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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Oct 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teaspoon Records
  • ASIN: B005K34Q0W
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,000 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Man Behind The Rhododendron
2. Benjamin Bowmaneer
3. Forget-me-not
4. Kiss V
5. Hoax And Benison
6. Honey In The Rock
7. No 32
8. Lullaby For The Beleaguered

Product Description

Product Description

Who is the man behind the rhododendron? What is a ‘benison’? Where did idealism ever get us, anyway? Mary Hampton’s second album FOLLY is here. 4 stars in Uncut & Shindig & 3 in Songlines 4 star review in the FT, a lead, 4 star review in Q, Colin Irwin wrote a nice review in the latest fRoots (a feature on Mary follows Reviews. Reviews on Wears the Trousers' and 'Electric Ghost' and a few other online sites are expected shortly. Radio 3's Late Junction love the album and will be playing from it. Mark Riley's BBC 6 Music have lined up a session with Mary in early October. Hailed as one of the true originals of the ‘new’ folk scene. She sings, plays guitar and piano and writes in a room in Brighton overlooking the sea. Her 2nd album is once again very largely self-penned but this time concerned with the relationship between idealism and folly Mary has toured and performed with a diverse array of artists over the past few years, from Eliza Carthy to Imitation Electric Piano (with members of Stereolab). She has supported St. Etienne and British Sea Power in Brighton, Bellowhead at London's Scala and Alisdair Roberts on a national tour. In 2007 she played for the 1000th anniversary of Oxford (on a bandstand inside a French fire installation), for the 75th anniversary of Cecil Sharp House (home of English Folk Dance & Song Society) and in the exquisite setting of End of the Road Festival. As well as solo dates in 2008 Mary played The Green Man Festival and toured the UK with singer/songwriter, Adem. In June 2009 she toured the UK alongside acclaimed American singer Diane Cluck. "You can fish around for reference points - Incredible String Band, Lal Waterson, Kate Bush, Melanie and Anne Briggs all might qualify - but this is wondrously individual " - Mojo **** Also available NAVIGATOR15 'My Mother's Children'


"Folly is very English, very unusual and proof that if you want to make art, you just have to ignore debilitating forces and get on with it."
-- **** The Times

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenn TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Nov 2011
Format: Audio CD
The vocal is quintessentially 'folk' without question: soaring at times, piercing, falsetto-fine, haunting often, traditional and then quirky. The quirkiness is perhaps more in the unusual instrumentation at times - with occasional ambient/random sounds - and the use of recorder and the humming moan of harmonium. This adds to the haunting sounds too. The strings of her backing band Cotillion are either soft in the background as in 'Lullaby for the Beleaguered' with its rolling and at times complex but beautiful harmonies [waves lapping in the background too], or chamber fresh in 'Kiss V' where a discordant guitar-pluck unsettles throughout. I like these additional dissonant sounds within the mix. It unsettles but also prevents the songs and singing from becoming folk-twee. A song like 'Forget-Me-Not' with its monotone harmonium, sharp recorders, brooding very occasional bass and echoing harmonies really does disturb delightfully. A genuinely interesting collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Nov 2011
Format: Audio CD
Mary Hampton is a singer/songwriter who lives by the seaside in Brighton.
Broadly speaking we might think of her music as "folk" but she brings
something idiosyncratic and quirky into play in the eight songs which
make up her new album 'Folly'. Listening to it is a bit like opening a
buried book of old photographs in a bric a brac shop which has eluded
attention for over half a century or more. Blow off the dust, open the
covers and there inside we encounter pictures of faces and places which,
in the absence of any historical or biographical information, we are
left to construct our own stories. The effort is more than worthwhile.

Ms Hampton's voice is both sweet and sour. A delicate but expressive
instrument which inhabits her material like ghost. In a the dirge-like
song 'Forget-Me-Not', for example, she sounds positively spooky! A second,
half-heard, vocal follows the central melody like a shadow, weaving in
and out of the desolate drone and whistles like a widow in her dark weeds.
Elsewhere, unaccountable and unexplained sonic intrusions punctuate the
performances to tug at our hair and prick our skin like bitter and twisted
night birds ('Benjamin Bowmaneer') and skittering bats ('Kiss V') but I must
not give you the impression that it's all Gothic gloom and doom. Opening
track 'The Man Behind The Rhododendron' delivers a slinky, slow tango in
which one might almost imagine Ms Hampton dancing barefoot on the rain-
soaked floor of a village bandstand! A whimsical tune to entertain herself.
Final track 'Lullaby For The Beleaguered', however, invites us back into
the stark, grey uncertain landscape in which she seems most fully at home.
Read more ›
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By Dollyrocker on 1 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
There are many warbling female singer-songwriters out there but this one is the real deal. Mary Hampton is capable of scaring as well as soothing. She has emotional range and the songs reveal themselves like curious creatures emerging from the deep.

