"English as tuppence", as the late Vivian Stanshall would have put it
This gathering of 1970s cult folk/rock musicians and an award-winning theatrical arranger fronted by a beautiful young actress/singer forms the unusual nucleus of The Green House Band whose love for traditional songs and the arts pioneering interpreters (Renbourn, Jansch et al) pays off with this classy debut album.
The line-up includes former members of medieval rockers Gryphon; folk rockers Albion Band; and cult prog folk act Fuschia. Vocals are by Madeline Worrall, better known until now as a successful actress on stage and UK TV (Foyles War, The Midsomer Murders), with the late American troubadour, Tim Rose guesting on The Snows.
The bands take on classic songs such as this, Blackwater Side, Rosemary Lane, Geordie and Flash Company celebrate not only their tradition but settings in the vein of former interpreters such as Trees (The Garden Of Jane Delawney, On The Shore) and Irelands obscure and cultish Mellow Candle (Swaddling Songs).
This high quality release from Market Square comes with extensive biographical details and band photography in a full colour 8-page booklet.
THE GREEN HOUSE BAND
1. Reynadine 2. Rosemary Lane 3. The Drifter
4. Blackwater Side 5. The Snows
Audio : Rosemary Lane
There are certainly some musical surprises awaiting the curious. Standouts include 'The Drifter' and the long instrumental medley where Worrall engages in some lovely scat singing whilst Taylor and McArthur exchange Renbourn-inspired chords. In one bit this almost treads insipid John Williams/Sky territory before, thankfully, Taylor cranks up the electric. Indeed, one awaits a live version of some of these tracks so that caution can be cast to the winds and the volume can be turned past 9.
With such surprises on offer, it would be churlish to overlook the contribution of the late great Tim Rose. He not only sings on one track but it was he who introduced label chief Peter Muir to the band via a demo.
All we need now is for Madeleine to star in some period epic for which the Green Housers supply a jolly, authentic, and inspiring soundtrack punctuated by electric guitar.
David Randall, www.getreadytorock.com
£7.99 plus postage