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Stick in the Wheel and LynchedStick in the Wheel and Lynched
Album: Then To Now
Label: From Here
Tracks: 2

So this is an innovative thing. A limited two track 'split release' single by London based primal folk band Stick in the Wheel and Dublin folk miscreants Lynched, which comprises a 24 page newspaper in which both bands talk about their respective song choice and interview each other, and includes the articles 'May Day Workers' Tales' by Roger Huddle (founding member of Rock Against Racism) and 'The Folklore of May Day' by George Hoyle (South East London Folklore Society and Gentlefolk band). Also included is a download code to enable the purchaser to access the two tracks via Bandcamp. (The newspaper was not included in the review package so I can't attest to the content otherwise).

What these two outfits have in common of course is a healthily irreverent outlook on life which is reflected in their 'punk folk' music, image and politics, altough both opt here for interpretations of traditional folk songs, albeit originating some years and miles apart.

The Lynched track Peat Bog Soldiers is an a capella rendition of the famous protest song, first written by political prisoners of the Nazis during the Second World War, and translated into many other languages since to become a popular peace movement song throughout Europe. The song does indeed have a Germanic feel, its slow and simple melody perhaps reflecting a soldiers' march, but the harmonies and Irish brogue present in the voices here, when combined with that knowledge of the songs origins, give it a poignancy beyond the superficial.

Stick in the Wheel song White Copper Alley in contrast is in fact a version of the traditional bawdy ballad 'The Lass of London City', collected in 1906 in London and perhaps most famously recorded by Nic Jones on his eponymous second album in 1971. The 'gullible Casanova' story is sung here by (presumably) Nicola Kearey in her usual no-nonsense broad cockney accent, which seems an eminently suitable combination.

Something a bit different then, imaginative presentation and design, with two fine traditional songs brought bang up to date by two of folk's top current pioneers.

Ian Taylor