When I was at college The Levellers were my favourite band in the whole world. They were the first band I ever saw live. I still remember The Fiddler flying down to the stage on a wire! Fantastic! In an effort to evoke the memory of the good old days, and realising that my original tape was well and truly past it, I jumped on-line and ordered myself another copy from good old Amazon. It's worth mentioning that a lot of albums don't sound half as good as you remember them. Ten or maybe Twelve (?) years on, this record still sounds great. Lyrics to songs i haven't heard in years leapt into my mouth and I was singing away at the top of my voice. If you haven't sung along to RiverFlow, either before or in a long time, your missing out on something truly joyous. Or how about Far From Home or Boatman? This record offers a lot more than just One Way.
on 13 July 2001
For those who have followed the folk scene since the heady days of Fairport Convention, and/or who have frequented great music festivals like Cambridge and Cropredy, there is nothing unusual or original about the music that the Levellers have produced. Upbeat, anti-establishment folk rockers are everywhere should you care to look. A few are miles better than the Levellers; a lot of them are worse. But when "Levelling the Land" burst onto the early-90s, post-Madchester music scene it achieved something that few albums of its ilk have ever managed to do: it brought anti-establishment folk-rock into the mainstream. This is the album that made space-kids abandon their shoe-gazing, and got Neds and Carter fans doing crazy jigs and reels. I still don't quite know how they did it. Except to say that this is a band of outstanding instrumentalists, with a lot to say and an ear for an addictive tune. Ten years on, some of the issues that they rant about have come and gone, but the album (like all the best folk music) remains as a record of what has been and, in places, what might still be. The Levellers may have become a bit more escapist since then, but with one album they did probably more to encourage young people into folk-rock than years of bearded blokes with their fingers in their ears have ever managed to do. A "must-have".
on 10 June 2005
I was sitting down the other day, and I started thinking about the albums that had really mattered to me, made me believe, influenced me, moved me; the rare album where all the songs are inspired gems, an album you can pick up in any mood, and it makes you smile, dance across the living room, an album that touches your soul!!
This is one of those albums! Buy it and smile, laugh, do a jig or just sit down in your couch and listen to it with your favourite tipple in your hand and breath in and replay and breath out and replay!!
on 13 October 2003
God I love this album. None of the songs grate even after the thousandth listen, and each has become my favourite at one point or another, to be overtaken again, only to regroup to make another attempt to woo me.
At the same time they were the first band i ever saw live, at Rivermead in Reading in '93. One Way is the song for a generation, and the fact that its used every time anyone wants to show traveller types on TV proves it.
on 3 August 2014
In the summer of 1993 my (then future) wife and I were on holiday in Ireland and we came across an advert for the Feile, a 3 day music festival held at Semple Stadium, Thurles, County Tipperary. The line-up was, even by today's standards, fantastic; INXS, Iggy Pop, Madness, Deacon Blue, Manic Street Preachers, The Christians, Chris De Burgh, Squeeze, Aztec Camera, The Shamen, The Levellers, and many more. We bought tickets for days 2 and 3, took ourselves off to Thurles, and had a brilliant time.
Of all the bands playing at the Feile that weekend, the ones that stood out for me were Madness, INXS and The Levellers. A few months previously, Channel 4 had broadcast a live concert by The Levellers (which I believe is the same concert included in this box set) and I had managed to catch some of it, so I was already aware that they were a great live proposition, but their performance at the Feile blew me away. Levelling The Land was the first album I bought on returning back to England.
I don't know how many albums I've listened to in my lifetime, but ever since I first bought Levelling The Land back in 1993 it has been one of my favourite albums. It's easily in my top 20, even to this day. All great albums have a number of things in common; great songwriting, passionate performance, top notch production and a wonderful flow to them. Levelling The Land has all of these in abundance and this remastered version sounds better than ever. The sound quality is a real improvement over the original cd, released back in 1991.
All eleven tracks are brilliant, so there's little point in highlighting any of them in particular. The whole album is the star of the show. However, it is worth saying one thing. Even though the singles charts had become completely meaningless by the early nineties, One Way must surely be the best ever single never to make it into the Top 30.
The second disc in this box set has some cracking b-sides and live tracks. Hard Fight, Last Days Of Winter and Dance Before The Storm would, today, make it onto the main album. And the bonkers, unhinged version of The Devil Went Down To Georgia is well worth hearing. There is also an alternate take of Far From Home, which is slightly slower and really rather wonderful.
The third disc is a DVD of a live concert filmed at the Barrowlands, Glasgow, in May 1992, and shows how brilliant they are live. And the sound quality on this disc is magnificent too.
So, one of the best albums ever recorded? Absolutely. This is up there with the very best of them. Although The Levellers have made a number of excellent albums, none quite come close to this. It is, without a doubt, their masterpiece.
on 3 December 2002
Another purchase that was a good idea! This was my favourite tape while in the 6th form many years ago. But technology meant my TDK tape became obsolete! Been years since I last had the pleasure and was a little aprehensive as the memory often remembers the past to be better than it was, nostalgia eclipses fact. Not the case with Levelling the Land. If you were an indie boy or girl in the early 90s then you'll love this. The Import version has 15 years on it (successful single released after the original albulm and added on later versions) which is a bonus. A CD of folk, rock, happy, hippy, guitar, violin, political views wrapped up in some very good and accessible tunes. 10 years on from its release and it still hits the mark for me.