurdy-gurdy but ranges far and wide. Look at his form: years with dance band Blowzabella; recordings with Scott Walker and the Philharmonia; performances in Eritrea and along the Northwest frontier with the singer Julie Murphy; a year-long tour with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, late of Led Zeppelin. So I tore Pandemonium from its plastic wrapper more eagerly than might be expected for an album of hurdy-gurdy music, eager to find out which direction he had chosen for his solo album. The answer? All of them.
Eaton's quest is for "the perfect 3/8 bourrée". Three Sharks comes close, the hurdy-gurdy complemented gorgeously by Andy Cutting's accordion and the sax of Paul James. Of Curlew, another bourrŽe or something near, Eaton remarks "good riff, though". These he comes up with as regularly as a rock guitarist, also placing them in Sound of the Bell and Hum'n'Bass (hmmm, dodgy title), among hefty percussion, stalwart bass and gothic keyboards as "experiments in hurdy pop".
Experiment is a weaselly word, but Eaton needn't have hedged his bets: these are effective tunes, especially Great Escape, based on music he and Julie Murphy heard in Eritrea. Murphy sings a traditional song and Sidney Carter's Like the Snow (so spare you'd think it traditional), and there's also a classical piece, Michel Corrette's Hurdy-Gurdy Concerto II. Eaton would love to play this with an orchestra. Here's hoping an adventurous conductor listens to Pandemonium and gives him a call'.
Julian May, Songlines

'A largely self-composed set of Eaton doing what he does so well, with not a few tunes in the French style. These are all as perfectly fine as you'd expect but there are bonuses, too. Two tracks, Sidney Carter's Like the Snow and Break of Day (aka Lemady) are sung by Julie Murphy with her characteristic passion and there's a handful of ventures into what Eaton terms "hurdy pop". These last are tunes with a bunch of electronics as back up and they work a lot better than I remember Ancient Beatbox's LP doing. The various parts now hang together far better but in the end you either love the straight jacket beats of techno and allied genres (which for me stand in the same relation to rhythm as "customer care" does to service) or you don't. From a pre-electronic age, Michel Corrette's Hurdy-Gurdy Concerto No. 2 is terrific and, meaning no disrespect to Becky Price's harpsichord accompaniment, one can only echo Eaton's hope that one day he can record this piece with an orchestra - are you listening, grant-giving bodies?'

'A brilliant album that shows Nigel and friends at their very best! You get wonderfully played jigs, bourrees, mazurkas, and waltzes that bear listening to over and over... Green Man has reviewed over three hundred English Trad and Not-So-Trad Music CDs, more than any other online zine, and I can say that this is among the very, very best of those CDs! Me opinion is that he's a superb hurdy gurdy player who forms great temporary bands, picks superb material, and is always blessed with far better than average production. What's not to like?'
Green Man Review

'An outstanding eclectic album from hurdy-gurdy maestro Eaton for much of which he's joined by equally brilliant guests to produce an electrifying masterpiece, highlighting the instrument's rich and diverse repertoire. An immediate favourite is the haunting song and tune set, Like the Snow/The Chimney, on which he is joined by the ubiquitous and wonderful Julie Murphy, his collaborator in Whirling Pope Joan. Eaton's own La Gloire de Mon Pere is a great tuneand with Andy Cutting contributing on accordion, the two old chums sound as exciting as ever. Classical hurdy gurdy is rarely heard, so what a refreshing treat it is when Becky Price joins him at the harpsichord for Michel Corrette's Hurdy-Gurdy Concerto II. The three short experiments , made with programmer Mark Davies. succeed where in the past similar trad-electronic fusions have failed. This is a must for gurdy lovers, as well as those still unfamiliar with this ancient and fascinating instrument'


1 St Suliac/Sur la Rance (Eaton/Jon Swayne Eaton)
Our launch site on the river near St Malo, a mazurka/waltz followed by a tune by Jon and me, also played regularly in Blowzabella.

2 Hurdy-Gurdy Concerto II (Michel Corrette arr Price Eaton)
Les RecrŽations du Berger FortunŽ 1. Allegro 2. Adagio 3. Presto My favourite classical piece for hurdy-gurdy; would love to play it with an orchestra one day.

3 Sound of the Bell (Mark Stephen Davies Eaton)
Made years ago at Mark's house in Staines just before he left to climb mountains in Snowdonia. An experiment in hurdy pop. Mark loves mediaeval things so we wrote the tune in that style.

4 On the River (Eaton arr Price Eaton)
Inspired by regular trips to Brittany where we sail on a stretch of river called La Rance, between St Malo and Dinan. I think it's a waltz?

5 Like the Snow/The Chimney (Sydney Carter arr Murphy Eaton/Eaton)
Originally appeared on a tribute album to Sydney Carter and re-recorded here as we liked it so much. The Chimney is my favourite schottische tune so far.

6 The Metric Jig/The Imperial Jig (Eaton arr Price Eaton)
We play The Imperial Jig in Blowzabella; in my other life I'm a carpenter so units of measurement are a constant inspiration!

7 Three Sharks (Eaton arr Cutting James Eaton)
A three part bourrŽe played by three fellas.

8 Great Escape (Mark Stephen Davies Eaton)
More experiments in hurdy pop; you can dance a 3/8 bourrŽe to some of it. Inspired by some music Julie and I kept hearing in Eritrea. We called it the camel dance.

9 Upton Jail (Eaton)
Another jig accidentally written during the search for the perfect 3/8 bourrŽe.

10 Curlew (Eaton)
A 3/8 bourrŽe type thing. Good riff though. Tried many times to write something to go with it but I kept getting jigs. Named by daughter Annie, why I don't know.

11 Break of the Day/Doctor Fegg (English Traditional arr Murphy Price Eaton/Eaton arr Price Eaton)
Julie found this very English song; my old tune Doctor Fegg seemed to follow automatically.

12 Ancient Order (Mark Stephen Davies Eaton)
An experiment in hurdy pop again.

13 La Gloire de mon PŹre (Eaton arr Cutting Eaton)
My Dad makes these fancy double keyboard hurdy-gurdies and jolly useful they are too; every home should have one! Oh, and the name of one of my favourite films.

14 Hum 'n' Bass (Eaton)
The only thing I could play on an old Rickenbacker bass, plus a riff I had kicking about for ages.

Copyright © 1996/2003 Beautiful Jo Records