‘Stand & Deliver’ - Pilgrims' Way - folk music from the heterogeneous side(October 13, 2017)
Devoid of rules, utterly resilient, infinitely eclectic and resistant to pointless proscription, folk music comes in more guises than a heavily disguised thing. Thankfully the proviso of ‘different’, takes precedence over ‘new’, the former being more difficult than the latter, which is a perfect introduction to ‘Stand & Deliver’ from Pilgrim’s Way. And that’s hardly surprising with their skilful blending of a myriad of influences, distilling the result to deliver early music and Morris, tradition and progression to feed the ever- mutating being that is folk music.
Although ‘concept albums’ can run hot and cold, this outing of thievery, robbery, imprisonment and execution works its ideas magic start to finish. The far-reaching embrace of instrumentation, which includes hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, oboe, cittern and crumhorn, offers echoes of the past welded to freedom of innovation. So, before going further, I’ll throw my hat in the ring ... ‘Stand & Deliver may not be everyone’s saucer of Darjeeling but for those that like their folk music from the heterogeneous side it’s bloody marvellous.
Opening proceedings, the lyrically frenetic story of ‘Caveat For Cutpurses’ sets the scene, from there ‘Ibson, Gibson, Johnson’ takes a female highwayman through capture and murder, before ‘Shoot Them All’ with its lone female vocal morphs into a slice of echoing folk rock. There’s a fine take on the eternal ‘Cadgwith Anthem’, a pulsating folk metal device called ‘Saucy Bold Robber’, vicious prison-life depicted through ‘Gaol Song’, an ancient sounding ‘Turpin Hero’ and (wait for it) the alternative folk version of Adam Ant’s ‘Stand & Deliver’ ... it may require a tongue pressed firmly into a cheek but I think many will love it.
Pilgrim’s Way are Tom Kitching (vocals, fiddle, mandolin, mandola, otamatone) Jude Rees (vocals, oboe, bagpipes, alto sax, crumhorn, curtal, flute, recorders) Edwin Beasant (vocals, electric guitar, bass, melodeon, drums, percussion, harmonica, jews harp) and Jon Loomes (vocals, guitars, keyboards, concertina, hurdy-gurdy, bowed strings and ‘assorted nonsense’).
Review: Tim Carroll