A Country Christmas

Magpie Lane




Magpie Lane's Wassail! album is a lively collection of songs and tunes which were originally performed in the band's hugely popular Christmas concerts at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford. Helen Peacocke, writing in The Oxford Times of the 1995 concert described how, 'The bill-boards advertising their annual Christmas concert at the Holywell Music Room said 'Sold Out' - yet fans queued in the bitter cold fog in hope of last minute cancellations. Those of us inside were treated to a feast of seasonal carols, wassails, ballads and the second instalment of the Bampton Mummer's play they began last year... A great night and a splendid way to begin the countdown to Christmas Day.'

What the critics have said...
'For rural English Christmas traditions, the best album of the season is Magpie Lane's Wassail! A Country Christmas. A seven-piece acoustic folk band that features all manner of voices and instruments - concertina, flute, recorder, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, pipe and tabor, cello and more, Magpie Lane perform a wide selection of Christmas carols, wassails and dance tunes. Many of the selections are quite unusual - clearly, they enjoy researching some of England's out-of-the-way folk songs. One outstanding and uncommon song on the disc is the lament of gardeners, who were always frozen out of work in wintertime. Another, better known lament, commemorates a flock of sheep that was smothered beneath a heavy snowstorm in the Isle of Man. The spooky story of 'Herod and the Cock', the ominous ballad of the 'Standing Stones,' and a humorous eighteenth century satire called 'Stuff Your Guts,' along with several generally cheerful wassails and jaunty dance tunes, make for a great mix of moods. Instruments are handled tastefully and deftly, with a lot of nice guitar playing and guest fiddling from Chris Leslie.'
Dirty Linen magazine, USA

'All done very well, with a rich variety of accompaniments and harmony singing,'

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