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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.
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on 9 July 2011
Great album! Definitely one of Peter Bellamy's finest - I think I am right in saying that this is the first of PB's "Kipling albums" & what a cracker it is! It is described on the back cover of the LP as a collection of songs by Rudyard Kipling but of course the music is all Peter Bellamy's (though drawing, as always, on his extensive knowledge of traditional music forms) From the opening call & response of "Frankie's Trade", through the wonderful sparseness of "Poor Honest Men" & "Cold Iron" on to the haunting & beautiful "Sir Richard's Song" every song is a treat & then on to the unaccompanied "The Looking Glass" & echoes of The Young Tradition with the title track - the wonderful "Oak & Ash & Thorn" then "King Henry VII and the Shipwrights" (sung to the familiar tune of "Rounding The Horn" or "The Gallant Frigate Amphitrite" if you prefer) & with Barry Dransfield providing a perfect fiddle accompaniment. "Brookland Road" is another unaccompanied song - there's not many singers that I enjoy listening to unaccompanied but Peter Bellamy is one of the few - "A Three Part Song" exactly that in more ways than one, is described as "A simple hymn in praise of Sussex". "The Ballad of Minepit Shaw" sees Peter accompanying himself on guitar for the second time on the album. Then "Our Fathers Of Old" is the last unaccompanied song & the final song, "Philidelphia" sees PB accompanying himself wonderfully on his trusty concertina. English folk music doesn't come much better than this & it is a shame to think that Peter Bellamy was somewhat shunned (& misunderstood) by many in the folk community towards the end of his life, & by all accounts, found it hard to find anywhere to play. Genius is probably too strong a word (& certainly over-used these days) but it's hard to see how this album could have been made any better & imho it comes close to being a somewhat neglected masterpiece.
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on 15 April 2012
This is really one of my favourite music CD's, especially the 'Oak, Ash and Thorn' track. Peter Bellamy has essentially captured the very essence of folk music. He is sadly missed.
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on 10 May 2015
The first of the late Peter Bellamy's Kipling collaborations with beautifully executed cover art by the singer who was also an accomplished artist. I can well remember how exciting this project sounded when I heard some of it performed by Peter in Norwich in late 1970, and, 45 years later, I can say with confidence that it has stood the test of time. Produced to a very high standard by the late Fred Woods, sometime editor of "Folk Review" magazine, this CD reissue perfectly reflects the love and care which went into the original recording.
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on 22 January 2013
The best of Bellamy's Kipling songs and an absolute classic, way better than the recent "tribute album" - get the original.
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on 26 February 2014
Loved this and would recommend this to anyone who loved Rudyard Kipling. It is magical and quirky to listen to.
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on 16 February 2015
Listen to it on a regular basis.
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on 13 August 2011
For those who mourn the passing of this unique folk singer, then this CD will awaken old memories. If however you are new to Bellamy's style then it would probably be best to try " The Ballads of Peter Bellamy ". I personnally really like this album, but I was a great admirer of Bellamy and his unique style.
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on 4 July 2011
Peter Bellamy may, sadly have left us long ago, but this newly released recording of arguably his greatest legacy, the putting of Kiplings words to suitable tunes, lives on and allows us once again to fully appreciate the talents and musicality of this superb collection of truly British words and music, steeped in the 'young and older' tradition.
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on 30 May 2014
Ok... Nice... So where does Tom Waits come into it all? Star rating is obviously arbitrary, same as the TW connection...
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