mon 22/04/2024

CD: The Full English | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Full English

CD: The Full English

Traditional folk on stage, CD and online

Feasting on folk: The Full English

The Full English album and live tour is the stage and studio result of an ambitious project from the EFDSS (English Folk Dance and Song Society), drawing together songs from the early 20th-century collections of songhunters including Lucy Broadwood, Percy Grainger, Frank Kidson, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Cecil Sharp.

The Full English is also a web portal, describing itself as the most comprehensive searchable database of English folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world. For fans of traditional songs, the newly-launched Song Collectors Collective site features living source singers, many of whose store of songs were uncovered by collector and singer extraordinaire, Sam Lee. While Lee’s project is focused on the living tradition, primarily preserved among the Traveller and Gypsy communities, The Full English draws on the rich loam of Edwardian collections, and to launch it, Fay Hield assembled the Full English band – Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, Fay Hield, Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, concertina player Rob Harbron and double bassist Ben Nicolls – to premiere the songs at Cecil Sharp House, followed by recording sessions and a tour this autumn.

It’s a potent seven-strong line-up and the set of 12 songs opens with the grainy vocal chorale of "Awake Awake", drawing on one of English folk’s archetypal tunes and lyrical themes – betrayed love. It’s a deep cut for an opener, and the album is full of powerful sources and performances – whether it’s the dance tune, William and Nancy, Martin Simpson delivering a superlative "Creeping Jane", or Seth Lakeman leading "Portrait of My Wife". It feels stately and rich, and is a fascinating way in to the wealth of the Full English portal of songs and sources.

Listen to "The Man in the Moon"


The album is full of powerful sources and performances

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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