Alistair Gillies of Shreds and Patches
reviews Changeling by CrucibleCrucible are from Sheffield and the 4 members play and sung English folk music with a refreshing vitality. Crucible are Jess Arrowsmith: vocal and fiddle, Helena Reynolds vocals, fiddles and border pipes, Richard Arrowsmith: vocals, melodeons and concertina and Gavin Davenport: vocals and guitar and the CD consists of songs and music ? mainly trad but with some original.
The style of the tracks is varied ? tunes range from Morris to original, solo and harmony singing, a trip to a West Gallery and even shape note singing and it is good to hear well sung versions of songs that I have not heard for some time, notably Poor Mans Labours sung by Gavin and very well accompanied on melodeon by Richard, and The Bold Poachers with a Cotswold tune in the breaks.
I particularly like both the combination of the melodeon, fiddle and borders pipes on The Engagement Set, which are original tunes played with authenticity and the thought provoking Changelings Lullaby [words Gavin, tune and singing Jess], which explores the changeling myth. For me the singing on this is reminiscent of early June Tabor.
This is a very good CD but if I have to be frank I would have liked to have heard a more mellow sound ? the vocal harmony tracks are somewhat pinched and whilst the solo vocals are good there has been little attempt to explore for example, the bass end of the melodeon or, more unfortunately, Gavins very good guitars, and playing.
Crucible say that their repertoire comes from the vibrant trad scene that is Sheffield and if this is so, then vibrant it must indeed
be. This is a very good band who really know their music and I hope to see them at festivals