THE EXMOUTH SHANTY MEN
Tall Ships and Tavern Tales
Paul Sartin and Paul Hutchinson have been playing together as Belshazzar's Feast for 25 years and this CD is a celebration of this anniversary. It should have been released last year but Covid prevented it happening.
Suffice to say, it was worth the wait! This pair are consummate professionals and the music is amongst the best heard on the folk scene.
There are 11 tracks taken from their many previous live and studio produced albums plus 3 previously unreleased tracks. Most of them are instrumental showcasing Paul Sartin's excellent command of the fiddle and oboe and Paul Hutchinson's expert piano accordion playing. There are a few songs too including the rather laconic Doll Thy Ale, the Hampshire Mummers Song (described in the sleeve notes as 'A jolly seasonal song about drinking and death'..) the very moving Cicely Fox Smith poem with a tune set by Sarah Morgan Home Lad, Home which is very sympathetically sung by Paul at an appropriate steady pace with Paul H.'s lovely gentle accompaniment and Rudyard Kipling's Gethsemane with a tune from Paul H.
Some of the various tunes have titles as intriguing as the tunes themselves such as Neat Mr. John, Gathering Peascods and De'il Take The Warr. Classical composers don't escape the lads attention either with send ups (OK 'rearrangements') of Mozart with a longish and amusing introduction from Paul S. at a live gig, Vivaldi and Beethoven!
The album finishes with one of my favourite (though well known) tunes Staines Morris and the traditional song Apple Tree Wassail from the Ruth Tongue collection.
There are a few guest players on some tracks but this is essentially the two Pauls doing their great stuff and superbly captured by Doug Bailey at Wild Goose Studios. The sleeve notes are informative and include some amusing selfeffacing comments from the lads.
An album for all Belshazzar's Feast followers and those who appreciate great musical talent. Available from the Wild Goose web site and live gigs.