Folk music blog. News from the folk music world plus occasional updates and musings on what's happening "backstage" at FolkCast - the UK's premier folk music Podcast with thousands of listeners all over the world. FolkCast - Our Finger In Your Ear! Find FolkCast at www.folkcast.co.uk - email us via http://bit.ly/mCcMNz
It's still only January and I think I've just heard my favourite folk album of the year. If anything is better than this, then 2014 really will be vintage.
As you know, I hear a lot of new music. Most of it is OK. Some is good. A little is great. And very few albums are wonderful. The Frappin' And Ramblin' Pete Morton is wonderful.
Pete's remarkable rebooting of trad songs A Beggin' I Will Go, The Farmer's Boy and All For Me Grog, reworked and updating The Manchester Rambler and his own original songs (the bulk of the album) are sung and played with a direct and easily approached style, yet constantly reward repeated listening.
Frappin? That's folk-rap, but don't be scared. The only time Pete Morton talks about "Hoes" is if he's eloquently praising the quiet joys of gardening, while simultaneously eviscerating the "Corporateocracy" of supermarkets for underpaying farmers for their milk.
He can rhyme and chime like Eminem, and that ain't no crime and he's of his time... but it's set to a real folk beat of self-played guitar and harmonica, and he's joined by Maggie Boyle on vocals and flute, Chris Parkinson on squeezy things, Jon Brindley on fiddle and guitar, and James Budden on bass. There's no cheesy electro backing here; frappin' ain't tracking frappin' is organic. And Pete mixes it with "normal" singing.
And this is a very political album with a strong "old Labour" lean. The Journeyman is a direct and explicit demand for the renationalisation of the railways, and begins "This is a party political broadcast". That most rare creature, the Tory folk fan, need not apply.
Ghost Of A Sailor is a jolly imaginative tour de force, as the titular spook sits in the corner of an ancient inn that's about to be transformed into a lookalike chain pub, and he thinks back at all he's seen down the centuries of haunting the tap room, everyone from roundheads to software designers, from Bruce Forsyth to Uncle Tom Cobbley. It's genius.
The steel hand of social outrage is wrapped in the velvet glove of a fine sense of humour and a romantic sensibility. The closing song, Bedside Song, is beautiful and The Love Of You - "You make me rich just being in my life".
Pete Morton has been making records for 27 years, and yet this is as fresh and bright as anything you could hope to find from anyone of any age, while his experience and quality adds to the lustre.
The Frappin' And Ramblin' Pete Morton is released on Feb 10th on Fellside records via Proper Records, and you can order it now from www.petemorton.com/shop/
And yes, it will be featuring in our next podcast. And no doubt many more after that. Buy it! I love it so much I bought his previous album with me own money!
Phil Widdows Presenter/producer www.folkcast.co.uk
Dear listeners, Happy New Year! At the start of our 9th year of podcasting I thought the time was ripe for a little rejig (and reel) of the FolkCast release schedule. As regular listeners will know, we produce a new show every month, plus special event podcasts such as the seasonal shows, Blasts, festival previews, interviews etc etc etc. This will continue. However, in an attempt to give this rather ad hoc system a semblance of structure, each month's main show will now be released on the last Sunday of the previous month. Eh? Well, that means that the FolkCast for February 2014 will come out on January 26th. March 2014 will emerge on February 23. And so on.
What that means, effectively, is that there will be no January 2014 show. Our next release will be FolkCast 093 - February 2014 ... which comes out at the end of January. Yes, slightly confusing, but this is how print magazines operate and it means that February's show will be available right from the start of the month, and throughout the whole month. We don't actually lose a show, as what would have been January's show is moved back a week or so and becomes an early February show. Got it? Good! There will still be occasional "extra" podcasts as and when seems appropriate, but the plan is that the last Sunday of every month will be release day for FolkCast from now on. Anyway, that's the plan. But you know what they say about plans... All the best, Phil