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Reviews
Son of Morris On ASHLEY HUTCHINGS AND VARIOUS ARTISTS
Son of Morris On
Talking Elephant TECD051



This is a long overdue re-issue of the follow-up to the much better-known seminal album Morris On. As Ashley Hutchings writes in the new liner notes accompanying the CD, Son of… never achieved anything like the notoriety of its famous father, yet as an album this is in truth a far more inspirational work. Like its worthy ancestor, it contains the tunes, songs, rhymes and doggerel from the English Cotswold morris tradition, with the sound of the people actually dancing in the background. Nearly forty years ago this was pretty radical. Then there weren't enough morris men around to shake a stick at. At least, I'd never seen any, not in Birmingham - or anywhere else for that matter. But the music was hypnotic in performance and as for the titles - Ye Wild Morris, Roasted Woman, Ladies of Pleasure, Room for the Cuckolds, Jockey to the Fair and Old Hog or None. This was a strange underground dance culture indeed!

Whilst Morris On electrifies the music with a brash excitement, Son Of… is a far more subtle and interesting affair. Originally recorded in 1976 by a number of already and soon-to-become household folk names, the whole thing is a marvellous celebration of English ritual dance. Phil Pickett's arrangements of bagpipes, curtal and shawm are glorious, Shirley Collins' breathy singing throughout and coy pastoral dialogue with John Tams on Bring Your Fiddle beautifully seductive, the concertinas of John Rodd and John Watcham sharp-edged and, as you'd expect, Martin Carthy's guitar is truly avant garde. John Tams' delivery of song and doggerel is a delight and the percussion from Michael Gregory demonstrates a lovely sense of pace. An inspired work from start to finish, full of fascinating twists and turns. Very English, very essential … and you can dance to it!

Paul Saunders - April 2003

See also:
Ashley Hutchings and Various Artists: Great Grandson Of Morris On

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