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Empire & Love
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Empire & Love

10 Jan. 2010 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 10 Jan. 2010
  • Label: ECC Records
  • Copyright: 2009 Emmerson, Corncrake and Constantine
  • Total Length: 1:03:52
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0031IM6O6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,990 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By The Professor on 12 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD
I first encountered The Imagined Village on Later ... With Jools Holland when they performed Cold Haily Rainy Night (which can still be viewed on YouTube). I was amazed by the eclectic mixture of musical styles and the staggering talent of the players involved. I ordered the album from Amazon the next day. That record went on to be my favourite album of that year and still gets played regularly in our house.

I had enjoyed Simon Emmerson's previous project The Afro Celt Sound System a lot, but The Imagined Village was something else!

Whereas that first album seemed to be an Emmerson studio project with lots of very talented guests (Billy Bragg, Sheila Chandra, Benjamin Zephaniah, Paul Weller, etc.), Empire & Love has much more of a "band" feel about it. With live performances over the last few years, The Imagined Village has now morphed into a fully fledged 10 piece band with Chris Wood, Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Barney Morse-Brown, Johnny Kalsi, Andy Gangadeen, Ali Friend, Sheema Mukhergee and Simon Richmond joining Emmerson throughout the album.

On first listening, the wonderfully catchy Space Girl (with Eliza Carthy on vocals) was probably my favourite track. But as you listen to the album more, different tracks stand out ... in my book, that's the mark of a really great album. Sweet Jane (sung by Chris Wood) has an infectious groove and The Handweaver & The Factory Maid features almost ambient elements.

As with the first album, there are some 'traditional' songs which get The Imagined Village treatment. This time they include Scarborough Fair, The Lark In The Morning ... and Slade's Cum On Feel The Noize beautifully sung by Martin Carthy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Phillips on 15 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have already said, this is a nice piece of work. It's also, in a way, rather subtle, intentionally (I believe) or otherwise.

My copy arrived in the same post as a copy of "Heydays" by Maddy Prior and the recently departed Tim Hart, which I'd bought in order to have a decent memento of Tim on CD, my vinyls being now a bit long in the tooth. Heydays contains what will for some listeners have been "the original version" of "My son John", which opens Empire & Love. The Imagined Village version demonstrates the ease with which a traditional folk standard can seamlessly be up-graded to the current day. One minute you're hearing Martin Carthy singing the accustomed words, and then then you're doing a double-take, and saying to yourself "Did he just mention Iraq and Afghanistan, carbon fibre limbs etc?"

A similar effect is achieved by over-dubbing the 1980's words of "Coal not Dole" behind an otherwise fairly standard Carthy-esque rendition of "Byker Hill". Top marks, however, again to Martin Carthy, for showing how effortlessly Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize" can take on the mantle of a piece of contemporary folk music, if ever it were really anything else, of course. Carthy has elsewhere done something similar with Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel". Well-read folkies will be put in mind of the anecdote attributed to Ewan Macoll, who, having written "Shoals of Herring" sang it to the (then) ancient Norfolk fisherman and singer Sam Larner. Larner is said to have replied "Yes, I've known that song all my life", and no doubt believed that he had.

Even though I might not be an Eliza Carthy fan, I'm a definite Chris Wood afficianado. I was amused that it was he who got two shots on this album at "Scarborough Fair".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo27 on 15 Jan. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Heavens, another genre-bending cross-fertilisation of traditional English folk music. This album, the second by Simon Emmerson and Martin Carthy's eclectic assortment of British-born Anglo-Asian musicians, is a much more cohesive effort than its predecessor and suggests that what was formerly a rather ramshackle collective has now formed itself into a proper band, with startling results.

As folk music goes, whilst never betraying its roots this is a million miles removed from the Arran jumper finger-in-yer-ear stereotype with which the genre has long been saddled. Indeed, some of the tracks feature a rhythm section of which many a self-respecting rock band would be proud. Go bhangra the drum.

Like much of this style of music, it's predominantly dark and sombre. The opening track 'My Son John', about a man who loses both his legs in battle sets the overall tone, with only a couple of songs like the jaunty tongue-in-cheek 'Space Girl' to lighten the mood.

If your only connection with 'Scarborough Fair' is Simon & Garfunkel's angelic version then both versions on offer here will come as something of a shock, each a different manifestation of melancholy - one with sitar preponderant, the other swathed in brooding strings. Similarly, the agitated 'Rosebuds In June' is a long way removed from, say, Steeleye Span's colourful version. Elsewhere, the largely instrumental 'Mermaid' sounds like it's just waiting for an inspired club remix.

Only an all-too-knowing rendition of that traditional olde-English folk staple 'Cum on Feel The Noize' fails to fully convince, the sheer audacity of the idea rather better in the end than its actual delivery.

Quite what the purists and the old beardies will make of this, heaven only knows.
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