Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Spriguns - Revel Weird and Wild

Artist of the Week - Spriguns

Spriguns - Revel Weird and Wild (1976)

Major label debut from second division brit-folksters in the Steeleye Span style. Revel Weird and Wild shows distinct growth from their previous, privatly pressed, Jack with a Feather (see previous post for review) - especially lyrically. However vocalist Mandy Morton lacks the emotional depth that sets apart the likes of Maddy Prior, Sandy Denny, Annie Briggs and others. The tunes also lack distictiveness, often working against a perfectly good lyric - an example is the albums lead track "Trysting Tree" - the tragic, if rather far fetched, tale of a doomed knight desperate to see his lover one last time marries the overheated lyric...

"What a rueful sight for a gallant knight
'Twas there for him to see
Oh the lady Isobel blackened and scorched
By the lightning blast of heaven
And that stately tree where they oft had met
Was leafless blasted and riven
And he kneeled him down o'er the lifeless form
And the death owl o'er him flew"

...to a benign and frankly monotonous set of stock folk chords that steal the emotional weight of the words rendering the entire song sadly forgettable.

So, not a classic of the genre but a worthy effort with a number of fine tunes (When Spring Comes In, Lord Lovell) and tasteful playing throughout.If your love for Brit-folk extends beyond the marquee names you'll find much to enjoy here.

Top Tracks: Outlandish Knight, Lord Lovell,Nothing Else to Do, Laily Worm, When Spring Comes In