“ladies & Gentlemen” - The ODDFellows

 

TExt

 
 
The eponymously titled Oddfellows album was recorded and produced by Bill Leader and John Ellis and features performances from the variety of performers who gather for the weekly music session in Middleton, Manchester. It’s the first studio album from the same team that made “Monday Night At Nine” recorded live in North Manchester at the Oddfellows 
Arms, Middleton. Played on the BBC Radio 2 folk show, December 2011, presenter Mike Harding described “The Seven Rejoices Of Mary” as “one of the most stunning things I’ve heard all year”. Listen to what Mike had to say here.


 

There’s nowt so folk as Oddfellows

Limefield Records announces the launch of its latest album, ‘Oddfellows’.

(Limefield LFCD 008)




Bill Leader, veteran record producer, best known for his pioneering work with both folk club and country pub singers in the 50s, 60s and 70s has shown that there’s life in the old music still.  He has taken a collection of local singers and players into John Ellis’ Limefield studios and the result is the group’s eponymous debut studio album, Oddfellows

Oddfellows has at its core musicians who have been playing a part-time trade in folk music since the sixties: John Howarth, (an Oldham Tinker), Martin Lynott, fiddler and composer; Martin Hall, once of Jolly Jack and a Bogtrotter, Jack Lee, Andy Kenna and Mike Canavan.

Their Monday Night at Nine sessions have flourished for the best part of 30 years, and has been based at several pubs in Middleton, Greater Manchester, alighting some four years ago on its present perch at The Oddfellows Arms on Oldham Road.

The session has earned a cult status in recent years, with a succession of respected musicians, such as John Ellis, Kirsty Almeida, Martin Allcock and Guitar George Borowski visiting and taking part.

Bill Leader chose the tracks. He’s as hands-on here as ever he has been in his long and distinguished career: his ‘ear’ and his intrinsic ability to spot quality has not diminished and his juxtaposition of the album’s diverse tracks is a delight: the devil-may-care nonchalance of Jezz Lowe’s ‘Durham Jail’ is followed by a tender rendition of ‘Banks of The Lee’ by Alan Taylor, making this track a memorial to this popular personality, who, sadly died before this disc was released.

Bob Watson passed his touching portrait of old age, ‘Has Anyone Seen Grandad’ directly to Oddfellow Andy Kenna, knowing that this fine singer, himself a prolific songsmith, would get to the heart of the song.     The next sound on the disc is the eerie throb of ‘The Seven Rejoices of Mary’, a realization by John Howarth, of a mediaeval sacred song, perhaps not what you were expecting.  But this record is full of surprises.  There is traditional dance music alongside songs of love and lust, not forgetting disrespectful songs about the deceased. 

As a famous newspaper (itself deceased) once said: ‘All life is here’