Ashley Hutchings Rattlebone & Ploughjack
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- Released: July 11, 1997
- Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
Personnel: Ashley Hutchings (vocals).
Liner Note Author: John Tobler.
Recording information: a.
Arranger: Ashley Hutchings.
This definitely isn't your standard album. Hutchings' intent was to create an audio documentary, the "Rattlebone" being about the Border (Scots border, that is) Morris dancing tradition, while "Ploughjack" covers the considerably more obscure Molly dancing of eastern England. A mix of music played by some of the usual suspects of the '70s British folk-rock axis (although only Hutchings is credited) and historical recordings like a turn-of-the-century cylinder recording of fiddler John Locke. What it boils down to is an interesting perspective on these uniquely English traditions. It's not easy listening, since the pieces are short, jumping between tunes and spoken word (which includes a quote from "Piers Plowman," one of the seminal works of English literature), as well as Puritan documents decrying the dancing, or a 1933 account of Molly dancing. The best way to think of this is as radio for your CD player, and enjoy it as a portrait of something that, if not utterly dead yet, is on life support -- for better or worse. It probably won't get you dancing, but it will certainly keep your attention. ~ Chris Nickson
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