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Lions CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, CD, 30 Nov 2009
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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Nov. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Righteous Holler Recordings
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 999,108 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

LIONS - a hymn to post-crunch England delivered with a wry smile and a wince - was lovingly crafted in a shed, a garage and a chapel during the summer of 2009. The resulting 11-song LP roars with madcap imagination; brass bands, pipe organs, drummer boys, choirs, fiddlers and church bells tussle with the Reverend's raucous finger-twanged acoustic guitar. Lions is plucky little album determined to punch above its weight and be considered a humble successor to The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society, XTC's English Settlement, and Blur's Modern Life is Rubbish. The Rev's off-kilter stories, dark jokes, allegories, parables, and brazenly reworked bible tales are as fascinating and charming as his novel musical style.


With the current folk revival going on in the UK from the most traditional to the pop/folk crossover every so often an artist comes along that inspires a mixture of awe, confusion and joy in equal measure. Rev Simpkins did just that with his latest album, Lions. From the blasting state of the nation address in Bb major originally released as a single to coincide with the Queen s official birthday, Elizabeth, through the blues-gospel of Daniel and the Lion (with some nice guitar work) and the New Orleans-style jazz of I Was England s Last Honey Bee. Simpkins wears his religion on his sleeve, but in a peculiarly English way that endears and fascinates (and is a welcome change to the bigotry of much US-inspired fundamentalism) even with the American-roots musical inspiration. This is the gritty Christianity of Graham Greene s whiskey-priests rather than the cringe-worthiness of Cliff Richard, and in that respect is reminiscent of Richard Thompson s Islam. After a whirlwind journey through patriotism, despair, environmentalism, temptation and a wall of chaotic sound the album finishes with what sounds like a complete reinterpretation of the gospel John the Revelator which gives Simpkins the chance to showcase what an excellent guitarist he really is, and is a fitting end to a challenging and satisfying album. --Everything Folk

***** ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Dec 09 Dear old England is in trouble once again. This time it isn't a foreign power determined to undermine our imperial integrity. No, this time, society is crumbling all around us. We keep smiling but that won't stop the rot. Somewhere hidden in the crowds of the trendy haircuts, shiny suits and boob jobs that characterise music in this country these days, there survives the great English eccentric tradition. Think of Vivian Stanshall, The Kinks even Blur. Intelligent and perceptive songs neatly disguised as mere entertainment. To this fine tradition, Rev Simpkins and The Phantom Notes must be added with the follow up album to the exquisite "Rabbler & Crow". Whilst that album was a deranged parable, "Lions" takes a more direct approach. You can't mistake the message in "Elizabeth" about the way the once great English people fall back on the Dunkirk spirit as their country spirals into the abyss. Further evidence of this can be found in the amoral tale of "The Parable of Scag Addict & Quack" and in the allegories to isolation in society contained in "Jonah". Likewise, the plaintive "Turtle Dove Waltz" charms whilst a danse macabre unfolds. There's a lot to enjoy in this album. For one thing, it's a lot more complex than the vast majority of independent releases and not just in terms of the musical arrangements. It covers themes that are rarely addressed but it does not chase controversy. The result of that approach is that "Lions" comes across as a work of conscience that mixes grandeur with humility. That's what makes this such a good album. Something with this scope could easily have become burdened with pretension but instead it is the strength of the human spirit that comes through. An album to treasure and that's a fact! --Blues Bunny

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18 April 2010
Format: Audio CD

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