‘After All These Years’ by Geoff Lakeman - wide, varied and compelling fare(February 01, 2017)
Some might consider it fairly daunting to come out with your first solo album when you’re already widely referred to as ‘stalwart of West-Country folk’, ‘father of a folk dynasty’ and ‘patron of The Cornwall Folk Festival’. Nevertheless, Geoff Lakeman releases his first solo album somewhat appropriately titled, ‘After All These Years’ on 1st February. The reference ‘patriarch’ might be slightly easier to bear as father to sons Sean, Sam and Seth Lakeman ... clearly English folk runs through the familial veins.
To be fair, this is an album that those who know the man’s work have expected for years. A master of the Crane duet concertina, proponent and writer of West Country songs, Lakeman displays a fine touch for English folk and owns a classic character-soaked voice that immediately beguiles the ear.
‘After All These Years’ offers a wide, varied and compelling fare - opening with the sorrowful ‘Farmer’s Song’, as farmers abandon a heritage that is ‘no longer economically viable’, moves into the self-penned, ‘Tie ‘Em Up’ grieving the erosion of the English fishing tradition by senseless laws before covering the despairing hope of the powerful ‘England Green England Grey’ by Reg Meuross There’s tributes to tradition with the transportation ballad ‘Jim Jones’, the recruitment lament ‘The Green Cockade’ and ‘Bonny Irish Maid’, a lovely rendition of ‘When The Taters Are All Dug’ and his own sardonic look at the canine ban from beaches with ‘The Doggie Song’.
It took a while to materialise but 'after all these years' the wait was worth it.
The line up across various tracks on ‘After All These Years’ is Geoff Lakeman (vocals, concertina) Sam Kelly (guitar, vocals) Jamie Francis (banjo) Ben Nicholls (bass, harmonium) Jim Causely (vocals, accordion) Nic Jones (harmony vocals) Seth Lakeman (violin) Sam Lakeman (piano) Dan Crimp (whistle) and Gill Redmond (cello).
Review: Tim Carroll