Dave Carroll and Friends

David Carroll has a folk music pedigree going back to the Seventies, as a member of Spinning Wheel, though his involvement since then has focused largely on his work as a master craftsman, enabling others through his care and repair of instruments. Inevitably this has brought him into contact with some of the brightest and best of the folk world and beyond, resulting in the Bold Reynold project – of which this is the second offering.

His superpower has been to bring together members of Fairport Convention (Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie) and Gryphon, along with The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s Tom Spencer, all trailblazers in their own way, and managed to forge something that takes the best of what they have to offer and add a certain something of his own - a fine fusion of folk-rock, medieval prog and carefully curated traditional songs. There are all the right ingredients of English Folk here; drinking, fighting, sailing to distant lands, drinking, dangerous liaisons, being discovered in the wrong bedroom, incest, drinking to excess, death, and the particular dangers of cider, then throw in a few jigs and there you have it. Beyond that, there is the instrumentation, tempting though it is to provide an exhaustive list and ascribing individual instruments to particular tracks, there is not enough room and even the sleeve notes can’t agree – percussionist Dave Oberle is credited with contributing an annoying hum, yet there is no mention in the individual track listings and I am fairly sure that I heard an uncredited Swanee Whistle in there – but bewildered by the choice on offer, by that time, I’m sorry I really hadn’t a clue.

Altogether, a hugely enjoyable album – the tracks are varied, from bawdy singalongs, bouncing folk-rock, interestingly intricate instrumental meanderings and even an exit via an a Capella nod to The Copper Family, it’s never short of engaging and occasionally quite exhilarating. It’s not all boys with their toys either – the vocals of Lucy Cooper deserve a mention, whether they are foreground, background or part of a rabble chorus they never fail to add an additional texture to the fabric of the album overall.

If the musical excellence wasn’t enough – can I add some praise for the sleeve notes, that identify the origins and the subject matter, including the historical context of each the songs – it is truly a source of both pleasure and relief to those of us, and there are many, who have come to folk music by roundabout routes and are still discovering both artists and songs from what many would regard as their youth and can all too often assume that others share the same depth of knowledge – floor singers in particular, please take note!!

To finish, imagine that you are involved with the programming of the country’s largest single stage (not only) folk festival and you are looking for something to entrance your audience through a warm Friday afternoon, the perfect accompaniment to trips to the bar or the coolbox before lying back in the sun to enjoy a modicum of dancing or even throwing shapes with your Air Crumhorn. Best of all in these times of financial prudence, at least a couple of the members will be on site already and the chaps from Gryphon are no strangers to an Oxfordshire field. Food for thought Mr Pegg?

Visit the Bold Reynold website



Buy on Bandcamp