|Albion Dance Band|
Years: 1976 - 1978
Styles: Folk Rock
Ashley Hutchings - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1978)
John Sothcott - Crumhorn, Lute, Viola (in band: 1976 - 1977)
Shirley Collins - Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1977)
Simon Nicol - Acoustic guitar , Guitar, Piano (in band: 1976 - 1978)
Michael Gregory - Drums, Nakers, Percussion (in band: 1976 - 1978)
John Rodd - Concertina, Tambourine, Vocals (in band: 1976 – 1977)
Graeme Taylor - Guitar, Piano (in band: 1976 – 1978)
John Tams - Melodeon, Vocals (in band: 1976 – 1978)
Dave Mattacks - Drums, Electric piano, Keyboards, Piano (in band: 1976 – 1978)
Philip Pickett - Bagpipes, Chalumeau, Crumhorn, Dulcimer, Rackett, Recorder, Shawm, Synthesizer (in band: 1976 – 1979)
Dave Whetstone - Concertina, Dulcimer, Guitar, Melodeon, Triangle, Vocals (in band: 1982 - 1983)
Jean-Pierre Rasle - Bagpipes, Crumhorn, Harmonica, Recorder (in band: 1982 - 1983)
Trevor Foster - Drums (in band: 1983 - 1991)
Phil Beer - Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Violin, Vocals (in band: 1984 - 1991)
John Shepherd - Electric piano, Synthesizer (in band: 1988 - 1990)
Simon Care - Concertina, Melodeon (in band: 1988 - 1992)
Great of performances recorded by Ashley Hutchings and his ever changing electric folk group The Albion Dance Band. The first features 13 tracks recorded lin 1976 from around the time of their Prospect Before Us album - one of my favorites and features many of the performers from that album (Shirley Collins, Simon Nicol, Phil Pickett, the twin drumming of Michael Gregory and Dave Mattacks and others). The material is partly drawn from that album and partly other traditional pieces along with a couple of tunes dating back to Renaissance times. All the performances are superb.
The second album Shuffle Off (1983) is from a 1983 studio session with a somewhat different lineup including Jean-Pierre Rasle (bagpipes, crumhorn, recorder, etc.) and Dave Whetstone (melodeon, concertina, guitars, etc). This is an all instrumental set of dance tunes, mostly composed by members of the group but with a strong traditional feel. Perhaps not quite as strong as the first disc this makes for entertaining listening.
The third album I Got New Shoes (1988) fits snugly within the sub-set of Ashley Hutchings-masterminded projects that pay due homage to dance music in various of its incarnations within folk and popular culture. From the good-natured, nostalgic feelgood rock'n'roll of the title composition through a number of energised, rocked-up electric band renditions of morris tunes, polkas, two-steps, great fun was inevitably had by all concerned, and this is a joyful disc that audibly celebrates the individual traditions.
Along the way, it includes several typically idiomatic compositions by band members. The Albion Dance Band unit of that time (1987/88) comprised the winning lineup of Hutchings himself with Phil Beer, Simon Care, John Shepherd and Trevor Foster, which was augmented by Pete Zorn on saxes, backing vocalist Bill Zorn Polly Bolton provided vocal interest on the winsome cha-cha-cha of "I Only Wanna Dance With You", the rollicking terpsichore of "Trip To Bath", and "Young Love On The Dance Floor" (which was lifted from the original album as a single). There are many masterstrokes of segue programming here, as well as some especially fine Hutchings originals like "Dancing Till Monday Comes Around", while The Guv'nor's penchant for incorporation of spoken word surfaces momentarily but effectively in his typically lyrical observation Welsh Girls.
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