The Albion band are one of the great British folk rock bands, alongside bands such as Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. The band formed in 1971 and ran till 2002 with various lineup changes over the years, with founder member Ashley Hutchings being the only member to be part of the band for its entire life. In 2011 Ashley Hutchings announced that the band was to reform, but that he would no longer be a member - instead his son Blair Dunlop would be leading the band. This new line up also features a number of other current folk performers from a range of backgrounds reflecting earlier versions of the Albion Band. These members include Folk Award nominee Katriona Gilmore (Tiny Tin Lady, Gilmore/Roberts - Fiddle and vocals) the traditionally biased vocalist, concertina player and guitarist Gavin Davenport, (Crucible, Glorystrokes, Hekety, solo) drummer Tom Wright (Eliza Carthy projects/Glorystrokes), Tim Yates (Blackbeard's Tea Party/The QP) taking on the onerous duty of playing bass - only the second bass player (the first being Ashley Hutchings himself), and lead guitarist Benjamin Trott.
This leaves the band with none of its original members, which will no doubt upset some traditionalists, but in my view the only bit that matters is whether or not the new lineup lives up to the bands reputation and legacy - if they do then who is in the band is not really that important.
A few brief comments on a few of the tracks..
The intro - a quarter hour of fame, is a short A Capella track that sounds like straight folk music.
"The 2x2 set" is an instrumental folk piece, with plenty of fiddle.
"Thieves song" is a much rockier song with the guitars being dominant from the very beginning. This is probably my favourite song on the album with its skillful balance between the rock and folk elements.
Overall the music while falling into the "folk rock" category is definitely more towards the folk end of the spectrum than the rock end. There's plenty of variety between tracks on this album, but one thing that is consistent throughout the album is the quality. This is an extremely good album.
If you're a fan of folk rock music then I'd certainly recommend "The vice of the people" - its a great album. How well it goes down with fans of earlier versions of The Albion Band remains to be seen, but if they give the new album a listen then I'd be surprised if they were disappointed by it.
The band will be touring the UK throught March. Details are available on the band's website - http://www.thealbionband.com
"The Vice of the people" will be released on 30th April 2012 on Powered Flight Music.
The Albion band is:
Gavin Davenport - Vocals/Guitars/Cittern/Concertina
Blair Dunlop - Vocals/Guitars
Katriona Gilmore - Vocals/Fiddle/Mandolin
Benjamin Trott - Lead guitar
Tom Wright - Drums/Vocals
Tim Yates - Bass/Melodeon
1. Intro: A quarter hour of fame
2. Roll over Vaughan Williams
4. The 2x2 set
5. Thieves song
6. How many miles to Babylon
7. Set their mouths to twisting
9. The skirmish set
10. Adieu to old England
11. One more day
12. Wake a little wiser