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Cunning Folk - Ritual Land, Uncommon Ground
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Cunning Folk - Ritual Land, Uncommon Ground
Nov 28, 2017, 10:04
I think this is my album of the year.


The Amazon 'product description' says:

"George Nigel Hoyle is a folk singer & songwriter. He has recorded a couple of albums of folk songs about London under the name 'Nigel Of Bermondsey'. He can be spotted performing at singarounds in London, in abandoned housing estates, derelict houses & old docks, often as part of 'London Dreamtime', a storytelling collective headed by his wife Vanessa Woolf. He has run the South East London Folklore Society (SELFS) for five years. SELFS is a monthly pub meeting with talks on a wide variety of subjects from folklore of plants to a biography of Austin Osman Spare with the occasional journey into the esoteric. SELFS was originally a pagan group & now welcomes folk of all faiths & none at all. Last year he released the acclaimed GentleFolk album. GentleFolk were a folk band formed in the summer of 2014 from a group of South East Londoners who met at a singaround in the Old Nun's Head in Nunhead. George wrote the songs & and sang & played guitar. He was joined by Elizabeth Forrester on vocals & shruti box. Sarah Lloyd played fiddle & sang. Ian Kennedy played cello, flute, recorder & drum & also sang. They played in a variety of woodland settings, several cemeteries, at a reservoir, the bar at Cecil Sharp House, the Golden Hinde & in pubs. They were described by the comedian Stewart Lee as "Good" & by the folk band Stick In The Wheel as "a psychedelic folk Steely Dan". The album and the live performances relived a journey across the south of England exploring the history of its trees and local folklore. It prompted very warm reviews including "An atmospheric journey through the woodlands of southern England. Calls to mind The Incredible String Band" - R2 "Charming and at times mesmeric" - GUARDIAN "Perfectly epitomises folk music in principle & execution" - SONIC BANDWAGON "One of the most intelligently written and interesting albums of 2015. Something of an ear catching piece and one which is not only musically sound but one that has that rare ability to teach and educate at the same time. Folk of the highest order, a gratifying and courage filled listen. Wondrous and captivating." - LIVERPOOL SOUND & VISION Since then George has continued to promote shows and give talks – he has curated the Bermondsey Folk Festival for a number of years – he has played with bands such as Stick In The Wheel and produced the latest (British/Polish folk luminary) Katy Carr album. The Cunning Folk record was born from extensive travels exploring Britain's ritual landscapes – a subject about which George gives regular entertaining and incisive talks to his South East London audience. He amassed a plethora of talented musicians to help him realise his grand ambition and the result is a hugely listenable, entertaining yet informative, highly accomplished record. He recalls the works and writings of some of those who have influenced him, including Robert Macfarlane, Alfred Watkins (who first introduced the notion of ley lines) and Julian Cope, among others. It's very much a folk record at heart but its ambition and its scope imbue an undeniably progressive element and at times almost radio-friendly pop! He is frankly uncategorizable and all the better for that."

But I'm just going to show you the track list:

01 This is How it Starts 3:04
02 The Old Straight Track 5:07
03 The Modern Antiquarian 3:50
04 What Has Been and Gone Before 5:13
05 Chalk Horses 3:10
06 Uncommon Ground 3:44
07 A Brief History of Agriculture and Mining 5:05
08 The Chime Child 5:19
09 Lancashire, God's Country 4:23
10 The Song of the Nidge 3:59
11 Walk Through the Juniper 5:07

Played it again this morning, and it's lovely - like an aural episode of 'Detectorists' or a refreshing walk through familiar/unfamiliar countryside. Love it!
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