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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Album
For a number of years I've been following Show of Hands as I'm a huge fan of their type of music having grown up in the Lake District with a few folk clubs. So having enjoyed previous titles they've produced, I was looking forward to the latest one and have to say that for me its one of their best to date. That takes you through the full emotional spectrum whether you...
Published 22 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor follow up to AIG
I'm a great fan of Show of Hands, but can't help being disappointed with this latest offering.

They've always had some great songs that have stood out on earlier albums, eg the title track from AIG, Country Life, Roots etc etc, but this album has no such track. Yes, the opener Haunt you is a good track but Seth Lakeman's version on his own album is better...
Published 19 months ago by Valley Man


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Album, 25 Oct 2012
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
For a number of years I've been following Show of Hands as I'm a huge fan of their type of music having grown up in the Lake District with a few folk clubs. So having enjoyed previous titles they've produced, I was looking forward to the latest one and have to say that for me its one of their best to date. That takes you through the full emotional spectrum whether you want the emotional turmoil presented within "Katrina" or "Coming Home" through to the heartache with "Cruel River" and "Seven Curse"s alongside anger in the "I Will Haunt You."

Yet for all that the Album has its uplifting tracks and the wonderful musical talent goes within through a very unique combination of Blues, Folk and a touch of Country that brings the best of all together. All in this is a top notch album that includes tracks that you'll sing along to as well as listen to the lamentation. Great stuff and an album that will be listened to quite a few times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Best?, 2 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Wake the Union (MP3 Download)
This is the Best Show of Hands album I've heard- though I haven't heard everything they've done so I can't say it's their absolute best. Initially I thought they might be padding it out with some re-cycled stuff-"Cruel River" was the the title track on one of Steve Knightley's (great) solo albums and "Haunt You" has already appeared on a Seth Lakeman CD. These versions are sufficiently different to justify inclusion and, anyway, you can't really complain about value for money when you've got 15 songs overall. I thought the last effort "AIG" was a bit thin in places but "Wake the Union" is solid quality throughout. The real standout is " Coming Home"-if it doesn't break your heart then you've none to break. It does re- visit already -touched- on -themes in Knightley's work but this one really hits home by being beautifully understated. I've seen some negative comments regarding the fairly strong Americana element but I think that's a bit daft. Fretted instrument based folk music IS an American genre, like it or not, and there's nothing wrong with British artists giving it its due. A reminder that probably none of this would have occured without Dylan is another cover of one of the great man's songs: "Seven Curses." This gives Phil Beer the seemingly traditonal once- an- album opportunity to air his vocal cords, (Comparisons with Ringo end there.) Is that a tenor uke he's playing on this? Actually I rather prefer the version here to the recent one by June Tabor and the Oyster band. As always, Mr Beer's multi-instrumental talents are heard to great effect on these songs . This is a suberb album- highly intelligent songs backed by wonderful playing and production.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album of 2 Atlantic halves celebrates 20 years together, 19 Oct 2012
This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
The guitar on the album cover cleverly visually depicts what this album is all about;contrasting USA influences like The Stars and Stripes and Route 66;with English themes like the Union Jack and A303. 3 years since the release of their last fantastic album, Arrogance,Ignorance and Greed, this record has a wider range of supporting musicians. The core trio of key songwriter and main gravelly voiced singer Steve Knightley with talented multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer and the ever dependable Miranda Sykes on Double Bass, are here accompanied by a wider range of guest musicians , including Seth Lakeman on Viola, Martin Simpson on Slide Guitar, Andy Cutting on Melodeon ,BJ Cole on Pedal Steel Guitar, Leonard Podolak on 5 String Banjo,Phil Henry on Dobro and Hannah Martin on Fiddle.
A number of songs are written from their well established west country background perspective, such as Now You Know( a love song to their homeland ),Cruel River(about the Dart), and Home to a Million Thoughts ( a nice tribute to a local museum in Exeter). In contrast other songs have clear Americana roots,Company Town tells the story of a community's demise when the main employer collapses;Katrina has a ghostly spooky arrangement about the impact of the hurricance of that name,while Aunt Maria recounts Cecil Sharp collecting traditional songs from the USA.
However,for me personally, my favourite songs are the poignant Coming Home, recounting how a young tearaway local lad joined the army, and at just 20 years 3 months and a week is bought back dead from Afghanistan; Stop Copying me, that has a cynical humourous take on ripping off music and plagarism by students ,modern sins of the computer age, which stikes as rather Chumbawumba'ish; and Thanks, a superb concert closer, " Thank you all for coming, Thanks for turning up", which I am sure they will use regularly for years to come.
15 tracks in all, mostly originals Steve Knightley compositions, with a few more classy tracks to add to their memorable back catalogue. I saw them in concert earlier this week at Stamford, when they played most of these songs to excellent effect, as a live band they have presence, humour ,charisma and charm,so catch them locally if you can on their current tour. A great new album to add to their impressive career, with some thought provoking songs from their west country roots.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor follow up to AIG, 4 Jan 2013
By 
Valley Man (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
I'm a great fan of Show of Hands, but can't help being disappointed with this latest offering.

