Inspired by his rambling adventures, overheard stories and his experience of serious illness John Jones has woven together a patchwork of stories in his album Don’t Stop Moving. This is an album which demands your full attention as you become involved in the stories.
Guest musicians include Bellowhead’s Benji Kirkpatrick and Boff Whalley of Chumbawamba to name but two. They add a depth to the accompaniment without obscuring the storytelling.
Don’t Stop Moving consists mainly of self-penned songs interspersed with a few familiar traditional songs. Most have catchy refrains and/or choruses and the whole album has a gentle folk-rock feel, which you would expect from a member of the Oysterband.
The album opens with Down By The Lake, a gentle song telling the tragic story of an incident with a gun. Of course, many children in the countryside learn to use guns and occasionally things go horribly wrong so this song has a timeless theme. She Wrote Her Name Today is more hopeful, and was inspired by the poignant story heard on the radio of a girl coming out of a coma.
John Jones includes elements of traditional song in his writing: Black And White Bird for instance features magpies which are well-known as predictors of the future in folklore. As the girl in the story is left with one bird by her lover, we know things will not end well. There is some lovely harmony singing in the chorus and this song could well become a folk club “hit”.
Never Stop Moving , the title track, embodies the spirit of the album: the stories in the songs hail from both the past and present, and keep alive the practice of telling stories through song. The line “we searched and searched to find a thread” sums up John Jones’ quest for stories. The theme of hope for the future also appears in Ghosts of the Village - a song of celebration of the agricultural and industrial past that gave many English villages life and hope for their revival.
Of the three traditional songs on the album, Banks of Newfoundland and Jim Jones are much more upbeat than the rest of the album. Rambling Boys of Pleasure, which ends the album, is gentler with simple acoustic accompaniment and echoes of Down By the Salley Gardens, made famous by W B Yeats.
A varied landscape of songs, echoing the varied landscape of the country they describe.Shelley Rainey
Released by Westpark 4th September 2015
1. Down By The Lake
3. The Wanderer
4. She Wrote Her Name Today
5. Jim Jones
6. Black And White Bird
7. Banks Of Newfoundland
8. Never Stop Moving
9. Pierrepoint’s Farewell
10. Ghosts Of The Village
11. Rambling Boys Of Pleasure