‘Sweet Liberties’ – Various Artists - deserves all the accolades it will undoubtedly receive(September 26, 2016)
Musical collaborations and concept albums have the potential to become landmark classics or pedigree-free mongrels ... ‘Sweet Liberties’ is definitely pedigree-rich and destined to achieve classic status. In 2015 the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and Folk by the Oak commissioned ‘Sweet Liberties’ a collaboration between Nancy Kerr, Martyn Joseph, Sam Carter, Maz O’Connor backed by Patsy Reid and Nick Cooke to create ‘... a musical journey exploring the pursuit of democracy and the events that made a difference to our liberties’.
Driven by constitutional anniversaries such as 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta and 750 years since the Simon de Montfort Parliament, ‘Sweet Liberties’ features 14 newly-composed tracks charting the rights and liberties that today many take for granted. The songs record the injustices faced and battles fought by ordinary people to achieve and protect human liberty over eight centuries.
The topics examined through powerful songs include the ownership and management of land, the enduring issues of poverty and homelessness, the horror of slavery and colonial history, the plight facing some children, women’s suffrage and frustration with the political process. And throughout, not one single punch is pulled, everything is laid bare and every composition is a gem waiting to be uncovered. There are no doubts that ‘Sweet Liberties’ is a collaboration that deserves all the accolades it will undoubtedly receive.
‘Sweet Liberties’ was commissioned by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and Folk by the Oak in partnership with the Houses of Parliament’s 2015 anniversaries programme, Parliament in the Making. Websites: www.folkbytheoak.com - www.efdss.org
Review: Tim Carroll