on 28 June 2008
If you're already the proud owner of Seth's previous albums then the best way I can describe this is as like Kitty Jay and Lady of the Sea - its fast, loud and foot stomping. There's a couple of slow songs but the pace doesn't stop.
If you're new to Seth then hello. Maybe you like folk music with a bit of a kick or if you're a fan of people like Clannad or The Levellers then this is certainly up your street. The inspiration for the album is the Cornish coast including the Penlee lifeboat tragedy, shipwrecks, old Cornish legends about standing stones and a race to catch whales. All of this may sound a little odd but its the way its delivered - with a striking drum and a frantic fiddle.
I can't praise this album enough - it was played full blast several times on a 4 hour drive if thats a good recommendation! If you get the chance to see any of these songs performed live then you're in for a treat.
on 12 July 2008
Ok ok, so I like folk music - there I said it. Nic Jones, Martin Simpson and now Seth Lakeman, it would appear that someone, somewhere is slowly indoctrinating me (Radio 2's Stuart Maconie I suspect). I wouldn't, however, declare myself a full-blown folkie; I do enjoy the more mainstream stuff and would never join the sandal wearing, beard touting, real-ale swigging, finger-in-the ear brigade.
Right, this album is absolutely fantastic. Having bought it ten days ago I have had it playing throughout the house, in the car and even at work at every opportunity. The tunes, whilst telling tales of traditional folk themes (why are there so many folk songs about whales?), are very well crafted and excellently delivered. They are even better played live; I saw him play in Frome last week and he had the whole place buzzing - there was even a trad folkie (early 60s, bald, beard, CAMRA member etc) head-banging to one of his songs! Try to get to one of Seth's gigs; you will not be disappointed.
If you are folk-curious and want to see what it is all about, buy this album. You will be pleasantly surprised and will have the tunes banging around your head for days. Come out of the closet and join the rest of us neo-folkies; you know you want to!
on 6 July 2008
The opening track has a calling drum beat, wakes you, eyes wide you are ready to listen.
Awaken this track "The Hurlers" continues in the folk tradition of presenting expressions of influential events or memories that exists or have existed albeit with a progressive folk musicality. Poor Man's Heaven has eleven tracks themed around the coast, a number of them from this foot of England close to home for me. The Hurlers/hurling was something I was taught about at school and those service people who give the lives for the protection of others is a poignant remembrance in Solmon Browne.
The Cornish Seascape is dark and edgy and holds many secrets and tragedies. The musicality of this offering depicts that scene. It's gutsy, melodic and stomps and races in many places and yet still has the trad edge. Seth's vocal instrument has grown in depth over the four solo albums and it adds a great blend to the music and with the vocal arrangements bring such life and depth to each track. In places I am reminded of subtleties from Hazy Days, Equations first cd release, and when I am listening to it it also reminds me of the excitement of a Kate Bush album, listening to it for the first time, which is full of intrigue and character. Throughout the tracks you can hear brother Sean on guitar, who blew me away when I saw Equation in Plymouth `98 with his versatility in playing guitars. You can also pick up Kathryn Roberts and Steve Knightley on backing vocals. They all help to make this CD, well, just an interesting, exciting and stomping one to listen to. If you enjoy this CD try and find " Three piece Suite" and then work through the Equation's CD before Seth's previous ones. They have given me 12 years of enjoyment.
Blood Red Sky for me starts and builds as it grows subtly at first and then you are drawn in to the great rhythm and brilliant lyrics. I listen to this on the way home and bounce along the edge of Bodmin Moor, thankfully no priests looking for Hurler's! Greed and Gold is dark and edgy almost bluesy just listen to Seth's vocals. This will be my favourite, just love the crying strings. Seriously for me this album can stand among his other projects. For those of you who like traditional sound you can easily pick out the notes. For those who like depth and boldness this is alike a mature vintage wine full of character and punch. But less of the vintage as we wait for what theme Seth will undertake next!
on 25 July 2008
This is yet another uplifting and life-affirming effort from Seth Lakeman.
He seems to really divide opinion. I know a lot of people think he is overrated but I find it impossible to see him as anything other than one of the finest musicians currently working in this country! He is a superlative musician technically, able to play numerous instruments to a very high standard, a warm and inspiring singer and a first rate songwriter. The nay sayers need to seriously listen to him and not let some trad-folk prejudice against people who get things moving with a jaunty rhythm blind them. Listening to him is inspiring even when his songs aren't of the finest.
