Six for Gold
CD only BEJOCD-42
The sixth album by Oxfordshire six-piece Magpie Lane is an epic journey through the English folk tradition. To the seasoned talents of founder members Ian Giles, Mat Green and Andy Turner are now added the youthful flair of newcomers Marguerite Hutchinson, Sophie Polhill and Benji Kirkpatrick. Together they have created a fresh and exciting dynamic which is bound to place Magpie Lane among the artists at the very forefront of the English revival.
What the critics have
'Lush deep harmonies and quality instrumental arrangements from talented and experienced musicians. lan Giles' voice is wonderful - rich and warm, and in Andy Turner they have surely one of the most graceful of anglo concertina players. Mat Green is one of the finest fiddlers in the English style; Marguerite Hutchinson and Sophie Polhill, relatively recent additions to the group, have strong, sensitive and accurate voices, and contribute wind and cello to the sound, and Benji Kirkpatrick binds it all together. That is some line-up. Six musicians; the Sixth Magpie Lane album; and, as the rhyme on the back cover says, 'Five for Silver, Six for Gold'.
English Dance and Song
'This Oxfordshire sextet represents the very
best in the English country dance and song tradition... an accomplished
and joyous album that's the finest in its genre in many a moon'
Sing Out (USA)
'Consistently good albums of English songs
and music... I really like it'
Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2
'Forthright, fresh and lively interpretations
of songs and dance tunes from the English tradition. The new recruits add
even more spice and variety to an already spicy and varied instrumental
and vocal palette... Dynamic, exciting and most infectious.'
The Living Tradition
'Perfumed with imagination and skill... The
songs are beautiful. These six Magpies have brought us a touch of gold.'
Roy Harris, Taplas
'Carefully chosen material, meticulously arranged
and honed to perfection... Familiar songs have been revitalised and given
a new burst of energy either through original arrangements - 'A Begging
I will Go' - or full blooded chorus singing - 'The Constant Lovers'.
72 minutes of quality music'
'A fine collection of songs and tunes which
makes richly varied listening. The singing is shared between five lead singers
and there are some luscious harmonies on the choruses.'
The Folk Diary
'There can be few bands blessed with such
fine singers, subtlety of accompaniment, rich mixing of diverse instrumental
tones. Notable is the new maturity of Benji Kirkpatrick's guitar work. This
album is a joy from start to finish. The sound is definitely English traditional,
but such a beautiful example comes along all too seldom. Andy Turner, one
of the most overlooked tenors and concertina players in England, provides
wonderful harmony vocals with Ian Giles. Also unusual to find are a pair
of confident female voices to complement them. Marguerite Hutchinson and
Sophie Polhill not only match each other and the men vocally; the start
of Around the Maypole/Asiatic brought a thrill I haven't had since recording
with the Mellstock band 10 years ago. Sophie's cello is the perfect foil
to Matt Green's fiddle playing, which grows in stature with every recording.
I was impressed by her opening to A Begging I Will Go, where the band tastefully
use the dance tune Grimstock as linking motif. Marguerite also manages to
blend in various whistles, a trick most bands can't carry off. The choice
of material is excellent, and the combining of tunes is sensitive and effective.
There are some of my favourite songs and tunes here. The Constant Lovers
(have all my favourite bands recorded that this year?), Long Peggin' Awl
(nice to hear Benji singing), Bold William Taylor, Argeers, etc. The rhythmic
backing from Benji and Ian is first class throughout. I loved the way they
chose to end the album; they put it all together on one track a fine vocal
lead, great chorus singing, growling raunchy instruments so the first thing
you want to do when the track ends is to play the whole CD again. It's beautifully
recorded and presented, with informative notes. You want this one in your
collection, I promise.'
Flos Headford, Shreds & Patches
'Lovely stuff... an album well worth having'
Green Man Review
'For the poor unfortunates that have not heard
Magpie Lane, they are a six piece band (hence the title One for Sorrow,
Two for Joy etc) playing mainly English traditional music, Pure gold is
just what you get from this CD, from the sleeve design and notes, to the
music and arrangements. What has always made Magpie Lane distinctive is
the concertina playing of Andy Turner, the singing of Ian Giles and the
wonderful use of the cello, played on this album by Sophie Polhill, often
playing a bass line then on occasions taking the melody. This album combines
some unusual versions of well known pieces along with some more obscure
songs and tunes. The highlights of Six For Gold for us are the tune set
Round about the Maypole/Asiatic, A-begging I Will Go, which combines the
Playford tune Grimstock and a lovely version of The Foggy Dew collected
from a Mr Pomery in Dorset in 1906. Lazarus was interesting as we know it
under a different title and tune but this version puts a new light on a
much loved song. The six members of the band play nine instruments between
them plus percussion and they all sing as well as they play. There are no
manic rhythms or gimmicks, just damn good music. Listening to this CD on
a transatlantic flight certainly made the time go quicker. This is certainly
one that we will play for many years.'
The Jovial Cutler
The Constant Lovers
Round about the Maypole / Asiatic
Juniper Gentle & Rosemary
A-begging I Will Go
O Once I was a Shepherd Boy
Long Peggin' Awl
Stottycake Polka / Ganivelle
Bold William Taylor
I Saw a Maid in my Father's Garden
Argeers / Polka d'Auvergne
My Old Hat That I Got On
total running time 71.40
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