Lark Rise Revisited - The Lark Rise Band Album Review

Posted: 9th July 2008
Review Info
3 out of 5
Release Date:
5th May 2008
Elly Roberts

Album Review

New album of songs and music inspired the book, the plays and the BBC TV series, including the Lark Rise To Candleford theme tune.

For three months, 12 million viewers tuned in to watch the fabulous series Lark Rise To Candleford based on the trilogy of books by Flora Thompson in the late 30s and early 40s. Ashley Hutchings, founder member of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band recorded Lark Rise To Candleford: A Country Tapestry as Keith Dewhurst and The Albion Band way back in 1980. So, 28 years on, he has revisited the idea once again. Mixing spoken book narratives with both new and old new compositions Hutchings and band keep the English Folk tradition well and truly alive, with purists relishing every moment, though its doubtful if Joe Public will rush to the shops. Nevertheless, the combination of unpublished songs from the original National Theatre project with several new ones conjure up romantic images of Victorian Britain. Rotating exquisite vocalists Ruth Angell and Judy Dunlop, whose styles vary greatly, has proved a masterstroke check Bonny Labouring Boy and Queenies Bees. Brighton Camp is a classic bright and breezy romp with lashings of Maypole swirls propelled by a gushing violin swagger. The magic continues on Poor Old Soldier.It was used in the play version, now with added verses by Simon Care. You can just imagine the men folk singing this in the fields. Most recently written Queenies Bees by Hutchings and Ruth Angell, who sing it, is arguably the most delightful offering, describing Flora Thomsons character that kept bees and made lace. Two Morris Dance Tunes Maid Of The Mill and Lads bring images of sticks and handkerchiefs being wielded with exuberance. Til The Time We Meet again by Hutchings tells the sad tale of two lovers who part for a second time, sung as a duet, captures the touching moment to perfection. Kids get involved on May Song, harking back to days when Mayers sang good wishes from door-to-door. Written by film composer Julian Nott (Wallace & Gromit) the theme tune is done as a new cover version by the Albion Bands Ruth Angell and Mark Hutchinson. Its not groundbreaking stuff, but more than appropriate for the style/time its intended to be, which Hutchings is a master of.

File under: Charming nostalgia.

Elly Roberts