At One With the Bells is a celebration of Pecsaetan Morris’s first ten years, and also an opportunity for them to raise funds for a morris trip to Canada in 2012. It features tunes they dance to, some of their songs and also showcases what members get up to musically when they aren’t dancing.
A distinct advantage to the album is the high quality folk musicians that Pecsaetan has attracted to their side over the years. Richard and Jess Arrowsmith were instrumental in founding the side and appear individually, together and as part of The Melrose Quartet. The album also features Trinculo and Cupola, alongside some solo performers. So, what might have sounded like a fundraising exercise is actually professionally produced, and of a high quality.
The morris tunes are well executed and performed live, complete with dancers bells. This takes a little getting used to, as the only leaping and bounding is in the listener’s head.
Jess Arrowsmith provides vocals for a number of tracks reminding me of Crucible unsurprisingly, whilst The Melrose Quartet donate a live version of I’m Going to Speke / Battle Swing.
Points for the best tune name surely go to Sound of Winegums which, paired with Origins of Agriculture is a driving up tempo number, and my standout tune of the album. Meanwhile, at the other end of the tempo spectrum Sarah Matthews makes a big impression with a beautiful version of My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose.
Buy this album to support one of the most exciting morris teams you’ll see at a festival, but more importantly, buy it because it’s a cracking set of tunes and songs!Liz Osman
Released by Seville House Records, Autumn 2011.
3. John Ball
4. Constant Billy
5. Consecration - 488 Sacred Harp
6. My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose
7. Sound of Winegums / Origins of Agriculture
8. The Banks of Green Willow
9. Skirmish:- Tune - Dr Fauster’s Tumblers
10. Dearest Dickie
11. Smuggler’s Song
12. A Quiet Autumn
13. Singing Through the Hard Times
14. Sweet Bells
15. I’m Going to Speke / Battle Swing
16. Queen’s Delight