’Find the Lady’ is Belshazzar’s Feast’s latest musical offering, following on from the excellent ’Food of Love’.
You can expect more of the same musicianship and silliness, in beautiful songs and well-crafted tune sets, plus some guest appearances.
The album opens with Wild Rover, and it is great to hear a variant of the hackneyed favourite. It is also interesting to note the extra impact of a more fleshed out sound with guitar from Jim Moray (who also produces) and backing vocals provided by Jackie Oates.
Widows Shall All Have Husbands/Hey Boys Up Go presents the classic Belshazzar’s Feast sound with stylised and funked up tunes on accordion and fiddle.
In contrast Threshermen pulls the tempo of the album back with a simple tale of farming life. This very much sets the rhythm of ’Find the Lady’ which rolls gently from gentle to pacy, serious to silly in a most natural way.
The one bump along the way is Primus Hornpipe. It has a very Jeeves and Wooster-ish 1920’s feel, which is not in itself a criticism. Unfortunately the comedy dancing is not a success, which is a shame when the duo can deliver such good humour.
However, there are two redeeming features later on in the album, the first being Bloomsbury Market/Bloomsbury Hypermarket. It is the best tuneset of the album, building steadily to a satisfying crescendo and demonstrating Belshazzar’s Feast’s knack for both a good tune, and a good name.
The best is, despite the cliche, saved for last. Home Lad, Home, written during the first world war is beautiful both lyrically and musically. Paul Sartin sings with immense respect and understanding of the lyrics demonstrating the best qualities of his vocal talents. The song is a spine-tingling piece of perfection.
’Find the Lady’ loses its way a little at times, but it has some inspired flashes that make it a worthy addition to any folk collection.Liz Osman
Released on 27 September 2010 by One Little Indian Records. Produced by Jim Moray with original album artwork by London Belle Alex Merry.
1. Wild Rover
2. Widows Shall All Have Husbands
4. Queen Of Hearts / Well Done Jack
5. Primus Hornpipe
6. Lull Me Beyond Thee
7. Turtle Dove
8. Bloomsbury Market / Bloomsbury Hypermarket
9. Circle of Biscuits
10. Queen Of the May
11. Royal Flush / Elephant Stairs
12. Home Lad, Home