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OYSTERBAND - Read The Sky 

OYSTERBAND - Read The Sky 
Running Man Records RMCD8 

Good to hear Oysterband sounding so much like themselves – with a hint of 10,000 Maniacs since their 1990s move toward social commentary and away from rocked-up traditional folk. They’re still the core of Alan Prosser, John Jones and Ian Telfer, now with 10-year Oysters, Al Scott and Adrian Oxaal, and newbie, Sean Randle, on drums.

There’s some terrific songwriting on this, as well as what you’d expect – fabulous playing and singing. I especially enjoyed the opening track – Born Under The Same Sun. It chunters along melodically in a very Oysterbandy sort of way, but it’s full of nostalgia for times and places in our past. Great singalong chorus… “Is this the place we once called home? We spent those endless days? Where we searched for love and fought and won. And went our separate ways”. The whole collection has a past/present theme running through it – not a concept album, but definitely a mood and feel.

The closing track, The Time Is Now (there’s that “time” thing again), is another belter. It’s an eco-song, but not a worthy, ponderous one. It chugs along nicely to carry its slightly apocalyptic message.

I’ve never heard Oysterband on better form – I love this. The sleeve art is also stunning – wish it was vinyl with a proper sleeve!

Alan Murray


This review appeared in Issue 143 of The Living Tradition magazine