5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not just sex and death.......,
This review is from: The Imagined Village (Audio CD)
"Sex and Death" is how Simon Emmerson, whose brainchild this is, describes this folk concept album, but it's about much more than that. It is the re-imagining of traditional folk songs and themes in a modern (often urban) setting. It's not just the chalk downs of Bob Copper's childhood that have been replaced by "'Ouses, `Ouses, `Ouses" as in the first track, so folk music has been surplanted by urban rhythms. This is where folk music comes out fighting.
Like all concept albums it's not wholly successful, but where it is it transcends the confines of the album's aims. A standout track is Benjamin Zephaniah's retelling of Tam Lyn over 9 epic minutes, channelling poetry through breakbeats and a dub sensibility. Despite Eliza Carthy's backing vocals it's probably not really folk music. However, folk purists can take heart elsewhere as Martin and Eliza Carthy and Chris Woods are present and correct, along with Paul Weller and Billy Bragg (no stranger to a folk tune themselves). Bragg, himself provides another standout moment with his reworking of an old Copper favourite "Hard Times of Old England", where Bragg touches on some of the themes of his "Progressive Patriot" book.
It doesn't all come off, but where it does (and it does most of the time) this is a triumph. Folk purists may sniff, but as Martin Carthy says, "The only harm you can do to traditional music is not to play it or sing it".