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Roots The Best of Show of Hands

Show Of Hands Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
Price: £16.58 & 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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Steve Knightley and Phil Beer are widely acknowledged as the finest acoustic roots duo in England. Knightley, who writes most of their inspired material and Beer, a dazzling multi instrumentalist, have built up a huge following which has seen them sell out the Royal Albert Hall three times, headline major festivals from Glastonbury to WOMAD and playing all over the world, from Europe to ... Read more in Amazon's Show Of Hands Store

Visit Amazon's Show Of Hands Store
for 16 albums, 7 photos, discussions, and more.

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Roots The Best of Show of Hands + Wake The Union + Arrogance Ignorance and Greed
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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Nov 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Hands On Music
  • ASIN: B000XBPK92
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,107 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Roots
2. Are We Alright
3. Exile
4. Country Life
5. Widecombe Fair
6. The Falmouth Packet / Haul Away Joe
7. Santiago
8. Armadas
9. The Blue Cockade
10. Crow on the Cradle
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Columbus (Didn’t Find America)
2. You’re Mine
3. The Blind Fiddler
4. The Setting / Mary From Dungloe
5. The Bristol Slaver
6. Port Isaac
7. The Train / Blackwaterside
8. Be Lucky
9. Longdog
10. The Keeper
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

Since 1991 when Show Of Hands became a full time duo, they have released six studio albums, four live recordings, three CDs of covers, traditional songs and instrumentals respectively, and an album of songs from the earliest cassette only recordings. For CD one of this compilation, the band have chosen their favourite tracks from each of the studio albums, plus live versions of three songs, "The Blue Cockade", "Cousin Jack" and "The Galway Farmer" that were felt to put earlier recorded versions in the shade. Four songs that have become concert standards, but hitherto existed only as live or low-key studio tracks, have been re-recorded: "Crow On The Cradle", "Santiago", "Are We Alright" and "Exile". Ten years ago a group of SOH fans created an Internet based forum and called themselves 'Longdogs'. They were asked to pick one track from each album and CD two is their choice. All 30 songs have been re-mastered. "It's been said that one of us builds the house whilst the other decorates it. This album has given us an opportunity to stand back for once and look through the window at all our labours. For that we thank all our friends and supporters." - Steve Knightley


This is a great `Best Of'. The first CD is packed with some of the Devon folk duo's most distinctive tracks from their 15-year partnership, shot through with the fiery liberal patriotism of Knightley's lyrics about the rural West Country (`Roots' and `Country Life'). The second disc consists of 14 tracks selected by fans from the `Longdogs' internet forum, a nice idea that throws up some real gems. What's more, this collection is interspersed with live recordings that lift the energy above the predictability of many `Best Of' albums.
Phil Beer's fiddle playing is sensational, particularly on `The Falmouth Packet/Haul Away Joe', where his furious strings conjure up the boats bobbing in Falmouth harbour. While there are a couple of more abstract love songs (`Are We Alright?' and `You're Mine') that feel weaker than the rest, in the main Knightley's storytelling is full of depth and character. It is a cold heart that is not stirred by the hard tales of `Widecombe Fair', `The Keeper' and `The Bristol Slaver', or the Spanish warmth of `Santiago' and `Armadas', or the Cornish pride in `Cousin Jack'. The take on Sydney Carter's `Crow on the Cradle' is haunting, and when double bass player Miranda Sykes joins Knightley on vocals for `The Blue Cockade' there is a new dimension to the band's sound. It is in these little details that Show of Hands comes to life. The setting of Charles Causley's poem to music in `Innocents' Song' will stay with you long after the music stops.
Nathaniel Handy -- Songlines magazine, March 2008 (#50)

Customer Reviews

3 star
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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a best of.. 13 Jan 2008
Format:Audio CD
At first I wasn't going to buy this CD purely because I own at least one version of all the tracks on the CD already. However one of my friends recently bought it and told me about a few new version of tracks on it, so I thought I'd go out and get it.

I am so glad I did, this really is more than just a 'best of', and in fact I'd say it's a bit of an insult to call it that. This album catches the spirit of Show of Hands perfectly, taking the reader on a journey through all of their work, from the acoustic roots tracks such as 'Tall Ships', right through to more contemporary tracks like the recent single 'Roots'.

There really is something for everyone on here. It includes their best studio tracks, along with live tracks that out-do the studio tracks, and new versions of older classics such as 'Exile', 'Crow on the Cradle' and 'Are We Alright'. The CDs are beautifully put together, and leave the listener rivoted from start to finish.

