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Diversions Vol.2: The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band

Brighouse and Rastrick Band Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: £12.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Brighouse and Rastrick Band is regarded by many as the best and most consistent ‘public subscription band’ in the world. In its time the majority of premier band championships have been held by ‘Briggus’ whilst the band has also attracted a formidable reputation for highly entertaining concerts for both the general public and brass band connoisseur.

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Frequently Bought Together

Diversions Vol.2: The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band + Diversions Volume 3: Songs from the Shipyards + Diversions, Vol. 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons- Live from the Union Chapel, London
Price For All Three: £33.21

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 July 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RabbleRouser Music
  • ASIN: B008DPC4D0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. The King of Rome 7:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Trimdon Grange Explosion 6:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. George 3:25£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. The Happiness or Otherwise of Society (Jack Elliott) 1:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. The Father's Song 5:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. George II 4:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. My Lagan Love 4:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Queen of Hearts 3:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Gan to the Kye 5:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Felton Lonnin 7:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk 5:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Newcastle Lullaby 6:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Gresford (The Miners' Hymn) 4:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Farweel Regality 6:18£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

"Diversions Vol 2. constitutes perhaps the most daring and accomplished of musical adventures to date for The Unthanks. Their paradoxical marriage of staunch traditionalism and sonic adventure continues in the shape of brand new collaboration with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, known as the best public subscription band in the world, celebrating their second successive year as National Champions of Great Britain.
The record is the culmination of a project that began as a commission from Brass: Durham International Festival, with Unthanks pianist, composer and producer Adrian McNally writing The Father s Suite: a four movement piece in celebration of Rachel Unthank and McNally's first child, born four weeks before the sold-out, premiere in Durham Cathedral.
""I grew up in the former mining village of South Hiendley, about two miles from Grimethorpe, home of the most famous colliery band in the world,"" explains McNally. ""I was 11 when everything changed in 1984. Brass band music was part of the fabric, and something I absorbed as a child, which is probably why I find it so emotive as an adult. Folk song and brass band music may be different musical disciplines but often both were designed to speak for and be spoken by the same people"".
Despite having no training and being unable to read or write music, with the assistance of Unthanks fiddler player Niopha Keegan, Adrian McNally has written brass scores for approximately half this record. The other half features songs that have previously appeared on Unthanks albums, with The Unthanks arrangements adapted for brass by conductor Sandy Smith.
Amongst the new material is Tommy Armstrong's Trimdon Grange Explosion, written 150 years ago about a Durham mining disaster. ""74 people died, among them boys as young as 11,"" explains Rachel Unthank. McNally's The Father's Suite features spoken word by Jack Elliott (of the famous Elliott's of Birtley, taken from a BBC film about his life) and an adaptation of Ewan MacColl's Father's Song, with a new tune written by McNally, unable to find a copy of the original tune to hand at the point of writing and keen to press on while the creative iron was hot. The project also sees debut lead vocal performances by Unthank members Niopha Keegan and Chris Price and the record kicks off with the televised performance of King of Rome that was so rapturously received at the BBC Folk Awards earlier this year.
While all the tracks on this record were recorded live in concert halls, cathedrals and town halls; some in front of an audience and some not; it should not be regarded as a 'live album', in the lowly, lesser sense of the term. A live album would normally contain pieces that an artist has recorded more definitive studio versions of previously. That is not the case here. The scale of a brass band and the practicalities of singing with them almost necessitates live performance anyway, so why not in front of an audience? For better or worse, these are the definitive versions!"

BBC Review

In life, diversions can often yield fascinating consequences. They’re the world’s optional extras, where success or failure is not paramount; so there’s wriggle room for experiment. Such is, very definitely, the case with The Unthanks’ ongoing Diversions project.

In 2011, for Diversions Vol. 1, The Unthanks reimagined the songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons. The band planted these two mercurial songwriters into a diaphanous folk world, to striking results. Now, Diversions Vol. 2 – in collaboration with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band – almost does the opposite. It takes folk music and unflinchingly pumps up the volume.

As a live album, recorded at various concert venues, town halls and cathedrals throughout Britain, the temptation may have been strong to make the brass bombast a quick shortcut to impact. Yet nowhere does that happen, even in the album’s loudest moments. The arrangements are extremely careful. There are the featherweight tracks, where the brass is the seedbed for tender shoots of vocals: as on opener The King of Rome, and the slowly creeping Gan to the Kye.

In contrast, there are the far more upfront arrangements of Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk and Trimdon Grange Explosion. These two horrific narratives are stunning in their use of brass to express, respectively, anger and paralysing grief.

The album has humorous moments, most notably an almost parody-like reinterpretation of Queen of Hearts, a highlight from The Unthanks’ 2011 album Last; here, it’s performed in the style of a finger-clickin’ Vegas crooner. There’s also the loving, yet completely unsentimental, The Father’s Suite. A celebration of Rachel Unthank and Adrian McNally’s first son, it hands down the musical dreams of father and grandfather to the next generation in two instrumental vignettes, while offering sage advice via a take on Ewan MacColl’s frank lullaby, The Father’s Song. “There’s no ogres, wicked witches,” sings Rachel to her newborn, “only greedy sons-of-bitches.”

While Diversions Vol. 2 is often emotionally naked, it is musically restorative. By entwining folk and marching bands, two boldly working-class styles, The Unthanks offer a strong hand of comfort to these tales of ordinary sadness.

