Whilst the poetry of Charles Causley may be about the people and places of Cornwall, one influence dominates it above all others – his deep love of English folk songs. Devon folksinger Jim Causley, who we are delighted is working with Folk Police Recordings on this new album, took note of this when he first began setting Charles’ poetry to music about seven years ago - although the relationship goes back much further that this, to the vivid memories he has of his mum reading him the poems as a child and to his unsuccessful attempts to correspond with Charles as a poetry-writing teenager. Back then, it was assumed Charles was not a relation, but in recent years shared forebears have been uncovered several grandfathers back, and in any case, as Charles’ poem Ancestors points out, all Causleys hail from Trusham on the eastern edge of Dartmoor, where Jim’s family originate from.
In the past couple of years, Jim has immersed himself in Charles’ work: listening to LPs of him reciting his poetry, watching old television interviews, pouring through his personal photographs and notebooks in the Special Collections archive at the University of Exeter and, of course, spending time in his hometown, at his home and playing his piano. This album is the result: it was recorded live in Charles’ home – the Cyprus Well of the title – by Jim and a sympathetic cast of friends including Julie Murphy, Ceri Owen-Jones, Nick Marshall, Hilary Coleman, Neil Davey and Pete Berryman.
Jim Causley became involved with traditional music from an early age via his family, the local folk scene and the historical tradition of wassailing in his home village of Whimple, East Devon. He has released three previous solo albums, was one third of a’cappella trio Devil’s Interval and fronted Mawkin Causley. He has toured as part of the Waterson Carthy live band and has been involved in numerous collaborations including David Rotheray’s Life of Birds and The Woodbine & Ivy Band. He has been nominated five times for BBC Folk Awards. Cyprus Well is Jim’s first album of original compositions, and while he is already highly regarded both as a singer and as an interpreter of traditional song, in our view this album will show him in an entirely new light as a skilled crafter of original music.
These recordings, along with a handful of photos and an extensive set of ‘explanatory’ notes, were passed to Folk Police Recordings by a musician loosely associated with the label. They were given to him by an obsessive collector of rare folk and psychedelia who has asked us to respect his anonymity. We can tell you nothing about Frugal Puritan – the album or the band. We can’t tell you when or where the songs were recorded, who wrote them or who plays on them. The sleeve notes tell a tale of utopian dreams turning into nightmares, of Jesus Freaks metamorphosising into Crowley-obsessed occultists, of innocents turning from the light and slipping into a darkness of drug-fuelled orgies and madness.
What we can
tell you is that here we have ten songs that range from gently pastoral hippy folk to full- on fuzz-drenched acid rock, complete with lashings of devotional frenzy, handclaps and monster guitar solos. We have plaintive vocals awash with harmonies and subtle psychedelic touches. We have lyrical concerns that stray far from standard issue Christian folk: The Raising of the Dead
borrows liberally from a particularly apocalyptical biblical passage; North Street Reign
appears to be from the perspective of a murderer; Song for John David
seems to quote approvingly from Aleister Crowley. The final track, Seven Stars,
is a shimmering lo-fi psychedelic epic.
This album will appeal to anyone who has explored the outer reaches of lost Christian acid folk: Caedmon, Perry Leopold, The Water into Wine Band or The Trees Community. We can also hear echoes of artists as diverse as S.F. Sorrow-era Pretty Things, Spaceman Three and Roy Harper.
Frugal Puritan is released as a limited edition CD in a vinyl-sleeve gatefold sleeve and 16-page booklet with design by Dom Cooper. It has been remastered by Pete Philipson (Starless and Bible Black/The Woodbine and Ivy Band). It is also available to download.
Released 1st April 2013. Available to pre-order from the Folk Police shop
We are very pleased to announce that Folk Police Recordings has taken its first steps into the world of vinyl with a limited edition release of Ewan D. Rodgers' Tomorrow Might be Monday
. We've only had 250 made, so if you'd like a copy please visit our Lyke Wake Dirges
page. You'll also be able to find out about forthcoming vinyl releases and our three and five album subscriptions.
