Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Just excellent Folk, but . . . .
on 28 February 2012
I know of few albums as good as this in any field, let alone simply Folk (and I bought my first vinyl LP in 1960!) . . . . BUT have a listen (on the Amazon MP3 site) and decide if you can live with Peter Bellamy's voice. It's a deal-breaker for many people - he described it himself as like the "bleating of an asthmatic sheep". If you can cope with it then I think you'll enjoy these songs with lyrics by Rudyard Kipling (taken from his wonderful children's books "Puck of Pook's Hill" and "Rewards and Fairies" - and don't laugh at those titles until you've read the books) and music by Peter Bellamy - although he states that most of these are subtle variants on traditional English folk tunes. For me it all comes together in one glorious whole (which has rightly been the subject of a tribute album - also called "Oak, Ash and Thorn" - by the likes of Jon Boden, The Unthanks etc - look that one up too).
The Bellamy album is the first of two he recorded in the early 1970s based on Kipling's poems - the other is "Merlin's Isle Of Gramarye" - and any serious fan of English music should have both. To sum it up here is the history of England told in song from points of view as various as Kings, Priests, Pirates and pre-historic man. Huge thanks are due to the Talking Elephant label for having the sense and the courage to re-issue this classic.