The Oak, Ash and Thorn Project
Listen to Frankies's Trade by Jon Boden from The Oak, Ash & Thorn Project (Folk Police Recordings 2011)
Listen to The Heavens Above Us by Emily Portman and Finn McNicholas from The Oak, Ash and Thorn Project (Folk Police Recordings 2011)
Buy Oak Ash & Thorn on CD
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"Far from turning in his grave, Bellamy - who was far from the arch traditionalist some fondly imagine - would surely himself take great joy and pride in the productive outcome of his colourful legacy. And, whatever its wider connotations, it's a rare 16-track collection in its own right where the fast forward button isn't required." (Colin Irwin, fROOTS)
Oak, Ash and Thorn and Merlin's Isle of Gramarye are undoubtedly two of the best of the late, great Peter Bellamy's many wonderful albums. Originally released by the Argo Folk label, in the early 1970s, they have now been out of print for over thirty years and have never been reissued on CD. The albums feature Peter's musical settings of a selection of Rudyard Kipling's poems for children from Puck of Pook's Hill (1906) and Rewards and Fairies (1910). Apart from a couple of songs set to traditional tunes, all the music is composed by Peter Bellamy himself, confirming our belief that as well as being a masterly interpreter of folk songs, Peter was an equally talented originator of new music. Whatever approach he took, whether it was composing new tunes or borrowing old ones, Peter had a magical knack of taking poems and ballads written around one hundred years ago and making them sound fresh and original yet at the same time as old and well worn as the hills.
Here at Folk Police Recordings we are committed Bellamists, and these albums occupy a pole position in our pantheon of essential folk records. In celebration of these lost masterpieces, we are releasing The Oak, Ash and Thorn Project, a various artists offering reprising many of the songs from Oak, Ash & Thorn and Merlin’s Isle of Gramarye. This is not a tribute album as such, but an opportunity for some of our favourite performers of the present day folk and alt-folk scenes to reinterpret the songs in their own style.
The album features tracks from the Unthanks, Jon Boden, Pamela Wyn Shannon, Trembling Bells, Jackie Oates, Emily Portman, Tim Eriksen, Olivia Chaney, The Owl Service, Cath & Phil Tyler, Elle Osborne, Lisa Knapp, Fay Hield, Charlie Parr, Sam Lee and Rapunzel and Sedayne, with cover art by David Owen of The Ink Corporation and liner notes by Raymond Greenoaken.
"I really can’t recommend this highly enough. If you are only tempted to buy one folk album at the moment then do yourself a favour and make it this one." (Terrascope)
"Oak, Ash and Thorn is a fascinating collection, which both recalls and honours the work of Peter Bellamy and reinvents it for a modern audience. Essential listening." (Bright Young Folk)
"Bellamy's legacy is celebrated here with an abundance of skill and imagination. Homage, introduction, or pure reminiscence, whatever Oak Ash Thorn is to you, just don't miss out on this landmark recording." (Spiral Earth)
"Every single track is genuinely unmissable, magnificent in its own way and an intensely worthy tribute to Bellamy, Kipling and their memories - and yes, a brilliantly designed and packaged 'badge of honour' for this new label to wear with pride. Album of the year already? Without doubt." (NetRhythms)
"A rich, varied set that's a showcase for a new generation of folkies." (Neil Spencer in The Observer)
The Oak, Ash & Thorn Project is out now. Copies available from the Folk Police shop