English Roots Music

30HZ 021CD 30HZ 021CD

"Many of the moody, drone-based, heart-rendering melodies are based on the old church modes, and some have hardly changed since medieval times (There are speculations that a version of 'The Unquiet Grave' inspired the carol 'There blows a colde wynd todaye, todaye' c. 1500). Other songs have a strong XVIIIth Century flavour, and their tunes have often been borrowed for later Victorian hymns, whereas Cannily, Cannily was written in 1969, by folk collector and protest songwriter Ewan MacColl. Its melody seems to be based on a lullaby, and helped towards its success and assimilation into the body of traditional British folk songs. With the help of Chris Cookson's wild ethnic loops and his own obsessive, post-industrial bass lines, Jah Wobble proceeded to deconstruct the same songs over the next two days, commandeering the odd flurry of whistle notes or long sustains of bagpipe drones at exhilaratingly odd intervals. He interspersed the recording with jumping out of hotel wardrobes and frightening the life out of me, but also with illuminating musings while walking along Hartlepool's lesser known sea front. Surrounded by the savage beauty of its black and white rocks mixed with decaying Victorian dwellings and 21st century waste, Jah Wobble's chosen musical mix seemed particularly relevant. The result is sure to rattle some folksy cages, and more than a few Victorian song collectors might turn in their grave, but the atmospheres he has created provide a direct link with the songs' original bearers: a hint of the first trains here, a whiff of the sweatshop there. Let these songs speak for themselves."