FolkWords Reviews

‘Reprobates’ from Blackbeard’s Tea Party "... heavy folk at its glorious best"

(October 21, 2015)

With more bite than a cornered sewer-rat and the drive of a Detroit diesel, Blackbeard’s Tea Party turn out folk music that rocks, their album ‘Reprobates’ is folk with attitude. There may be folk that say it’s not pure folk, there may be trad-reactionaries that foam at the mouth with outrage, that’s their problem. It’s light years from ‘pure’, leaning more towards blackbeards-tea-party-reprobates-cover-409x409rabid mongrel, it’s also light years from tradition but that doesn’t mean the links aren’t there.

This is folk from the depths of heritage grown up into a wild child you can’t help but love as he drags you into places that maybe unusual but they’re sure as hell interesting. One look at their ‘live’ reputation is all that’s needed to know what’s coming from the second the CD spins. The ‘heavy folk’ darkness and bass-driven rage of ‘The Steam Arm Man’ gives way to an intense and equally fanatical ‘Hangman’s Noose’ before you’re hauled into distorted darkness with the ‘twice-hanged’ protagonist of ‘The Ballad Of William Kidd’ and staccato percussive presence of ‘Punter’s Graveyard’.

The vile traffic of slave trading and hunting down the slavers is reflected through the ominous and warped drive of ‘The Slave Chase’ – and yes, it’s definitely folk, it’s just heavy folk at its glorious best. And talking of best, the ‘best of the rest’ includes the horror of the infamous executioner ‘Jack Ketch’, the roaring foot-stamper ‘Roll Down’, and for a journey into sadness ‘Cloe The Coalhouse Door’.

The amalgam is frenetic - ripping guitar licks, mental melodeon, pile driver bass, machine gun percussion and spiralling fiddle – what more could you want?

Blackbeard’s Tea Party are Stuart Giddens (melodeon, lead vocals) Laura Boston-Barber (fiddle, backing vocals) Liam ‘Yom’ Hardy (cajon, tambourine, cymbals) Dave Boston (djembe, congas, shakers, bells) Martin Coumbe (electric guitar, backing vocals) and Tim Yates (bass guitar, backing vocals). They can all be found here: www.blackbeardsteaparty.com

Review: Tim Carroll

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