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Ragged Kingdom [Digipak]
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Album: Ragged Kingdom [Digipak]
# Song Title   Time
1)    Bonny Bunch of Roses
2)    That Was My Veil
3)    Son David
4)    Love Will Tear Us Apart
5)    (When I Was No But) Sweet Sixteen
6)    Judas (Was a Red-Headed Man)
7)    If My Love Loves Me
8)    Hills of Shiloh, The
9)    Fountains Flowing
10)    Leaves of Life, The
11)    Seven Curses
12)    Dark End of the Street, The
 

Album: Ragged Kingdom [Digipak]
# Song Title   Time
1)    Bonny Bunch of Roses
2)    That Was My Veil
3)    Son David
4)    Love Will Tear Us Apart
5)    (When I Was No But) Sweet Sixteen
6)    Judas (Was a Red-Headed Man)
7)    If My Love Loves Me
8)    Hills of Shiloh, The
9)    Fountains Flowing
10)    Leaves of Life, The
11)    Seven Curses
12)    Dark End of the Street, The
 
Product Description
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: June Tabor (vocals); Alan Prosser (vocals, guitar, kantele, fiddle); Ray Cooper (vocals, mandolin, cello, harmonium, bass guitar); John Jones (vocals, melodeon); Al Scott (mandola, bass guitar); Ian Telfer (fiddle); Dill Davies (drums).
  • Recording information: Metway Studios, Brighton (02/2011-04/2011); Rockfield Studios, Monmouthshire (02/2011-04/2011).
  • Photographer: Judith Burrows.
  • With Ragged Kingdom, two of the linchpins of the British folk scene, June Tabor and Oysterband, team up for a second time, 21 years after collaborating on what's considered as one of the genre's modern classics. The former's second album of the year (following her critically acclaimed solo effort Ashore) adheres to the same formula as 1990's Freedom and Rain, with a mixture of traditional obscurities and unique interpretations of contemporary pop/rock songs, but backed by Al Scott's strident production it's a much bolder and more expansive affair than its predecessor. There are still the occasional moments when you can hear a pin drop, such as the eerie a cappella adaptation of 18th century Scottish ballad "(When I Was No But) Sweet Sixteen," the sparse acoustic blues treatment afforded to Shel Silverstein's Civil War-based "The Hills of Shiloh," and a stunning, and indeed very brave, stripped-back reworking of "Love Will Tear Us Apart," which is almost unrecognizable from the gloomy Joy Division original. But elsewhere, the joining of forces appears to have instilled a newfound sense of urgency on both sides, with Tabor sounding gutsier than ever on the impassioned cover of PJ Harvey's "That Was My Veil" and sinister rendition of the pagan-like Somerset carol "Judas (Was a Red-Headed Man)," while Oysterband's foot-stomping rhythms and surging guitars on pro-Napoleon opener "Bonny Bunch of Roses" (one of several mother-son dialogues between frontman John Jones and Tabor) and the furious cellos and propulsive beats on Bob Dylan's "Seven Curses" provide a captivating intensity that simmers throughout much of the album's 12 tracks. The lilting mandolins and folk violins on "Son David," which sits at odds with its extremely dark murderous themes, and the rather tiresome sea shanty makeover of James Carr's '60s soul standard "The Dark End of the Street" show that the pairing doesn't always produce "dream team" results. But they're the only real misfires on a record, which, more than two decades on, effortlessly rekindles the magic of their last effort, and is just as likely to attain the same cherished status. ~ Jon O'Brien
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