“With a glorious history stretching back over twenty years, The Albion Band has been a showcase for some of the finest folk musicians in the land. Past members include Phil Beer, Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, John Kirkpatrick, Chris Leslie, Cathy Lesurf, Dave Mattacks, Julie Matthews, Simon Nicol, Ric Sanders, John Tams, Richard Thompson and Chris While. The current line-up follows in this fine tradition, providing a platform for five of the most talented and creative musicians in Britain today. The Albion Band’s musical appeal crosses all boundaries.”
‘Uncut‘ Magazine, August 98 issue.
Folk-rock stalwart does it again. Ashley ”Tyger” Hutchings has been a mainstay of the English folk scene since the days of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. Although he left Fairport because he only wanted to play traditional material, in recent years he has become a fine songwriter. His umpteenth album with the ever changing Albion Band consists of mostly his own mature compositions played in a sprightly folk-rock fashion, the interplay of Joe Broughton’s violin and Ken Nicol’s electric guitar at times recalling the classic Swarbrick-Thompson teaming of Liege And Lief fame.
Folk Roots July 98
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Coming amidst a cascade of related product, the debut of a replugged Albion is something to smile about. Even through the most acoustic of phases Ashley Hutchings couldn’t hide that he’s a rocker, his side projects revelling in the fact. Reconnection, in truth, was never a matter of if – only when. The current Albion is different enough from anything that’s gone before to carry the slipstream, and The Guv’nor’s probably got a quiet smirk of satisfaction on his face at his choice of personnel. Superficially the nearest comparison is the ‘1990’ incarnation, though Ken Nicol’s guitar work is chunky rock’n’roll while Neil Marshall anchors everything with splendid diverseness of touch. Young gun Joe Broughton’s the bright spark, turning in ragtime, jazz reeling and Swarbrickian touches. Both recent vocalists, Kellie While and Gillie Nicholls, ghost various tracks. While outstanding on ‘Coming Home to Me’, Nicholls is the more obviously English. Hutchings, writing more – especially with Ken Nicol – seems content to deal out his mission statement on ‘Wings’, a summation of thirty odd years devoted to furthering the quest for an intrinsic rock form. For now what’s happening is all right, and it looks likely that given no hiccups ahead there’s lots more meat on the bone.
In between all the off-shoots, side projects and never-ending compilations, Ashley Hutchings’ Albion Band can be depended on to release, at the very least, an album a year. But every so often an Albions record comes along that deserves to soar above all the back catalogue jostling and punter confusion, and this is one such. For a start, the line-up is sensational: vocalist/guitarist Ken Nicol’s cap doffs refreshingly towards lost hero Nic Jones as to folk-rock benchmark Richard Thompson, while fiddler/keyboardist Joe Broughton will thrill and astound those who yearn for the sound of Dave Swarbrick in a modern context. True, there are echoes of ‘Full House-era’ Fairport instrumentally (and, oddly, of ‘War Child-era’ Jethro Tull in opening trackPress Gang), but this is a confident, crisp and even funky album for today with power, pathos and just a little light relief in perfect blend