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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another terrific album from Folk Police Recordings
I have absolutely no connection with this label but I believe they've released some excellent and refreshing albums in the past 12 months and this is another such.
This album has 10 tracks over around 51 minutes. All the songs are traditional from the British Isles. The instrumentation is courtesy of a set of players on the following: guitars (incl pedal),...
Published on 23 Jan 2012 by sonobuoy

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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE WOODBINE & IVY BAND - The Woodbine & Ivy Band
As my old mucker Johnny Jones would have said "What the Hell was that?" or words to that effect. And who could blame him? As I sit here listening to what purports to be an homage to the likes of Joe Boyd and shame on him...Bill Leader who apparently gave the album some convoluted endorsement according to the press release, the conceit of utilising the services of recently...
Published on 9 Feb 2012 by Pete Fyfe


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another terrific album from Folk Police Recordings, 23 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Audio CD)
I have absolutely no connection with this label but I believe they've released some excellent and refreshing albums in the past 12 months and this is another such.
This album has 10 tracks over around 51 minutes. All the songs are traditional from the British Isles. The instrumentation is courtesy of a set of players on the following: guitars (incl pedal), drums/percussion, bass, piano/Hammond organ, synths, trumpet/flugelhorn & harp
The lead vocalists will mostly be familiar to followers of the current folk scene and/or this label (and they are all in fine form): Fay Hield, Nancy Wallace, Jackie Oates, Jim Causley, Elle Osborne, James Raynard, Rapunzel & Sedayne, Olivia Chaney, Jenny McCormick and Pinkie Maclure. There are also credits given to a bunch of other chorus singers.
Some of the tracks are fairly close to the approach of other previous covers of these songs, some much less so. All, though, make very satisfying listening over many plays.
Recommended to anybody liking well produced, well crafted music/singing in the (wide definition) folk idiom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change or be damned!, 12 May 2012
By 
War Baby (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Audio CD)
Earlier this year the Woodbine & Ivy Band's record label, Folkpolice, was named "label of the year" by one respected folk site and has also been singled out for praise by the likes of FRoots for its unique approach to the genre. It is a label known for pushing boundaries rather than reaffirming existing traditions and the Woodbine & Ivy Band record was rightly acclaimed (in ALL critical quarters, from the Guardian to Mojo magazine and more specialist folk publications) as yet another jewel in the Folkpolice crown.
The reason I point this out is to underline the fact that there is really no excuse for anyone purporting to be in the know about "our music" and then approaching this offering in ignorance - and yes, I use the term 'ignorance' in both senses. As such, Peter Fyfe's review is a little bit like a Motorhead fan reviewing a collection of American FM-friendly rock ballads: pointless and surely beneath the dignity of both parties.
So, for those who think that 'folk' music should be preserved in aspic (and presumably performed only by mucky-faced labourers in public houses), stay away! For those who embrace cultural experimentation; those who think that the Impressionists still qualify as breathtaking painters despite eschewing literal representation; those who believe that Beethoven was right to rewrite the symphonic rule book; those who aren't so staid that they see change/experimentation as something to be scared of; etc; step inside...
The Woodbine & Ivy Band album is a gem. Most of the vocal performances are actually very true to their traditional roots, always at the forefront of the mix, and in the majority of cases quite stupendous. The latter, of course, is hardly surprising when you have the likes of Jackie Oates, Fay Hield and Jim Causley on board! The supporting music is really not as radical as has been suggested elsewhere, and would certainly not give existing followers of folk rock (think Fairport, Owl Service, Trembling Bells, etal) any cause to blink or blanch. What the Woodbine & Ivy Band do bring to the party is perhaps a greater element of psychedelic experimentation and 21st century production values. And yes, this means that they aren't scared of throwing in shuffling beats, trumpets or pedal steel when they feel it adds to the overall texture and experience. It is a mixture that generally works incredibly well.
The band particularly deserve credit for managing to create an album that sits together as a seamless whole despite the fact that every track has a different singer; no mean feat and a challenge that has stumped plenty before. Both musically and sonically intelligent, this is a stimulating but melodically accessible record that may well inspire a new audience to go back and discover the roots of the form. What's not to like in that?
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected cracker!, 28 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Audio CD)
I picked this up after having heard a stunning Jim Causley number on the radio.

