Trad & Folk
Artists and Albums
Hello! This page is part of an opinionated overview of Celtic and British folk music, with record reviews by me, Joe Sixpack... This is not meant to be taken as a "definitive" resource, but rather as a record of some of the music which has caught my interest. I am always looking for more good music to explore, so your comments and suggestions are welcome.
This is the first page covering the letter "B"
Roy Bailey - see artist profile
Aly Bain - see artist profile
Bandoggs "Bandoggs" (Trailer/Transatlantic, 1978)
An all-star collaboration between guitarist Nic Jones and fellow British folkies Chris Coe, Pete Coe and Tony Rose... Jones sings on about half the songs, including some that wound up in his regular repertoire... Sadly, this is one of the many, many fine out-of-print albums from the old Leader-Trailer record label that have been in a bizarre legal limbo for several decades. Sigh. I don't own a copy myself, but sure wish I did!
Band Of Hope "Rhythm & Reds" (Musikfolk, 1994)
Just for old time's sake, a bunch of old-school leftie folkies get together and sing a few songs of hard times, repression, and the renewal of life through action and faith in a righteous cause. Although the disc is presented as a communal effort, the leading light is Roy Bailey, who reprises favorite tunes such as Jack Warshaw's paranoiac anthem, "If They Come In The Morning," along with rabble rousers by Si Kahn, Leon Rosselson, and others. Adding their voices are John Kirkpatrick, Dave Swarbrick, Martin Carthy and Steafan Hannigan... To be honest, the performances seem a little rushed, but for those still fighting the good fight, this disc may lend some inspiration.
Les Barker - see artist profile
The Battlefield Band - see artist profile
John Beag "The Winds Of Freedom" (Clo Iar-Chonnachta, 1993)
A fine album of traditional and trad-tinged folk songs, sung with a simple, earthy delivery. This is the first album that Connemara native John Beag O'Flatharta sang in English translation, rather than in Gaelic (he's done several other albums, including many recordings in sean-nos (a capella) style. It includes modern folkie material by the likes of Eric Bogle, Pete Coe and Archie Fisher; John Faulkner plays keyboards and guitar, and while this album isn't as resonant as Faulkner's best work, it's still in the same ballpark. Worth checking out; he's the real deal.
John Beag "Ta An Workhouse Lan" (Clo Iar-Chonnachta, 1993)
John Beag "Spirits Of Ireland" (2000)
Brendan Behan "Sings Irish Folksongs And Ballads" (Spoken Word)
Playwright and poet Brendan Behan, an early IRA loyalist and one of the great bad boys of modern Irish literature, chortles and guffaws his way through a lively set of a capella songs and spoken asides. No doubt this album was a fine recreation of his boozy performances in numerous Irish pubs; he skewers the English and sings of the bold Fenian men, free-associating his way through a thicket of wry references and nigh-incomprehensible inside jokes. Some of the songs are traditional, others are Behan's originals, and while the underlying political slant may make some uncomfortable, it's a likable performance, with Behan's rich, mischieveous Dubliner accent holding hypnotic sway of his listeners. It may take a while to get in on the right wavelength, but this is a rewarding record. Not sure exactly when this came out -- I'm guessing the early '60s, before Behan's untimely death in '64 -- but it was briefly reissued on CD by the Outlet label, and may be locatable if you poke around a bit.
Peter Bellamy - see artist profile
Pierre Bensusan - see artist profile
Beoga "Mischief" (Compass, 2007)
Beoga "The Incident" (Compass, 2009)
Although they describe themselves as "a trad band on steroids," this youthful Irish folk fivesome are pretty mellow-sounding, mixing Celtic trad with sweet pop and a bit of a classical-chamber music vibe at times. There's also an eclectic jam-band sensibility as well, a modern embrace of different approaches and styles that gels together well. Fiddler Niahm Dunne also contributes sweet vocals on a tune or two, adding that well-known mournful tone that so many Irish women excel at... Guess I'm gonna have to go back and check out their first record, too!
Beoga "How To Tune A Fish" (Compass, 2011)
(Produced by Beoga & Mudd Wallace)
Another lively set from one of Northern Ireland's most inventive Celtic-fusion bands. This album starts out with a bit of creaky, old fiddle, and the trad side of their music is always present, even as they go soaring away on energetic, sometimes provocative flights. As on earlier albums, the main focus is on the accordionists, Sean Og Graham and Damien McKee, who rip through these tunes with dazzling technical prowess... Singer Niamh provides counterpoint with her fiddle and vocals, showing a likeminded mix of modern and traditional sensibilities. Beoga are quite upfront about not being a band for world-folk purists, although I think there's enough of a trad flavor here to appeal to a wide range of Celtic music fans. I personally would prefer more quiet moments, but man, I sure would like to see these guys live!
Beyond The Pale "Beyond The Pale" (Self-released, 1999)
This Pennsylvania-based band mixes jaunty Celtic trad with more modern folkie influences, sort of like an American version of The Oyster Band. Some trad purists won't go for it, but many modernists might.... They're spunky and earnest, that's for sure! (For more info, here's the band's website, www.beyondthepalemusic.com )
Beyond The Pale "Hill Of Sallows" (Self-released, 2002)
This disc continues along the path of the first, mixing emotive, spiritually inclined folkie stuff with Celtic sounds... The trad influence takes a back seat, and the rough edges (which I thought were endearing) are smoothed out in favor of a larger, more rolling sound. Sadly, they sound a bit stuffy on this one...
Beyond The Pale "Strange Turns" (Ceol Na Feinne, 2002)
Beyond The Pale "The Music Plays Me" (Ceol Na Feinne, 2004)
Beyond The Pale "Queen Of Skye" (Ceol Na Feinne, 2006)
Celtic/Brit Folk Albums - More Letter "B"
Main Celtic/Brit Index
Main World Music Index