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MARC BLOCK - Faerie Fire Dances 

MARC BLOCK - Faerie Fire Dances 
Glasspool Music GLASSPOOL003 

I’ve always known that this fellow was blessed with the sort of vocal chops that pass most of us by. How appropriate that he was such a close associate of the great Roy Bailey - appearing on stage with him and even acting as his driver in Roy’s declining years – for there is much of the inimitable Roy’s timbre and range in Marc’s singing.

This album is bookended by two Faerie songs, as you might expect from a Radical Faerie like Marc. It includes other Faerie songs, plus some classics from the folk repertoire. The album is produced by (ex Albion Band) Tom A – no dot! - Wright, and features Nancy Kerr, James Fagan, Simon Dumpleton, Martin Simpson, Doug Eunson, Sarah Matthews, Jo May and Gina le Faux. And boy oh boy, a cast like that does not pin its colours to the mast of any ship other than the most seaworthy.

There were two standout tracks. The late Dorothy Hewett’s The Sailor Home From The Sea delighted me with its joyous nostalgia: I was struck here though that he credited the song as “words Hewett, music Bill Berry & Hewett”. At first, I was lulled into thinking (by the similar tempo and virtually the same lyric) that it was a new recording of Cock Of The North, Martyn Wyndham-Read’s own setting. But it really is a melody quite distinct from that of MW-R, and has its own integrity and appeal.

And best of all was We Tend Our Gardens (his reworking of A Fair Maid Walking, Roud 264). Written the day he was informed of his mother’s death, this is a most moving stunner, with gorgeous backing vocals from Matthews and Eunson.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine