Friday, March 13, 2009

Frankie Armstrong, Brian Pearson, Blowzabella, Jon Gillaspie ::: Tam Lin


A fiver seems but a small price to pay to hear Frankie Armstrong give a peerless performance of Tam Lin. It is quite simply an example of unaccompanied singing at its very beef, holding the listener in its thrall for 26 glorious verses. What's more, you get the test of the album free!
I know it sounds glib to say that the original ballad is the best thing on the album, but even after umpteen listens I still hold this to be the case. However, I must add immediately that the test of the record can most certainly hold its own on the `enthralling' front. This is what used to be called a `concept album', but it most certainly is not a mock-medieval folk opera (thank God!). Instead of retelling the well known tale, it picks up on various themes and offers several interpretations of each. For example, a short song on Lady Margaret's loss of innocence is followed by two Brechtian songs on woman carrying the cross of unwanted pregnancy.
Although the title of Song Of The Second Serving Maid, a song on abortion, is suggestive of Bill Caddick's composition, the lyrics are aimed unerringly at Vin Garbutt's Little Innocente - "But what's a woman's feelings against a man-made belief?" Lyrics, singing and Jon Gillaspie's arrangements combine to demolish. This and songs on love and parting, especially parting, are set against a backdrop of the cyclic unconcern of the natural (The Four Seasons) and supernatural (The Ride), of nature red in tooth and clave, and indifferent (The Owl).
I haven't mentioned the music! Blowzabella are unusually subdued, but tastefully so, and Jon Gillaspie's keyboards are splendidly in accord with the lyrics. I had only one initial criticism of Tam Lin but I'm learning to live with Brian Pearson's singing - mostly because I'm getting so much enjoyment out of his and Frankie Armstrong's songwriting.
Lawrence Heath • #24 • April/June 1985

Frankie Armstrong: vocals [1a, 4b, 5, 8, 10-12], backing vocals [2, 3, 6]
Brian Pearson: vocals [2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12], backing vocals [2]
Blowzabella:
Dave Armitage: bassoon, baroque bassoon, backing vocals
Paul James: sopranino & soprano rauschpfeifen, Flemish bagpipes, alto, tenor & bass renaissance recorders, soprano saxophone, string drum, tapan, backing vocals
Dave Roberts: melodeon, side drum, backing vocals
Dave Shepherd: fiddle, viola d'amore, lyra da braccio
Cliff Stapleton: hurdy-gurdy, alto renaissance recorder
Jon Swayne: B-flat and E-flat whistles, alto, tenor & bass renaissance recorders, musette, soprano saxophone, Flemish bagpipes, Macedonian bagpipes, soprano shawm, bombarde, piano, tapan, backing vocals
and
Jon Gillaspie: piano, harmonium, bassoon, soprano & alto baroque recorders, bass renaissance recorder, clavinet, synthesisers, vocoder, syn-drums, drums, percussion, backing vocals
Recorded at Ideal Sound Recorders, London
Musical arrangements by Jon Gillaspie
Engineer: Charles Gray
Artwork and design: Janina Lech

side A
01 Tam Lin (9:02) / Fanfare: Tam Lin (0:40)
02 The Four Seasons / Danse du Printemps (3:13)
03 Lady Margaret (2:02)
04 Andante from the “Vilnius Suite” / Christmas Lady / Menschenverächter-Tango (4:09)
05 Song of the Second Serving Maid (7:02)
side B
06 The Ride (3:17)
07 In the Garden (3:08)
08 Owl (1:08)
09 The Queen of Air and Darkness (4:28)
10 Holding Song (2:46)
11 Parting (3:07)
12 Earth, Air, Fire, Water (3:13)

1984 • Plant Life PLR063

> 192 kbps VBR

Tam Lin
password: highqualitymp3

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14 Comments:

Anonymous labbai said...

Thanks for this incredible album. Tam Lin really got me breathless. Reminds me of "Veljensurmaaja" from "Kanteletar" , an old epic written down in early 1800's.
Great music altogether, this will go to my ipod accompaning Comus, one of the scariest folk bands ever. I'd like to find more information of Roger Wootton, Glen Goring and the others. They recorded one of the best albums that I've heard in my life.
Anyway, keep up the good work!♦

13 March, 2009 21:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if anyone had also the "The B to A of Blowzabella" cassette with the music of the Encyclopaedia BLowzabellica.

14 March, 2009 00:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if anyone had also the "The B to A of Blowzabella" cassette with the music of the Encyclopaedia Blowzabellica.

14 March, 2009 00:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This album sounds wonderful, but the file is damaged and will not decompress with

14 March, 2009 09:55  
Blogger cianfulli said...

courtesy of BananaYogi
The B to A of Blowzabella

14 March, 2009 10:32  
Blogger cianfulli said...

I checked it and it works well, try again, try another expander, if you don't succeed in

14 March, 2009 17:55  
Anonymous Reinhard said...

I can't unpack this archive too; tried it with Stuffit Expander on a Mac (said structure of the archive is damaged) and unrar on Solaris (reported CRC error). cianfulli, which tool did you use to unpack?

14 March, 2009 23:14  
Blogger reynardine said...

Wonderful stuff - and now the Blowzabella cassette - I'll now be able to work out which bouree is which.

While people are making requests - does anyone have Lisa by Andy Cutting and Chris Wood, our copy has gone walkabout and we desperately want to learn a tune from it.

15 March, 2009 05:36  
Blogger cianfulli said...

I use Winrar, but I'm going to try some other programs
I have Lisa, reynardine, but it can't be uploaded here

15 March, 2009 06:07  
Blogger cianfulli said...

i tried several unzipping programs (IZArc, 7-zip, ZipGenius) and they all uunzipped this archive successfully.
I can't give you any advice for your Mac, but to try the more programs you can
I compressed this album with WinRar (store mode), and I guess there is a Mac version

15 March, 2009 07:38  
Blogger reynardine said...

Hi cianfulli
is it possible to upload Lisa somewhere else?

15 March, 2009 22:35  
Blogger cianfulli said...

reynardine, please check your email inbox

16 March, 2009 07:57  
Blogger Gonzo said...

Indeed a good album, another that I once owned and disposed of in a fit of sillyness.

However, although the rip is relatively free from clicks, it does have an alarmingly high surface noise which detracts from the enjoyment of the quieter passages on decent quality audio equipment.

For this reason and that some are having trouble decoding the original, I am posting a cleaned up re-mastered copy on my blog

22 March, 2009 17:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks cianfulli and BananaYogi for "The B to A of Blowzabella" link. I was searching for this music for years.
My Blowzabella's diiscography is now complete.
Mr Paul James himself said that the master tape of it is lost.

Thanks also for the two Tam Lin versions.

All the best,
Claude

14 April, 2009 01:52  

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