JAMES YORKSTON & THE BIG EYES FAMILY PLAYERS - Folk Songs CD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
JAMES YORKSTON & THE BIG EYES FAMILY PLAYERS
Folk Songs

 

Review Information

Reviewer: David Murcott
Review Date: Nov 2010

CD Information

Label: Domino

7.5

out of 10

 

 

When Scottish troubadour James Yorkston finally committed to recording an album of traditional folk music, an idea that had been germinating for nearly a decade, his first choice of compatriots were James Green and his Big Eyes Family Players. 

Proud of their lack of formal training and unconventional take on the classical genre, Green and his ragtag Players proved the perfect outfit to accompany Yorkston’s bare-bones renditions of these universally beautiful ballads and folk standards.  Spanning the 16th to 19th centuries the songs are, to quote Green, ‘full to the brim with old legends of death, love, drinking, poaching, friendship, betrayal, humour and tragedy’.  Despite the fact he was unfamiliar with any of the source material, Green quickly set to scoring accompaniment, utilising a diverse array of string, percussion, classical and electronic instruments in the process. 

The result is a rich and expansive treatment of these venerable songs, and a solidly melodic folk album that breathes new life into the genre.  The tracks are like the pages of some living, breathing history book, steeped in myth and tradition and providing a fascinating glimpse into the lives, legacies and predilections of those who populated the Europe of a bygone era.  Rather than stacking its strongest numbers at the start the album also builds to a satisfying climax, and closing tracks Rufford Park Poachers, Sovay and Low Down in the Broom may well be its three finest. 

All in all this is a gripping, warm and eminently listenable effort from one of the most talented folk revivalists of his generation, and a poignant, piquant excursion through the ages.






 
 



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