Back To ‘Normal’ ?

Hi all!!

It’s been a long time since anything like our normal service was hanging around on the ‘interweb’ but it is good to be back.

You will find all the usual people and stuff. Annie Jay (@Annie_jay39) is still here with her reviews of new goodies and making the odd cuppa for our CEO, Mr’G’. As for ‘albums you must get your mitts on’, it is still here but now in the capable hands of ‘Fairport Fee’ (@Fairport_Fee) who makes a cracking job of giving us what we missed the first time around. And for all the new ‘folkies’ we have ‘Julies Jottings’ (@barlowsgirl) bringing you a sideways glance of the folk scene and gig reviews not always of a folkie nature.

All in all, a good mix of the stuff we like best without the aid of a finger in the ear!

Let’s kick this post off with a report from ‘Fee’ about an album I think we would all enjoy…….

……I felt a very recognisable chill this morn, oh yes winter has returned and music was needed to lift the spirits. So out of my record collection I pulled, ‘Rout of he Blues’ the 1970 classic album from Harrogate brothers Robin and Barry Dransfield. It’s iconic sleeve photo of the handsome brothers walking through a wintery forest at dusk, a light dusting of snow on the ground, really jumped out at me from all the other albums.

‘The Blues’ in the title of the album do not refer to any form of melancholy or indeed the music from the ‘deep south’ of the U.S.A. but to the ‘Royal Horse Guards’, who were known as ‘The Blues’. I quote from the sleeve notes;

This song about their mustering was put together by Barry from The Idiom of the People, ‘Ingledrew’s Yorkshire Ballads’, and a vaguely remembered tune learned originally from Dave Howes of York.

From the first bar of the opening track, the quiet energy leaps forward and immediately captivates the listener and transports them to a simpler place in time, before the age of ‘auto tune’ and digital editing. The Dransfields sing with the heart in their wonderful Yorkshire accents and harmonize so perfectly together, the way only brothers can. The instrumental work on the album is without equal, Robin playing guitar and Barry on fiddle, held uniquely in the crook of his arm allowing him to sing to his own playing!

The album contains 12 tracks, a perfect mix of self penned instrumentals and traditional English classics beautifully and uniquely arranged by the Dransfields. Although 40 years old, it still sounds as fresh and as distinctive to this day. It’s an unforgettable classic from two of the most uniquely talented men ever to grace the British Folk scene. So for those of you who haven’t listened to it in a while, why not give ‘Rout of the Blues’ a spin and fall in love with it’s timeless beauty once again and for those who haven’t heard it yet, put it straight on your ‘must have’ list. I guarantee it will not disappoint! (many thanks to Fee (@Fairport_Fee) for that super review that makes me feel my age ;-0..Phil))

So you fancy playing the mandolin?

If you do, the following article may go some way to answering the odd question you may have…it is a story to be told over many blogs to come but in the meantime send any questions you may have along to me at FTF Towers by the usual routes.

Where do I start? Well I suppose it has to be the instrument? Now this is the tricky bit…do you go ‘entry level’ and spend less than £100 (nowt wrong with that, quite a few goodies to be had but also a lot of rubbish too), or ‘mid range’, £200 to £400’ish? (Zillions of choice here…maybe a bit too much!). Do you get what you pay for? In the main, yes. Over £500 and made by hand you may be paying for the beauty of the timber and choice of finish but well worth the money. I would say that see if you fall in love with the playing first and give it a while before you part with that kind of dosh. I will list a few of the better retailers and makers in a future blog. For now, see if you can befriend a player to take with you, ‘on the day’. Most of us do not bite and only a phone call away. Just as a tease… have you ever thought of a kit? Available as both acoustic and electro (looks like a shrunken Fender Telecaster!). You get a lot of mando for your money so well worth a thought or two. I have just built an electro and it’s super…more next blog, with pictures.


Flaming June (@flamingjuneuk) are to hit the studio soon to record an EP, I’m sure it will be worth the wait. Contact Louise for details.

Under A Banner (@underabanner) have just released an EP which is of their usual top quality, (a full review soon).

Alan Jones (@cyclingalan) has a monthly Celtic music night at Barnsley Folk Club, (full details and dates next blog or contact him on Twitter or Facebook).

Loads more goodies soon but for now, happy folkin’, Twitter @folktalkinfolk FTF Towers hotline 07784023787.