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Jack The Lad Jack The Lad
Album: The Old Straight Track
Label: Talking Elephant
Tracks: 13

"The Old Straight Track" was Jack The Lad's second album, gone was Rod Clements who jumped ship whilst former members of Hedgehog Pie Phil Murray and Ian 'Walter' Fairbairn clambered aboard.

They cast off, having lost a major songwriter, they chose to wisely chart the vast seas of traditional music with a North Eastern folklore wind in their sails.

It was a decision that earned "The Old Straight Track" the accolade of "Folk Album of the Year" in Melody Maker a popular music paper of the Seventies.

Highlights here include the epic four part suite "The Wurm" written by Billy Mitchell and the traditional "Weary Whaling Grounds" which features atmospheric boat sounds and a doom laden bass by Murray.

Add in Tommy Armstrong's powerful "Oakley Strike Evictions" and you have Folk rock of the highest order.

There's even room for the daftness of cash register in Simon Cowe's "De Havilland's Mistake".

Original label Charisma apparently hated the direction the band had taken, with no commercial single obvious.

Don't however let that put you off, "The Old Straight Track" has weathered well, it's a cruise that you'll want to repeat.

Talking Elephant have, like the first Jack The Lad album remastered the sound perfectly which again makes up for the lack of bonus tracks on this release.


Ian Cripps