‘UCLU Folk and World Music Society Compilation Album Volume One’ – various artists(June 02, 2015)
Among the myriad of definitions for eclectic is ‘selecting or choosing from various sources’, which sums up this album. It goes under the less than snappy title of ‘UCLU Folk and World Music Society Compilation Album Volume One’ - a collection of work from musicians involved with the University College London Union Folk and World Music Society (another mouthful). It arrived courtesy of their president, Jimmy Grayburn. The group announces itself as ‘for anyone and everyone that enjoys the plethora of folk and World music – from traditional folk jigs to acoustic guitar sessions’, which fits with our stance on folk.
The album is a reasonable recording, not the sharpest but on-par with most ‘home grown’ varieties and offers a traditional ‘folk club’ feel. The performances range widely, from those you want to hear again to those you might not. Some of the artists craft their own sound while others are blatant copies. The ‘traditional’ folk includes the intriguing approach of ‘Shark Song’ from Seen As Waves, historical narrative with ‘King’s Shilling’ by Southfleet, Tom Blackburn’s simple yet effective ‘John Barleycorn’ and, typical of the style, the ‘Coconut Polka Set’ from UCLU Ceilidh Band. The wider scope offers ‘Wayward Son’ by Charlie Stott complete with mournful lyric and harmonica, ‘Hurricane’ with the haunting voice of Molly Sharp, a memorable vocal from Jack Dean with ‘Trouble in the Heart’ and Sarah Q with a passionate take on ‘Las Campanas Lloran’.
For a proletarian piece this album represents the foundations folk - music by folk for folk that's continually renovated and innovated. Although it’s unlikely to win any awards ‘UCLU Folk and World Music Society Compilation Album Volume One’ doesn’t fill me with trepidation for the potential of Volume Two. Website: uclu.org/clubs-societies/folk-society
Review: Tim Carroll