Songs You May Have Missed #14

albion

The Albion Band: “Ampleforth/Lay Me Low” (1978)

Ashley Hutchings’ Albion Band was (and still is) a loose collective of some of the leading lights of British Folk Rock, an ever-changing lineup that first gathered under that name to help record Shirley Collins’ landmark 1971 Folk album No Roses. Even the name of this band could alter slightly from one release to the next (Albion Dance Band, Albion Country Band, Albion Christmas Band) depending on the given music’s focus. The Rise Up Like The Sun album, from 1978, featured a typical Who’s Who cast, including Richard and Linda Thompson, who can be heard in the vocal section of this track.

This song, like much 70’s British Folk Rock, blended traditional and progressive musical elements. It was inspired by an old Shaker hymn, but has a sweet electric guitar solo. The lyric seems to be about the wish for death. But coolest of all is the fact that the words of each line dictate the bar lengths, which are irregular. I used to think Folk music was about rehashing the past without imagination. Until I discovered the Good Stuff.

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