I am into all sorts of music but as far as folk goes I am definitely at Seth's end of the spectrum, upbeat, fast-moving, exciting folk. He is not a finger-in-the-ear folkie, get used to it. Don't do the man down for being motivated and exciting!
This album is not his best, but it is a fine record. As usual he covers many different musical approaches, from the drum driven Hurlers to more acoustic stuff. personally I think Crimson Dawn and Solomon Browne are the best songs on the album. The latter is a superb effort, really moving and beautifully played. The last three or four tracks are a bit dull but once again Seth has triumphed!
on 30 August 2008
The murky world of folk purists is a place I would never dare to venture but as a fan of folk music, this is a perfect mix of a rockier roots-sound and folky laments and shanties.
In fact....that intro sounds a little too folky already,Lakeman has carved a career out of sterling tunes,traditional instruments and clever lyrics, with "Poor Mans Heaven" he has bettered his 2006 classic "Freedoms Fields".
The feel to this LP is heavier,more robust but the mandolins,violins and acoustic guitars still dominate,the upright bass and acoustic drums form a bedrock of cornish granite.
2008 has seen some great folk records and Lakeman has added an other to that list...!
on 20 October 2009
Full of energy, buckets of atmosphere, pleanty of foot tappers - all in all another great album. I have just one suggestion to Seth tho, (rather than a criticism) and that's: the folk tales of the Westcountry have made great material for your past four (including this one) solo albums but it's getting a bit predictable and dare I say a tad tedious? Don't get me wrong, I do love your music and have all you've made so far - It's just that it'd be nice to hear some stories & social comment about issues from more recent times. There's plenty to sing about these days other than old folk tales that have already been told a million times before. But hey, we love yu Seth!
Seth Lakeman is a VERY talented Folk Musician. His energy, his passion and his genius makes all of his albums breathtaking. His previous album, the Freedom Fields has attracted a large audience to his fantastic skills in music. Obviously when his new album comes out, after the success of the Freedom Fields, there are high expectations.
Now let's get this straight, Poor Man's Heaven is no Freedom Fields. It has a livelier tone to it in one way and unfortunately it doesn't reach the quality of the Freedom Fields either. Despite that, Seth Lakeman's passion towards Folk Music is shown here more than ever. It' takes a braver turn, and relies less on his trusty violin and uses more guitar like instruments (The Hurlers is an exception). But the songs are still much better than much other Folk musicians can conjure up.
His dream of folk music returning as popular music seems to be coming into a reality. Great job Seth Lakeman, keep up the good work, nay, great work.
on 11 July 2008
Another fine album from Seth Lakeman. It gets your toes tapping and your body moving to the music.
Every track is good however my personal favourites are 'The Hurles' and 'Crimson Dawn'.
I highly recommend this album and if you get the chance, go and see Seth live. I have twice now and he sounds absolutely amazing.
on 8 September 2008
I bought this having heard only one track - I'll Haunt You. I wasn't disappointed. Other favourites of mine are "The Hurlers" - a foot-stomping track and the poignant "Solomon Browne", which tells of the Penlee lifeboat tragedy. Well worth buying, a great listen.
If you are new to Seth Lakeman he's often been described as Indy Folk and I guess its not a bad description. There's plenty of traditional folk elements with excellent playing but also a lot of driving guitar strumming reminiscent of many indy bands but as he is so quick at changing chords you also get a lot of harmony/melody from the strumming. There is also guitar picking.
Youtube Kitty Jay (he can make all that noise solo and live), Solomon Brown and The White Hare to get a flavour of what you can expect from him. (Only Solomon Brown being on this album)
Its all acoustic instruments and the four members of the band for this album can line up for kick off in this formation: drummer, guitar, violin/tenor guitar/banjo/foot board/singing and double bass/banjo.
For me this is his best album so far (up to Tales from the Barrel House) because as with all his albums there are great songs but this has the best overall collection. Solomon Brown and Crimson Dawn are my favourites and are perhaps more traditional poppy folk songs but both have fantastic delicate and exquisite melodies/harmonies.
(Edit I'm listening to Freedom Fields a lot now a now not sure which is best!).
You also have the excellent foot stompers Race to be King and The Hurlers, Poormans Heaven that feel full of tension and ready for something to kick off. Along with some more slower atmospheric songs.
I believe its a bit of a concept album with the songs relating to the sea, Solomon Brown being particularly poignant telling the tale of the Penlee lifeboat disaster in 1981.
Anyway in short worth it just for Crimson Dawn or Solomon Brown but a great album all round that you don't need to be a folkie to appreciate.