Tim Jones & the Dark Lanterns - The Oyster Girl

2016 ep

The Oyster Girl - Tim Jones & the Dark Lanterns

the bright young folk review

One look at the cover of this EP tells you all you need to know. This gaily colourful quartet of original songs is told with great gusto, steeped in English musical tradition and soused by the waterways. It’s also bang up to date: modern folklore inspired by stories told to Tim Jones on his travels around the UK.

The Oyster Girl, based on an old tune, celebrates life as an itinerant boatman aboard a narrowboat. It’s not nostalgia, but modern life as lived on canals and rivers criss-crossing the land. It’s a rollicking good dance tune, sure to be a festival favourite. As is the delightful Pogues-y riotousness of The Aberdare Drinking Song, a classic bar-room shaggy dog story with its glorious chorus of “Pick him up!…He’s not dead ’til we say he is”.

Sally Brown, a ballad of Hartlepool, slows the pace. Potato field labourer Sally, endures the death of her betrothed in a fall from a dockside crane, but keeps his memory alive. Keeping things slow, A Distance to be Travelled is a fitting end to the EP. What could have been maudlin is instead an uplifting tribute to the pleasures of the transient and the nomadic lifestyle..

The Oyster Girl is like a distillation of perfect summer evenings, full of tall tales, friendships and a few drinks. For great storytelling with real heart, catchy songs and all-round love of life, it’s hard to beat. A must-see band at this summer’s festivals, for sure.

Su O’Brien

Released on 4 April 2016 on Cotton Mill Records.

1. The Oyster Girl
2. The Aberdare Drinking Song
3. Sally Brown
4. A Distance to be Travelled

Tim Jones & the Dark Lanterns discography