"The eclecticism of Clive Palmer provides the blueprint for this engagingly quirky collection ... all filtered through a smoky lens of late 60s/early 70s folk blues." 4/5 R2 Magazine
Raised in a small West Yorkshire town, Ewan D. Rodgers
cut his teeth playing in a variety of ceilidh, skiffle and jug bands. He is now based in London after stints in Leeds and Brighton. Whilst the streets of London may not be paved with gold, they are
lined with dingy cellars and decaying boozers peopled by those who like their music filtered through the sensibilities of old young men with banjos who value creakiness, honesty and all that is slightly twisted.
Ewan is equally influenced by the old weird America of the Harry Smith Anthology, maverick innovators like the great Clive Palmer, scratchy 78s of southern and eastern European folk tunes, and the great triumvirate of 60s guitar players, Jansch, Renbourn and Graham.
Ewan’s self-released debut, From Hull, Halifax and Hell
, a stark and stripped-down collection of readings of traditional British folk songs, garnered numerous plaudits, being memorably described by Maverick magazine as “an album which captivated from the first second”
where “The performance style transports the listener back to when the songs were new and enables the listener to really connect with them.”
On Tomorrow Might Be Monday
he casts his net further afield, to bring us Appalachian mountain song, Yiddish and Southern European folk songs, delta blues and, closer to home, offerings from both the British musical hall traditional and the songbook of Yorkshire chanteur Jake Thackray - as well as a few of his own compositions. The album features Ewan on guitar, banjo and diatonic accordion as well as a handful of guest musicians helping out on fiddle, dulcimer and musical saw. Tomorrow Might be Monday
is the second release in Folk Police Recordings’ Northwestern Series
of numbered, limited edition albums. It comes housed in a CD-case-sized card box with an eight-page booklet. Artwork and design is by Dom Cooper.
You can hear Ewan on the first Sunday of every month at Mondegreen Folk Club
at The Auld Shilellagh on Stoke Newington Church St, every second and fourth Sunday at Folke Newington
at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington. He also hosts his own folk club
in Brighton every third Monday. For details of other forthcoming appearances please visit his website
.Released on CD on Monday 29th October 2012.
The first 50 copies include a bonus live e.p. Pre-order HERE
This album will also be released on vinyl
in a limited edition of 250 via our new Lyke Wake Dirges vinyl imprint. Contact us
to reserve a copy.
Since his debut album How Music Sounds
was released in 2003, English singer/songwriter Adam Leonard has released numerous EPs, albums and mini-albums with a variety of small labels. Incorporating elements of folk, psychedelia and electronic music, his lovingly-crafted handmade sounds channel the spirit of the great lineage of unconventional British songwriting, from Roy Harper to Robin Hitchcock to the Incredible String Band. He regularly collaborates with other musicians, and in 2010, provided vocals for the Owl Service on their album A View From a Hill
. More recently he wrote the soundtrack music for Claudia Heindel's award winning independent film, Lucky Seven
. Nature Recordings
was originally released on vinyl by The Great Pop Supplement and has long since sold out. Our sister label, The Northwestern Series, brings you a CD version in a hand-numbered edition of 300. The album features contributions from Pat Gubler (PG Six) and Steven Collins of the Owl Service. It has new artwork by Dom Cooper and comes housed in a CD-case-sized handmade card box.
To order a copy, please visit the Northwestern shop
. The album ships June 2012.
“His singing and songs are imbued with the same wonderful eccentric characteristics as people like Roy Harper and Michael Chapman, but in a similar fashion to the aforementioned greats, he never loses sight of ‘the song’ in a quest to be quirky. In other words, he’s what all good singer/songwriters should be in an age when so few are.”Steven Collins, The Owl Service
“Adam Leonard’s 3rd LP Nature Recordings
betrays his Syd Barrett-as-interpreted-by-Robyn Hitchcock influences with excellent results... most intriguing and ambitious of all is The Eighth Tower parts I to IV,
a meandering yet still focussed concept exploring both Leonard’s pastoral and more experimental leanings with further nods towards Roy Harper and Barrett/Hitchcock as well as the more meditative school of Krautrock and acid-folk.
