Here we have the most recent offering from Sheffield-based Crucible, who are are rightly known for their excellent harmony singing as much as their musicianship - all four members of the band sing, and are multi-instrumentalists.
Starting off as they mean to go, the record begins with the calling-on song of the Grenoside sword dancers, with whom two members of the band dance. Showing both their musical roots and their their excellent vocal harmonies, this is followed by a very lively tune set making use of the pipes as well as the more usual instruments of fiddle, melodeon and guitar. If you’ve been into folk music for a while or are a morris dancer then a lot of these tunes will sound rather familiar. But this is certainly not a negative point - these are most certainly dance tunes to get your feet tapping!
Continuing onwards, there are several beautiful traditional acapella songs, showcasing the bands’ excellence in harmony singing. Under the Leaves is a version of The Cruel Mother, and Three Maidens features beautiful singing from Helena Reynolds, which meshes oddly with the extreme violence of the song!
Vocals are shared between all four members of the band, with different members taking the lead in different songs, which vary from the very sad to the mildly comic.
The arrangements of songs and tunes can’t be faulted. They take full advantage of the variety of instruments at their disposal, using them to illustrate and highlight songs with sensitivity and tunes with wonderful toe-tapping rhythm. An excellently produced CD. Highly recommended.
Released by Fellside on 26 May 2008.
1. The Captain’s Song - 1:44
2. Roxburgh Castle / Up The Walls Of The World - 4:34
3. Under The Leaves - 4:11
4. Three Maidens - 5:41
5. Old Mrs Wilson / Dorsetshire Hornpipe - 3:51
6. All In French Garlands - 2:42
7. Dancing At Whitsun / The Valentine - 6:52
8. True Love - 2:44
9. Collier Lad / Highland Mary - 3:57
10. Signposts / Trunkles - 4:00
11. Pilgrimage - 3:57
12. Walkley Anthem - 4:00