There really are no faults with this CD at all. Perfect for the die hard SoH fan, and perfect for someone just getting into them. What a wonderful piece of work, giving true credit to the work Steve, Phil and Miranda have put in over the years (not to mention everyone else involved in the record - including Seth Lakeman and Fishermen Friends). Thank you and best wishes to Jack.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars West is Best 3 Jun 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Driving home one day last Autumn the song 'Roots', featured on this album, was played on a radio 4 show and the hairs flew up on the back of my neck! The song is a great thumping polemic on the loss of our english identity and our stories and songs - our roots, something very close to my heart. It is not a jingoistic nationalist rant but it does question, forcibly, why we are so happy to accept plastic massed produced entertainment instead of looking toward our own rich culture. Anyway, I pre-ordered the album when I got home on the strength of that one track and it has hardly left the cd player since. The diversity and skill of the music and lyrics are extraordinary and I just couldn't recommend it enough. Brilliant musicianship, brilliant storytelling. Thanks.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CELEBRATING A UNIQUE TALENT 26 Nov 2007
Format:Audio CD
Rarely can there have been a "greatest hits" compilation which so accurately reflects both the talent of those performing as well as the affection the bands many fans have if their favourite artists. This album manages to do both and do it excellently.

If you haven't bought a Show of Hands CD before buy this one, or in fact buy more and share the magical experioence with your friends.

These songs make you make you think and make you want to dance what more can any music do.

"Are we alright?" you bet you are and more besides.

Thanks Show of Hands
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start here - but don't stop. 20 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
2007 was a good year for a chance late evening drive home listening to Mike Harding's folk music show on Radio2 to introduce me to the outstanding sound of Show of Hands. Within a couple of weeks I had bought Witness and Country Life and also discovered that SoH are almost always playing somewhere, so I snatched up tickets to see them at Regents Park in the summer, And Bloombury in Nomvember, and "Backlog" tickets in Maidenhead. Backlog was specifically a tour where they aimed to play "oldies", so within a couple of months, I'd been exposed to their entire range from oldest to latest. (I also caught Phil and Miranda playing without Steve at the Nettlebed folk club.)
If you've ever heard of SoH and wondered, "should I get a CD?", then my answer is, no doubt, and the CD to get is probably this one. It's a fantastic cross-section of Steve and Phil's work, and the tracks on the 2nd CD chosen entirely by the Longdogs, not put there coz some record company exec liked the margins.
If I have one tiny whinge, it's that there arn't a couple more tracks featuring Miranda Sykes. Show of Hands may technically be just Steve and Phil but with an added hint of Miranda's stunning vocals, everything seems to burst into bright sunny colour!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a "Best Of" 16 Jan 2008
Format:Audio CD
I have to agree with the other two reviewers and say that this is more than just a hurriedly put together selection from a back catalogue. As always, Steve & Phil have put a huge amount of time and effort into delivering this double CD. The artwork is, as usual, stunning and just makes the album a lovely thing to own and there are some fabulous re-workings of their best known stuff.

This album works whether, like me, you're already a die-hard fan or whether you like folk/acoustic/English music and are looking for something beautifully cratfed and artfully produced. Buy it... now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Highly Recommended 28 Oct 2008
Format:Audio CD
I couldn't decide whether to purchase 'Roots' or 'The Imagined Village'. However, a friend, who owned both albums, suggested I go for 'Roots' because 'The Imagined Village' seemed to be diluting English culture rather than adding to it. I'm glad I took their advice. 'Roots' is my first SoH album and I think the title track is written and sung from the heart as are all of the songs contained on this epic production. 'Roots' is also an album with bags of integrity and the native English folk fan should own a copy without delay.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By MtV
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I already have several Show of Hands compilations and live albums and so was reluctant to splash out on this one but it came down to less than a tenner so I went for glad I did some of the versions on here are quite breathtaking. For me stand outs are 'Cousin Jack' always a live favourite but spine tingling with piano and choral backing and 'Roots' again with the Fishermen's Friends providing choral backing.

A great addition to the collection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best
Published 43 minutes ago by robin padgett
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
love listening to this
Published 19 days ago by STEPHEN
5.0 out of 5 stars great, the last song on disk two takes some ...
great, the last song on disk two takes some listening to, but after a few months, you realise just how good it is.
Published 2 months ago by davedavedave45453533
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Alida Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good album and arrived in good time
Published 3 months ago by Mr P Coghlan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent selection
If you like Show of Hands or have just had them recommended to you I would recommend adding this to your collection
Published 9 months ago by FC
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Superb band, excellent songwriting, beautiful + thought-provoking music, most enjoyable - best sort of edgy folk - great way to relax
Published 10 months ago by Christine Anne Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Show of Hands CD
Wonderful disc each track is a sure hit for all roots fans I borrowed it from a friend and had to buy it for continued enjoyment
Published 11 months ago by helen shepherd
5.0 out of 5 stars a great buy
re-found this group on Utube . This cd was every thing I wanted. It was also great value, being a double cd.
Published 14 months ago by mrs p willis
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible!
Love this group and never before have my heart strings been so pulled! Cannot determine a favourite just yet as they are all so good..... Read more
Published 15 months ago by mae9
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