These days we associate banjo with American and perhaps Irish music; if you look up 'banjo' on Amazon, the stuff you'll see is virtually all 5-string/bluegrass. The old 'C' tenor banjo has completely gone out of fashion, even more than the English concertina, and it's easy to forget that it was a mainstay of British popular music for around 100 years. Before amplification guitars weren't really loud enough for public performance; the banjo was the answer for an accompanying instrument which was easy to transport and easy to play.
This album reads like an attempt to revive the instrument and show what it can do, covering everything from bluegrass and music-hall songs to ancient carols. Palmer studied at a London banjo club under one of the old-time players, so he learned properly and is maybe the last product of the genuine tradition. The playing, however, is calm - studied, even - never flashy. The classic title track was recorded by COB and also used as the theme for Billy Connolly's World Tour of Scotland - so if you've heard that you'll have some idea what to expect: old-style music but with a strange, modern sensibility. It's a sort of retro-psychedelia which, even in the exploratory climate of 1967, was obviously just too far out for many.
Five stars because of its uniqueness, and the melancholy, low-key soulfulness Palmer put into his music.