Derek ‘Giff’ Gifford of Folk Northwest
reviews Changeling by CrucibleCrucible are Jess and Richard Arrowsmith, Helena Reynolds and Gavin Davenport and hail from the Sheffield area. They are a young band with their roots firmly planted (pun intended!) in English traditional song and dance. They play and dance Morris and are involved in two ceilidh bands.
So much for a brief background I hear you say, but what about them? Well, actually they’re pretty damn good!
The opening track ‘Bold Poachers’ put me in mind of Maddy Prior Band meets Carl and Jane! The songs, which include such gems as ‘The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife’, ‘The Second of August’ and ‘Poor Man’s Labour’, are subtly and expertly accompanied with some imaginative vocal and musical arrangements.
Their own composition ‘Changeling’s Lullaby’, from which the CD’s title is taken, is well composed and performed unaccompanied by Jess. ‘Harvest Song’ another acapella number is equally well performed with some super three part harmonies being explored. In fact their harmony singing throughout is spot on, particularly in the rounds.
The tunes reflect their obvious professionalism on their respective instruments which include fiddles, melodeons, concertina, border pipes and guitar. My only quibble, and probably the only thing I can find to criticise, with some of the tunes is that they do ‘go on a bit’ in places; especially ‘The Engagement Set’ which, for me at least is, a tad too repetitive.
Overall, a smashing debut album and a must for all you traddies out there.
This band should go far - in fact they are - they’re gigging in Canada next year!
CD available (by cheque) from WildGoose, May Cottage, Wherwell, Hants. SP11 7JS and (by credit card) Musikfolk Ltd, www.musikfolk.com.