If you think Folk music is about mannerisms and finger-in-ear quaintness then look elsewhere. If you beleive that music should do more than merely entertain then Mary's your gal. She can put you in touch with the mystic and can make you believe in the unseen. Buy Folly now, I urge you. It is not folly at all.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A development beyond expectations after a superb debut 13 Dec 2012
By mianfei - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Mary Hampton's 2008 debut My Mother's Children was a distinctly individual distillation of classic folk singer/songwriter influences held together by a sharp, high-pitched voice that was extremely effective at conveying beautiful, if often dark, tales of rural English life.

Her second album took three years after "My Mother's Children" and was received to mixed reviews, which, judging by what Hampton manages to achieve, constitutes one clear case of misunderstanding. Compared to the impressive "My Mother's Children", "Folly" remains a major advance, with more complex songs and arrangements, and even more diverse material in fewer songs. The opener "The Man behind the Rhododendron", is jazzy rather than folksy, but the delicate voice is even softer and the groove simple, soft but memorable. The lyrics, too, have a classic English sense of humour. The traditional folk song "Benjamin Bowmaneer" is no radical departure for Hampton, but the way it uses orchestration to develop over its six minutes surprises the listener who has the patience to expect something significant.

The beautiful "Forget-Me-Not" is much darker, from its first lines about a cuckoo being heard to despair over apparently losing a lover and still singing his song. The backing, too, removes all traces of guitars for electric organ and woodwinds, creating an intense effect that outstrips even post-rock, let alone most folk. "Kiss V", which begins with a more conventional folk guitar, turns into the finest track in Hampton's impressive career as her voice adds dramatic power to the throaty delicacy seen on earlier songs - appropriate for a song exploring the extremes of domestic passion. The quieter parts are particularly passionate yet delicate. All in all, over its six minutes "Kiss V" is a dramatic ride through the darkest emotions.

"Hoax and Benison" naturally fails to keep un the intensity of the previous two tracks, but it is still deep and dark, yet with an amazing sense of humour ("history's what you feel like in the morning") and further unexpected touches such a the single tinkling piano notes in the second verse developing into simple, yet austere, melodies in the third. The second traditional song, "Honey in the Rock", is even catchy yet retains all the intimate, yet sharp, vocal tones of Hampton's own compositions and its religious theme does not contradict, but fits well with the nature theme of Hampton's own revised lyrics. "No. 32" is an Emily Dickinson poem set to music: it is the simplest track here but extremely beautiful, and closer "Lullaby for the Beleaguered" is an exceptionally stark and simple song that manages to sustain its intensity from a few guitar notes in a wonderful way.

All in all, "Folly" is better than the extremely impressive "My Mother's Children", showcasing what must now be regarded as a major talent. Hampton's songs are long but simple, dark yet intimate, soft and powerful and her distinctive throaty voice (often compared to birdsong) expands its depth substantially. This is a record for all fans of folk or singer/songwriters: it carries on yet expands a unique and long-lasting tradition.
Crazy good 12 Mar 2012
By Melissa Ann Gaulding - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mary Hampton is my perfect musician: a woman with a quirky voice writing unusual songs about weird things--she's in the Kate Bush/Joanna Newsom/Stina Nordenstam group of singer-songwriters I adore. There is nothing easy about this album--but if it was easy, everybody would be doing it--the reward is in its being hard. Her songs requires multiple dedicated listenings to reveal themselves, and even then, their meanings may vacillate between thought-provoking melancholy and utterly absurd. She is using psuedo-traditional instruments and song structures to bring contemporary feelings into sharp relief, and doing it well. Her cover of "Benjamin Bowmaneer" finally brought this song into focus for me and highlighted its brilliance; her own bit of genius, "Kiss V," is a sensual, dreamy, eerie ode to obsession; her "Lullaby" that closes the album is modern distress couched in traditional terms that make one uneasy even as it soothes. I would love to see her perform these pieces live with her talented band Cotillion, and hope they will come to America soon!
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