The new album Folk Songs and Ballads from community musician Mark T is an impressive piece of work. Drawing influences from the English, Scottish, Appalachian and Irish traditions, each track is clearly a labour of love, based on extensive research and drawing on multiple influences from other artists. Mark plays solo with steel guitar, bouzouki, guitar and harmonica, creating a rooted and yet scholarly feel to the album.
The highlight is ’Hughie the Graeme’, a splendid version of the border ballad better known from the Ewan MacColl version. Also excellent is ’Lord Ronald’, a name-changing modification of the better known ’Lord Randal’ and ’Pretty Saro’, originating in the southern Appalachians.
An impressive tie-in to Mark’s album releases is his website hosted by Circle of Sound. http://www.circleofsound.co.uk/markt/index.htm
The site offers a fascinating set of extended ’album notes’ that describe not only the origins of a track, but also the influences Mark has drawn upon from its performance by other folk artists. There are links to videos of these artists or Mark himself performing, which gives a real insight into the creative process that resulted in the album.Mike Hough
Released 2011 on Circle of Sound
1. Lord Ronald
2. Motet Veritas Arpie
3. Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime
4. Hughie The Graeme
5. Pretty Saro
6. Packington’s Pound
7. Whiskey Johnny
8. Lady Maisry
9. John Barleycorn