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Monday 15 July 2024

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Bold Reynold Too – David Carroll & Friends.

Jul 8, 2024

Back for more, virtually the same in every respect, planning, exceution and personnel, David Carroll returns for further electric adventures in the British tradition. As before the lads from Gryphon along with a couple of Fairports as well as assorted chums fill out Carroll’s ideas way beyond any demoes which may have started the whole process. The germ of an idea about a follow up began fairly promptly after the success of the original ‘Bold Reynold’ album -positive reviews, smiles all round and chart placings don’cha know – once timetables had been synchronised, you try tying down Gryphons and Conventioneers, it isn’t easy, then sifting through source books and that thing called the world wide web, matters got seriously underway twelve months ago.

Recorded at Graeme Taylor’s increasingly influential Morden Shoals studio, mixed, mastered and produced by the man as well, ‘Too’ sees equally sterling work from Brian Gulland in terms of all manner of blown things and vocal doings, his sleeve credit is ‘Magic Ears.’ Once played you can hear exactly what that means. The instrumentation is dense, layer upon layer, consider that the core crew here are repsonsible for 31 instruments amongst them and then there are other guests and vocalists. Graeme Taylor must have been glued to the production desk for weeks! What he’s conjured and Gulland arranged though is a cracking melange of sound which mixes seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive whole. When I spoke to him a few days ago David Carroll described the whole process as “wonderfully splendid.”

That wonderfully splendid is best captured in a dark, gloom ridden, sonorous version of ‘Sheath & Knife’ – perhaps not the jolliest of subjects incest and infantacide- but the power of the settings and drama of the arrangements suits the tragedy which the trad lyric unfolds. Starting with a delicate eeriness the music builds to a shuddering climax which includes trills from echoing pipes, thundering drums and a brilliant blast of soaring medieval guitar from Mr. Taylor. It’s by far the finest track on the album and the others are pretty decent as well. ‘A Week Before Easter,’ is another folk tale of false, unfulfilled love where the music’s more delicate, even stately yet still employs eleven instruments in total. And despite Mr. Carroll being alcohol free for a good number of years there are enough booze along songs to keep drunken revellers carousing until way past closing time – best to these ears ‘Johnnie Jump Up’ concerning the astonishing effects of cider matured in whisky barrels. All this and Radio 2’s Sally Traffic on backing vocals into the bargain!

‘Too’ comes in a couple of formats, CD twelve tracks and vinyl ten tracks with a bonus downloaded of the two missing items, the choice as they say is all yours. Anyway you look at this ‘Bold Reynold Too,’ is a jovial diversion, no mistake. Dare we mention a third episode? Things always seem better when part of a trilogy don’t they? Over to you David Carroll.

Simon Jones.

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