That track (Out with my Gun in the Morning - I don't think I have heard anyone else do this gem) is indeed excellent, but its not the only one on this delightful CD. I won't single any others out, as its going to be a question of taste and mood.

Most of the singers fronting the band (Elle Osborne, Fay Hield, Jim Causley, Rapunzel & Sedayne etc) were already firmly on my radar, but one of the delights of this kind of CD is when one comes across a new name.

I had never heard of Pinkie Maclure, but she turns in a very fine version of Twa Corbies. I shall investigate her further.

If you just want to sample a few of the more recent singers, you could do a lot worse than start with this disc - thoroughly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Woodbine And Ivy Band review, 3 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Audio CD)
Two songs into my first listen to this album I was thinking Steeleye Span in cowboy hats! A slightly abstract country-rock feel permeates most of the album, often accompanied by a very British brass section evoking band-stands, overcoats and rain. The intriguing prominance of pedal-steel sees The Woodbine And Ivy Band weave further knots into the glorious tangle that is roots music. Furthermore, occasional eye-brow-raising electronics (a particularly nice touch on The Roaming Journeyman) and the warmth of massed backing singers complement the predominant tone of the album. Well-thumbed folk-songs are launched upon subtly strange seas.

Highlights for me include Spencer The Rover with Fay Hield, (which was promoted as a single), Under The Leaves with Elle Osborne (probably the most out-there track, all spooky atmosphere, shivering desolation and quavering vocals)and Derry Gaol with Jackie Oates (her singing is gorgeous and the musical setting is sparse with drones, half-imagined keyboards, harp and brass along with mysterious grating sounds).

There isn't a weak track, the mood moves from familiar and warm to chilling, boisterous to seductive. Jenny McCormick indulges her lover in the one none-tradional track, Gently Johnny from the soundtrack to The Wicker Man (the lyrics altered to the woman's perspective). And then there's Jim Causley... Rollicking is a word I seldom use, but Jim is certainly rollicking on this upbeat number, amongst growling guitars and playful double-entendres.

I was immensely impressed with Folk Police's Oak Ash Thorn, which features several of the same singers, and I have to say this album doesn't have quite such a profound impact upon me, but it is nevertheless a very worthy release and I am keeping a close eye on what Folk Police are releasing, because they are fearless adventurers prepared to take the tradition on strange journeys.
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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE WOODBINE & IVY BAND - The Woodbine & Ivy Band, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Audio CD)
As my old mucker Johnny Jones would have said "What the Hell was that?" or words to that effect. And who could blame him? As I sit here listening to what purports to be an homage to the likes of Joe Boyd and shame on him...Bill Leader who apparently gave the album some convoluted endorsement according to the press release, the conceit of utilising the services of recently established `folk' vocalists including Fay Hield (Spencer The Rover), Jim Causley (Out With My Gun In The Morning) and Jackie Oates (Derry Gaol) this kind of recording does a disservice to that which I hope a majority of like minded souls like me cherish as something special. The use of pedal steel guitar and trumpet with over-cooked electric lead guitar is not a pleasant sound and if it's meant to appeal to the `yoof' market or perhaps Jools Holland's `Later' then I think this band really have a lot to answer for. Could I possibly suggest that before bandying around names like Pentangle, Sandy Denny and John Martyn that trying to hide behind the invisibility cloak that is `folk' music this will not tarnish `real' enthusiasts liking for the tradition after all, even Steeleye and Fairport had respect when it came to utilising material from the vaults of C# House. If this album is trying to reflect its `country' roots that would be ok but the production tries too hard in throwing everything into the mix whilst smothering the vocals...inexcusable in this day of supposed better technology. I apologise if I sound vitriolic in attacking the band but I've just about had it up to here with artists that feel they can use (and abuse) everything I like about `our' music. [...]

PETE FYFE
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