Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Peter Bellamy

"Mr. Bellamy Mr. Kipling and the Tradition"
(Keep On Kipling, 1982 / Songs An' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks, 1992 )

A heartily welcome 2-CD reissue that includes Bellamy's fourth Kipling collection, Keep On Kipling, along with his final album, the fine live set, Songs An' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks (both albums reviewed above). This also includes some stray tracks from cassette releases and out of print albums. Another fine album, and one of precious few Bellamy albums still in print. Recommended.

"Keep On Kipling" (Fellside, 1982)
Bellamy's long and somewhat quixotic fascination with the poetry of Rudyard Kipling began with a pair of albums on the Decca label's Argo imprint, and continued throughout his life, with five albums total being recorded. Displeased that his early Kipling recordings had lapsed out of print for several years, Bellamy took it upon himself to record this album, the fourth of his Kipling outings, which recaps many of the songs he had recorded earlier. Unlike the previous three, this disc did not focus on a single narrative theme, rather, it glides through a cross-section of Kipling's work. Like most of Bellamy's work, it's the kind of thing you have to be in the right mood for, but if you get in on his wavelength, there are few folk recordings more rewarding. Recommended! (NOTE: This record was re-released on CD, along with Bellamy's last album, in a 2-CD set titled Mr. Bellamy, Mr. Kipling & The Tradition. Listed below.)

"Songs An' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks" (Fellside, 1992)
Recorded off the cuff in 1991, this posthumously released live album captured Bellamy, undiminished, at the height of his powers. It's not music for casual listening; if you had this on in the background, it might well drive you to distraction. But once distracted, ah, what a pleasure. Bellamy's talents as a storyteller are readily apparent on all these songs, as he yowlps a capella or accompanied by a small, unflashy squeezebox. Some songs are more accessible than others, when I first put this on, the haltingly melodic "Slip Jigs And Reels" immediately caught my ear; on further exploration, other, more dauntingly severe, ballads came out in full relief. This is a lovely album, and a fitting -- if tragic -- epitaph to Bellamy's long and invaluable career. He may have had his detractors, both musical and ideological, but listening to the intensity and passion of these performances, it's certainly difficult to understand why. (NOTE: This album was re-released on CD, along with one of his Kipling albums, under the title Mr. Bellamy, Mr. Kipling & The Tradition. Listed below.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great contribution, thanks a million! I'm very happy with this album.
Greetings, Oisín

01 May, 2008 07:27  
Blogger GeoX, who is here to stay, like it or not. said...

I have these already, and they're super-great, especially Keep on Kipling. "Heffle Cuckoo Fair," "Ford o' Kabul River," "Brookland Road," "Sir Richard's Song," "My Boy Jack"--the classics just keep coming.

01 May, 2008 09:38  

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