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Review: The Unthanks - Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band
Album Cover - Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band
Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band
 Artist: The Unthanks
 Album: Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band
 Date of Release: 2012/07/30
 Label: RabbleRouser Music (US: 101 DISTRIBUTION)
 Cat. No.: RRM010
 Other:  
 Country of Release: UK
 Genre/s: World | Folk, British Brass Band


 Sub-Genre/s: Contemporary, Experimental, English, Anglo, Brass Band
 Type: Live
   Time: 73:25
   Date of Review: 2012/09/24
   Contact:  
   Web Site: http://www.the-unthanks.com/
   Sample Track
   

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Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band

Released on RebelRouser on 30th July, The Unthanks' Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band is their long anticipated album of last years' tour. The recording is not taken from the BBC broadcast of this but was selected from specially made live recordings on the tour, with the exception of The King Of Rome which was recorded live at this year's BBC Folk Awards.

The concept was a seemingly simple one: combine two great British traditions, that of folk song and that of the British Brass Band. But what a glorious concept! And as can be heard here, it not only worked but worked gloriously, spectacularly. The Unthanks are indubitably today's very finest folk band around, and only they could have pulled off as ambitious a project as this. The core band of Rachel and Becky Unthank, Adrian McNally, Chris Price and Niopha Keegan are joined by the Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band. 'Briggus,' as the latter are known to friends and fans, are one of the leading British Brass Bands, and one of the few public subscription bands not only surviving but thriving. They come from the adjacent villages of Brighouse and Rastrick on the Calder River in West Yorkshire. Nobody old enough to remember 1977 could possibly ever forget their huge (for a Brass Band!) No. 2 hit in the charts that year, The Floral Dance. But those were different days, with Brass Band enjoying its greatest popularity and even television coverage. Briggus' players may have amateur status, but their standards and abilities are anything but, as they again amply demonstrate here.

The material on Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band consists of a mix of standard Unthanks repertoire - some going back to Rachel And The Winterset days - new and commissioned material, newly arranged songs by Ewan MacColl, Tommy Armstrong and Dave Sudbury, as well as a Brass Band piece, Gresford (The Miners' Hymn). Most of the brass arrangements were adapted by Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band arranger and conductor, Sandy Smith, based on McNally's string arrangements.

A wonderful, outstanding mix, it also includes the Irish gem, My Lagan Love, which lets Niopha Keegan shine as co-arranger and lead vocalist, and a surprising, stonkingly brilliant swing version on Queen of Hearts, featuring Chris Price as lead vocalist. But it would be utterly futile to single out a particular track as favourite, every single one is as strong and as stunning as the other. The outstanding voices of Rachel and Becky Unthank, something straight out of heaven, blend supremely, sublimely with the gorgeous, warm and rich brass of Briggus. Adrian McNally duets beautifully with Rachel Unthank on The Father's Song. The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band is sheer brilliant glory through and through.

If you wondered how The Unthanks could follow up as amazing an album as Diversions Vol. 1 - The Songs Of Robert Wyatt And Antony & The Johnsons, this album is your answer. They just keep surpassing themselves.

To speak of consistency in this context would be insulting. As for compelling, The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band is totally mesmerising, its spell will not let you go and you cannot play this brilliant album often enough. Moreover, it offers something to both the folk/The Unthanks aficionado and to the Brass Band connoisseur. This album is just beautiful and totally irresistible.

The Unthanks' Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band is an album to hopelessly and helplessly fall in love with. It is an absolute must have for any true music connoisseur - beg, steal, or borrow, but preferably buy so that The Unthanks can go on producing more glorious albums!
 

© 2012 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.


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Track List:

 1. The King of Rome (Dave Sudbury / arr. Adrian McNally) - 7:38
 2. Trimdon Grange Explosion (Tommy Armstrong / trad, arr. Adrian McNally) - 6:28

The Father's Suite
  3. George (Adrian McNally) - 3:25
  4. The Happiness or Otherwise of Society (Adrian McNally, with voice of Jack Elliott) - 1:27
  5. The Father's Song (Ewan McColl / Adrian McNally) - 5:58
  6. George II (Max McNally / Adrian McNally) - 4:07

 7. My Lagan Love (trad. / arr. Adrian McNally / Niopha Keegan) - 4:24
 8. Queen of Hearts (trad., arr. Sandy Smith / Chris Price / Adrian McNally) - 3:56
 9. Gan to the Kye (trad., arr. The Unthanks / Sandy Smith) - 5:49
10. Felton Lonnin (trad. / Johnny Handle, arr. Rachel Unthank & The Winterset / Sandy Smith) - 7:26
11. Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk (trad. / Belle Stewart, arr. Rachel Unthank & The Winterset / Sandy Smith) - 5:41
12. Newcastle Lullaby (trad., arr. Adrian McNally / Rachel Unthank & The Winterset) - 6:11
13. Gresford (The Miners' Hymn) (Robert Saint, arr. Sandy Smith) - 4:29
14. Farweel Regality (Terry McConway, arr. Adrian McNally / Rachel and Becky Unthank) - 6:18

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Credits:

Rachel Unthank - vocals
Becky Unthank - vocals
Adrian McNally - piano, vocals, drum (1)
Chris Price - vocals, drums (10), cymbals (1)
Niopha Keegan - vocals


Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band


 

Purchasing Info:


Diversions Vol. 2 - The Unthanks With Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band can be purchased from:
 
 
Amazon UK

Amazon.com

HMV

iTunes

Other online sources and major CD stores


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