New-ish ( I have been a bit slow on the up-take, apologies) four track EP from London based folk duo The Lion’s Share. It’s pretty gorgeous. Light in texture, like a very good Victoria sponge run through with a delicious jam of vocal harmonies, textured banjo and guitar.
I should at this point lay bare that both Tom and Jim are friends of mine and we have shared many a late night mulling over cider and music. I would love to say our friendship doesn’t influence my opinion of their music, but well I would be fibbing. But I would absolutely never lie to you about the quality of their musicianship.
Over all the album is a successful first press (you don’t press CDs but I do dream in vinyl every now and again). My one criticism is – I want some more. The four tracks on the album flow well and evenly with each other. It would be a challenge to pick a favourite. But if someone sat on my chest and forced me I would pick Cathy, for its bittersweet beauty.
Brief track by track breakdown…
The Lion’s Share – Inspired by the Aesop’s fable of the same name. The soaring vocals (potentially aided by Jim’s occasionally long-ish red hair) help you visualise a lion teaming up to hunt with an ass, but with his own interests at heart. Sneaky.
Cathy – dedicated to the work of Jeremy Sandford (1930-2003) and his film Cathy Come Home, 1966 BBC television drama on homelessness. In 2007 proclaimed by Broadcast as the UK’s most influential TV programme of all time. Cathy opens gently like a warm embrace at the end of a long hard day. Both uplifting and thought provoking, it moves the listener. The themes of this song and of Cathy Come Home remain at the heart of contemporary British society, as homelessness continues. Cathy serves to highlight this, opening our eyes in a startlingly gentle way.
Hares on the Mountain – This love song originates from Southern England and was collected and published by Cecil Sharp in ‘Folk Songs From Somerset’. The song has been rolled out over and over, proof that the themes of love and loss (and a little humour) are timeless. Jim and Tom’s harmonies lend a sombre tone to this love song.
The Prickle Eye Bush – A centuries old folk song, covered by countless folk groups, changing and evolving over the centuries. Ranging from large band adaptations, like Bellowhead, to trios like We Were Hunters. Or you can take it full 90s with Steeleye Span. The Lion’s Share cover is simple and pared back, but not lacking in texture and beautifully communicates the emotion of this tune.
Steeleye Span – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntaUk3Fi5ps
We Were Hunters – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZKnAW0PkQI
Bellowhead – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDDLYH4P83E
And the cover art work makes it stand out like a jewel in my collection! Hooray for potato prints!
Check out The Lion’s Share here…
Purchase the EP here…
and listen to them here…