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THE ALBION BAND - Under The Rose

THE ALBION BAND - Under The Rose
Talking Elephant TECD294

Here we have the latest instalment in the Herculean task of bringing the extensive vinyl output of Ashley Hutchings, MBE, to CD. Previously briefly available on CD nine years ago, this is the second album by the line-up that followed the stint at the National (when most of the Albions mutated into The Home Service). It was an impressive band – Phil Beer, Doug Morter, Cathy Le Surf on vocals. Dave Whetstone, at the time part of The Albions’ dance incarnation, is the ghost in the machine: he co-wrote five of the album’s eight songs with Ashley Hutchings.

It’s a transitional but forward looking record – there are overt theatrical allusions alongside songs inspired by the band’s return to touring (Words is effectively a rock tour shanty, that also takes on board George Eliot and Jackson Browne): future projects are presaged – Woodlands Of England reappeared as part of Sway With Me; Dancing Under The Rose was the first inkling of Hutchings’ masterpiece Gloucester Docks.

This CD features The Albions at their rockiest. The power of the performances is heard here with an incisive clarity that was somewhat muddied in the original vinyl pressing. There are no bonus tracks, out-takes, live versions etc – the original is left to stand up for itself, which it does very well indeed.

Nigel Schofield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.