Review Archive

Riding East’ from Beggar’s Bridge - music that could only originate in England

(October 12, 2012)

Many of England's counties offer an enduring legacy of turning out fine folk bands, and the album Riding EastRiding East’ from East Riding of Yorkshire dwellers Beggar’s Bridge, shows that heritage is set to continue. Writing songs about the tradition, culture and experiences of their home county, Beggar’s Bridge play folk music that could only originate in England’s ‘green and pleasant’. Every song exudes the common inheritance, both good and bad, that history has woven across this land.

Beggar’s Bridge write narratives that convey the rich tapestry of their Yorkshire birthright, ranging from harrowing and resigned to hopeful and mystical. There’s ‘The Rowley Witch’, a jaunty tune but sorrowful tale about a woman who left East Yorkshire for America as a child, only to die in the Salem Witch Trials frenzy of 1692, murder stories such as, Gypsy Rose McRae’ with its tale of betrayal, and love stories with the elopement of Willow May’. They offer a fine tribute to the poor souls lost working the sea as told in ‘Taken Away By The Sea’ along with the slightly quirky tale of ‘The Kiplingcotes Derby’, England’s oldest horse race run every March since 1519, while the legends and ancient landscape of East Yorkshirereceive an outing in ‘Land of Chalk and Clay’.

The production is simple, music enchanting, storytelling absorbing and the vocals engaging. This is grass roots English folk and well worth a listen. And should Beggar’s Bridge decide to leave the hinterland of the East Riding to play a live gig somewhere near the skyscraper-scarred skyline of London’s bustling city and its environs they should let the southern softies know in advance because people would turn up in droves.

Beggar’s Bridge is Alan Catton (guitar, banjo, mandolin) Mark Pollard (vocals, percussion) Martin Hainstock (bass, guitar, vocals) Sam Martyn (whistles, vocals, harmonium). And with them on a couple of tracks on ‘Riding East’ is Dave Watts (fiddle).

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

Click here to return to the Review Archive page