Galley Beggar,
Galley Beggar
(independent, 2012)

If you're wondering where the next 1969 Fairport Convention is coming from, wonder no more: Galley Beggar is here. The one-sheet that accompanied the album says that members of the band are all too young to have experienced Fairport, Steeleye Span and the rest of the seminal British folk-rock bands the first time around, but they sure as hell have studied up. They appear to really love the Fairport lineup that included Dave Swarbrick, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol and Dave Mattacks -- the lineup that did Leige & Leaf -- because when you listen to Galley Beggar, you'll blink, thinking you're hearing that lineup.

Their album is a mixture of traditional and band-written songs, just as Fairport's material always was, and they are in love with the mandolin and the fiddle as Swarbrick played, as well as the electric guitar that Thompson contributed. There's even a salute to the moment in time when Fairport was considered the British Jefferson Airplane and did rock material that echoed the American band's style.

OK, so we've established that Galley Beggar is inspired by Fairport and, to my ears, that's good inspiration. The question becomes, though, does the band have anything to offer on its own and, again, to my mind, the answer is yes. They play well, write well and their harmonies are beautiful. Yes, they visit the past but they don't live there; they don't ape what went down back then. Much as they are inspired by the music of the '60s, they are their own people and well worth a listen.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

26 January 2013

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new