This is a curious little gem of an album and one that should delight the discerning listener, time and again."Terrascope Online
"Another lo-fi vision courtesy of Britain's own Adam Leonard. Having been around for the best part of a decade, Leonard has developed a signature style and it's working well on Nature Recordings. He's a great guitar picker, but perversely his talent shines best when it's as if his beleaguered instrument has been dragged through the mud. Leonard's vocals are only occasional and more like Nico than any pure folkie, and the whole thing has the ramshackle feel of a bumpy journey in the south of France". SHINDIG! Magazine
We urge you to clear your diary for Sunday June 10th 2012
and make your way to the Folk House in Bristol, where you will be treated to the array of musical delights and strange goings on that is Weirdlore. It's an all day event featuring Sharron Kraus, Telling the Bees, Mary Hampton Cotillion, Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell, Pamela Wyn Shannon and many more. From Folk Police Land there will be Rapunzel & Sedayne and Sproatly Smith. Expect hobby horses, dancing, discourses and a few special surprises. Tickets are a measly £30 and can be had over here
. You'll need to hurry - this is a day out that's going to be too good to miss. More details, the full line-up and clues as to how to get there can be found on the Weirdlore website
To celebrate an event that has not yet happened and a genre that may not even exist, Folk Police Recordings bring you our latest offering - Weirdlore: Notes From the Folk Underground
. Featuring 18 exclusive tracks and including contributions from many of the artists that are appearing on the day along with a splendid troupe of fellow travellers and musical miscreants, the album mines the twilight zone between folk and all manner of oddness. We bring you sounds that range from twisted trad to bucolic psychedelia, from fully fledged brass-and-wood-flavoured steamfolk to the sort of songwriting that used to happen before singer-songwriters gave the genre a bad name.
With extensive sleeve notes by Jeanette Leach (author of The Seasons They Change
and regular contributor to fRoots
) and an introduction by Ian Anderson (editor of fRoots
), the album comes handsomely packaged in a sleeve designed by Dom Cooper of the Rif Mountain Collective.
Released on 11th June 2012 Pre-order from the Folk Police Shop
. Find out more and listen to samples here
Folk Police Recordings are very pleased to bring you the news that we will be reissuing The Minstrel's Grave, the third full length album from the wonderful Sproatly Smith. Originally available as a very limited edition CDR release from the Reverb Worship label, the reissue is remastered by Peter Philipson of the Woodbine & Ivy Band and will be available on CD and as a digital download.
Out on 1st April 2012.
See Sproatly Smith live this summer:
June 10th Bristol, Folk House: Weirdlore,
July 14th/15th Tintern, Folk On The Lawn
July 19th London, Cecil Sharp House
July 21st Prestiegne, Sheep Music
, the latest Showcase Session is now available to download from form the Fatea
website. This download is free and includes several tracks that are well worth listening to - not least Katy Kay/Katie Cruel
by Rapunzel & Sedayne
and Blackthorn Winter
by Sproatly Smith
Do take the time to have a poke around the Fatea website whilst you're over there!
To download your copy, go to http://www.fatea-showcase-sessions.co.uk/
Available until 30th April 2012.
We're very pleased to tell you that Folk Police have four nominations in this year's Spiral Earth awards: Oak Ash Thorn for best album, Elle Osborne for best female singer, The Woodbine & Ivy Band for best group and Rapunzel & Sedayne for best duo. The final winners in each category will be decided by public vote, so if you feel so inclined, please get over to Spiral Earth and cast yours: The 2012 Spiral Earth Awards
. While you're there, do check out the site. It really rather good and they've been very supportive of Folk Police in our first year...
In other award-related news, FATEA Magazine
(another website we urge you to support) have named The Woodbine & Ivy Band runner up album of the year and Elle Osborne second runner up female singer of the year. Yay!
Whilst we're blowing our own trumpet, the fRoots
end of year Critics Poll named Rapunzel & Sedayne's Songs From the Barley Temple their 14th favourite album of the year and Oak Ash Thorn as their ninth favourite compilation or reissue.
A belated happy new year to you all! xxx
The long awaited debut album from The Woodbine & Ivy Band
is out on Monday 21st November. You can buy it from all the usual places or directly from our webstore
. It's also available as a download from Bandcamp
and all other digital retailers. Featuring guest vocals from Jackie Oates, Fay Hield, Nancy Wallace, Olivia Chaney, Pinkie Maclure, Jim Causley, Elle Osborne, Rapunzel & Sedayne, Jenny McCormick and Jim Causley, Folkwords
have described it as "A landmark album that all folk rock devotees will want in their collections"
Meanwhile, Fay Hield, who sings lead vocals on the band's version of Spencer the Rover, is the featured artist at the latest Waking the Muse
at the Proper Blog.
Spencer the Rover is now available as a digital single! You can download it from iTunes