They've always had some great songs that have stood out on earlier albums, eg the title track from AIG, Country Life, Roots etc etc, but this album has no such track. Yes, the opener Haunt you is a good track but Seth Lakeman's version on his own album is better. 'Katrina' and 'Stop copying me' are also fine enough, the later incorporating some of the humour that is occasionally present in Steve Knightley's lyrics.

There is a tilt to the US in this album, as evident from the cover, but I wish they had stuck to the their traditional English roots in the style of songs. The arrival of Country & Western style slide guitar is a very worrying development. Very evident in 'Who gets to feel good' and in my opinion an awful song. It just grates on me. Please lads, leave that stuff to Messrs Wynette and Parton.

I hope that this is just a temporary set back and the next album will be back to their English Roots - after all they wrote a song about it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phil and Steve (and Miranda) do it again, 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Wake the Union (MP3 Download)
3 years on from Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed Show of Hands are back with a new studio album and it's a real grower. Several of the songs will be familar to any one who has seen SoH or Steve Knightly live in the last couple of years but the real gems are the new Knightly songs like Katrina, Coming Home and Home to a Million Thoughts.

I'll be honest and say the first couple of listenings didn't impress me that much but the album came alive for me after I saw them perform the bulk of it live on their recent tour. Particulalrly memorable with Katrina, started from a completely dark stage.

Buy the album, see the live shows - you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Progress from the band, 18 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
I won't go into too much detail, but this is a broadening of style for SoH, still with the inimitable musicianship, and great song-writing. I think they may have occasionally been a tad lazy with Steve's vocals, to maintain the 'live' spontaneous feel we have come to expect, but other than that a great album.

A breathtaking opener, Haunt You, followed by a real bluesy Wake the Union (or Whack the Onion, as it's known in our place) with the ever dependable Mr Beer excelling on fiddle on the latter, but the show stopper has to be Coming Home, a real tear jerker. And no (very brief) review could fail to mention King of the World. A real class act with a real class album. Worth a punt of anyone's hard earned !!

Can't wait for the next album to see what direction the boys (and girl) go in next but will wear this one out while I'm waiting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best yet, 17 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
It is not always easy to write an objective review when you are big fans who have followed Show of Hands for year. They are one of the best live bands around with superb songs and instrumental prowess always backed by superb sound quality. Sometimes it is hard for studio albums to match this but Wake the Union certainly does that.
This is in my view is their most listenable and consistent studio album to date with the new American influences giving the band a new freshness and not detracting from the quality of the songwriting. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Loving this album, 1 Nov 2012
By 
A. T. Woodward (Exeter) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
I think the reviews already submitted say a lot of what I feel but it is evident some people are even bigger fans of the boys than I am. I have known about them for about 15 years, seen them about a dozen times and have a handful of their albums. This in my view is one if not the best albums and I just cannot stop listening to it. As I always do say to people who have not listened to SOH before, do yourself a huge favour and try them out. Ideally see them live because as Jim said they are simply outstanding performers and they could give a money back guarantee and never pay out a penny.. The demographic of their hardcore fans are of a certain age but the crowds at concerts do contain a good smattering of 18 -30's. My kids 24 and 22 have loved them for 15 years too. I am not a folk fan at all and find the healthy discussions between folk fans of SOH and people like me interesting. Like a lot of SOH fans I spend a lot of my life trying to get other people to know about this band and find myself apologising for the folkish element. Sorry but I do, simply because the words folk music conjure up visions that dont appeal to a lot of people in this country. Yes they are missing out but SOH more than play their part in bridging the gap between "middle of the road" for want of a better phrase and folk. Some tracks on this album are more poppy I feel which probably explains why I am humming some of them constantly. "Stop Copying Me" being a prime example which is a very amusing take on social network/modern day communication which most people would identify with. Be careful though I have taken to singing "stop bothering me" to the missus when she is asking me to do some jobs or other which is all well and good and amuses me but not so much when she sings it back to me on other occasions (cough cough!). There are some fillers but the consistency of this album is stunning as 7 or 8 tracks are simply brilliant. My own favourite and one which I feel absolutely should get more airplay though it would have the nation in floods of tears is Coming Home. The chilling phrase "The family have been informed" now echoes in my mind most days as I watch the news with boys and girls "coming home" all to often.If you are a fan and havent bought this album why on earth not. If you have never heard them I absolutely promise you that if you buy this album and see them live in the next 12 months you will thank me for ever I kid you not.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Usual Show of Hands quality, 10 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
Superb musicianship and song-writing once again from Steve and Phil with some telling contributions from fellow musicians. A different slant with this collection of songs - a transatlantic theme is discernible. Can't wait to catch these songs live.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: Wake The Union (Audio CD)
This band just gets better. Great songs, great voices
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