--Charles Ubaghs

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brass and folk at its best. 2 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD
Words cannot express the beauty of this music. Unlike the previous commentator, I also live in the North East and The Unthanks with Brighouse at the Cambridge Folk Festival was one of the greatest live musical experiences of my life and from the ecstatic reaction of the audience I was not alone. Brass and folk is a terrific blend. Please, please let us have more of this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goose pimples 6 Aug 2012
By Spud
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When all else is failing "folk music" sometimes makes a leap forward by not looking in what direction it leaps. This is an awesome album, I can't tell you why, to me it comes from somewhere sort of familiar, but its fired out of a cannon. It kind of make a noise that will give you goose pimples, buy it, put your headphones on and let it kind of lift you. I never expected brass and voice to do this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the perfect marriage but close enough. 18 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD
I've been a fan of Rachel and Becky Unthank since the days of The Winterset and have managed to catch them in concert on a couple of occasions. This diversion however, doesn't work as well as most reviewers suggest although there are some great moments on it. Unfortunately, there are some truly awful ones too such as Queen of Hearts and The Father's Suite. Last night I attended their concert at York Minster hoping to hear something of the quality recorded here at Leeds Town Hall and St George's Hall, Bristol but it was a disaster. The group were inaudible and the brass band was painfull to listen to. However, that is not the case here and I would recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys both musical genres, Folk songs and Brass Bands.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Music 5 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD
This is a most beautiful C. D. Starting off with David Sudbury's wonderful story of The King of Rome. When this was played at the BBC folk awards the audience went wild in their appreciation of the song, the singers and the magnificent Brighouse and Rastrick arrangement of the music. Add to it pieces by Ewan McColl and some of the best singing this side of Heaven and one has a magical mixture. C.D's like this don't come along very often so grab this piece of magic, sit back and enjoy.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Beautiful 30 July 2012
Format:Audio CD
I saw them perform with the Brighouse and Rastrick Band at Cambridge Folk Festival where they played this set. I can only say that the music is sublime. I didnt realise how tenderly a Brass Band could play.

As this CD is a live version of the collaboration, it has all the intensity of the Cambridge performance. It really is too beautiful for words. Fragile but at the same time strong, if that isnt a contradiction. Rachel and Becky have such expressive voices.If you only buy one CD this year, then make it this one. You wont be disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unthank Originals 15 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
And on that first point there's no doubt. It's one thing to arrive on the scene, and remain there by remaining resolutely in the zone that first got you fame. The Unthanks believe in going down new roads, the risky path, and all power to them that they do this, and by all accounts they're growing their fan base in the process. I've seen them live three times over the course of as many years, and each concert has been totally different to the previous one. Who knows where they go next? (well we know the immediate future, and I'm certainly looking forward to the shipyard songs).

And having said all that, I wish I could have liked this a little more. No doubting the quality of the musicianship, from both band and brass band. The King of Rome is a good start, though for me it won't replace June Tabor's sublime version. But there's room for more than one interpretation. I think the album sags considerably in the middle - I'm sure the father songs are of supreme significance to Adrian and Rachel, but to me they came across as a bit, well, unmemorable. Finally the tempo goes up - and it's not Rachel or Becky singing. And then the songs from The Bairns - strangely I find the Newcastle Lullaby the best of these, I say strange because I always regarded it as a bit of a throwaway track. For the others, well I declare my interest that The Bairns is my favourite album by this band, and I don't find any of them an improvement, much preferring the original piano based backing. And whilst I wouldn't go as far as the one negative reviewer so far, Farewell Regality does (to me) almost slow to a halt. I still remember the then still all-girl band playing that at a small folk club in Newbury, when it was a real anthem to round off a rousing concert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it. 18 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Another superb experiment amnd branching out form the Unthanks. I loved it but you need to be in the mood. It is dark and solemn in some tracks so pick the right time to listen to it. B and R are superb accompaniment for this quirky duo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! 4 Aug 2012
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
Yet again the voices of The Unthanks make for another GREAT album .The Brass band really compliments and adds to the whole Album. LIsten ,Enjoy and Purchase today
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the Unthanks
It's the Unthanks, what more can I say?, and up to their regular standard. Listened to regularly, and expected to be played even more.
Published 4 months ago by Leslie Forester
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning mixture of folk and brass
I bought this for the opening track, which I first heard on Radio 2's brass band show. The whole album is splendid.
Published 7 months ago by PETER HANDLEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Bagpuss...
Brilliant remix of some old songs with a wonderful soulful brass band accompaniment. Those girls' lovely voices completely match the band and vice versatile. A joy
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. M. J. Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised
Ordered this for my husband and was surprised that I really enjoyed the music. May even buy him another cd if he is really lucky!
Published 12 months ago by Mrs Donna J Simonds
5.0 out of 5 stars CD
I still prefer to see what i have bought - it also seems more respectful to the artiste(s). Great music and production . You have to buy the 3 volumes they are all fantastic.
Published 12 months ago by Wiltshireman
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Sublime ethereal etc. Great for getting over a fear of brass bands. Love Rachael and Becky's voices. Three more words required,
Published 14 months ago by Herring
4.0 out of 5 stars Brassy
I came fairly late to The Unthanks but I'm now 4 albums into their catalogue and with each purchase I still find myself amazed at how stunning they can be when at their best. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Peter Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars The music of the future comes from the past
The combination of a folk act and a brass band is one which will always work as both these areas of music are what is the music of the people. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars This is just wonderful
I bought this for my husband after he mentioned that he liked a track he heard on the Mark Radcliffe/ Stuart Maconie show on Radio 6. Read more
Published 18 months ago by cheshire lass
5.0 out of 5 stars superb & engaging
Huge live sound present here.
It feels as if you are actually in the room with the performers.

Nothing to add over all the previous good reviews posted here. Read more
Published 19 months ago by opinionated
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