Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Steve Ashley "Stroll On" 1975

Upon release, Steve Ashley's debut album was rated The Sunday Telegraph's folk album of the year, and even landed its maker a U.S. deal with Motown, which released it to wild acclaim in America in 1975. Across the board, Ashley seemed set for a powerful career. Instead, he all but vanished, releasing new albums with infuriating irregularity and condemning Stroll On to a "lost treasure" status that wholly undervalues its importance. Stroll On was originally recorded in 1971 (Ashley suffered some 30 rejections before Gull finally picked it up), but the timelessness of its contents barely registered the delay. The sparse accompaniment of a band built around drummer Dave Mattacks, but diversifying to encompass tablas, concertina, pedal steel (the redoubtable B.J. Cole), fretless bass, and, on one occasion, the Albion Band, offers an exquisite backdrop to Ashley's thoughtful, almost foreboding voice, yet is happy to remain subservient to it. The monastic chant that opens "Fire and Wine," for example, remains in the ears long after the musicians kick in with chiming electric riffery, while "Candlemas Carol" echoes with the midwinter chill that this ancient festival once guarded against, no matter how warm Robert Kirby's recorders grow. Much of the album seems to concern the seasons -- the grip of deep winter, the fleeting joys of summer -- and this, too, contributes to the album's mood, not because talking about the weather is such a popular occupation, but because the moods induced by the changing seasons truly are eternal. And it does listeners good to be reminded of that sometimes. ~ Dave Thompson, All Music Guide

Steve Ashley, vocals, guitar, harmonica, whistle;
Richard Byers, electric guitar, mandolin, backing vocals;
B.J. Cole, pedal steel guitar;
Brian Diprose, Thom Friedlein, bass guitar;
Dave Pegg, bass, mandolin;
Daryl Runswick, Danny Thompson, bass;
Barry Dransfield, fiddle;
Lea Nicholson, concertina;
Redd McReady, harpsichord;
Dave Mattacks, drums;
Chris Karan, tablas;
Claire Dawson, backing vocals;
Robert Kirby, string arrangement;
Albion Country Band Mk1 1972 (Ashley Hutchings, Royston Wood, Steve Ashley, Simon Nicol, Sue Draheim & Dave Mattacks) on Lord Bateman;
Tinder Box (Steve Ashley, Dave Menday, Tristam Fry) on Spirit of Christmas;
Steve Ashley, Jerry Donahue, Lea Nicholson, Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Dave Swarbrick on Old Rock 'n' Roll.


Blogger Lizardson said...


19 September, 2007 21:56  
Anonymous Manila said...

One of my favourite albums of all time. Lord Bateman - with The Albion Country Band mk1 - is simply the icing on the cake. I've had the CD for a few years now (and the LP before that) but when I see it in shops I still get an almost uncontrollable urge to buy another copy.

19 September, 2007 22:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post, and at the risk of sounding ungrateful I am begging anyone out there who has a better quality rip or bitrate to post it. This is a lost masterpiece of 70s folk rock!

20 September, 2007 00:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a folk/rock masterpiece. I've worn out my vinyl copy, so this is a great download. "Lord Bateman" is the only official recording of the Mark 1 Albion Band you will see.

20 September, 2007 03:13  
Blogger jason said...

thank you!!!!!!!!!!

20 September, 2007 08:04  
Anonymous Karel said...

Thanks a lot!!

21 September, 2007 03:17  
Blogger Green Mold said...

Thank you!

22 September, 2007 08:29  
Blogger Russ said...

This site does it again, I can only compare hearing Matty Groves for the 1st time to hearing track 1 here, Fire & Wine . I am absolutely stunned by the quality of this music, thank you so very much.And could i echo the previous post that asked maybe for the C.D. version if anyone has it again without appearing churlish.

24 September, 2007 04:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any chance for a reup?

27 February, 2013 16:12  

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