It was back in 2012 when a riotous encounter with Skinny Lister at the pilot English Folk Expo (it was Homegrown back then) opened new doors. We’ve been on their case ever since and celebrate five years of what IMHO is their best album. Words to say? Well sing ’em loud.
Release date: 23rd October 2020
Label: Xtra Mile
Format: DL / CD / vinyl
Oh the happy days when you look back at a time when you discovered a new band. Skinny Lister may have shocked and possibly even disgusted some of the dyed-in-the-wool(ly jumper) folkies but we thought they were tremendous. Fire in their bellies, rum in the flagon and pure unfiltered fun and energy.
Oh yes, we were there, grabbing a copy of the debut album, Forge & Flagon, and getting the band to sign it. The album is changing hands for £25 plus on eBay now. I even have a promo CD of the album and a F&F beermat! Hooked. Job for life.
And so, the second album from the hardest working band in the business (a genuine claim verified by the PRS in 2011) eventually followed with barely a duff moment as Skinny Lister followed their fearless hearts and marched down their own paths.
Reflecting on the Down On Deptford Broadway legacy, Lorna and Dan of the band have said how the sessions “brought a tougher edge to the Skinny sound” no doubt helped by adding drums. Many tracks became live favourites which are invariably packed with rousing choruses. It’s their Led Zep II.
I’m just having a listen now and have finally realised how Raise A Wreck reminds me of Prince Charming. It only took five years. All those ‘whoo -whoo’s too. And the innuendo. After the single Trouble On Oxford Street, George’s Glass (a song about Max and Lorna’s dad) is possibly one of the underrated ones in the catalogue. Brilliant chorus and combo of voices.
Lorna does her reflective bit on What Can I Say. One of their best ‘slower’ numbers that provide the necessary few minutes for a breather at a Skinny gig. Ranking up there with Carry and The Story Is that do what the rock bands would call slowing things down a bit.
This Is War has full-on folk-punk tremendous Pogues-y verses although the chorus chant I could manage without tbh. The band also goes all Celtic on Six Whiskies In Me that’s in the same ballpark as John Kanaka in a sweaty little gig room. With the flagon of rum being passed around natch.
Who could forget Cathy and the video where the Skinny Lister jellied eel eating champion is crowned. Then again, Ten Thousand Voices is also a personal fave. Didn’t they open with this one at some gigs, maybe supporting The Levellers? Great chorus (again) “all hell broke loose when she appeared” – a brilliant phrase that epitomises Skinny Lister. Plus some Too-Rye-Aye-ing thrown in for good measure.
Bold As Brass – a “two-three-four” and we’re high stepping and finally putting to bed the misheard lyric that has Irene walking into Aldi with her new lover on her arm. I have to own up to being out of steam by the time we reach This City and The Dreich. Two tracks that I’ve under-appreciated as I’m usually spent after ten tracks. No staying power I know, but in the opening ten songs, it’s been quality over quantity.
So why a five year anniversary revisit? Why not? The expanded version now carries the whole set in demo form and some new horse brass artwork. Yellow vinyl too if you’ve been quick off the mark. What’s the value of the demos of the album? Interesting to hear as yes, they’re more like a live take although having the studio versions well entrenched in the consciousness, that’s what I’ll be turning to.
After witnessing Skinny gigs from festivals and support slots in larger venues to rooms above pubs where you were literally seeing the whites of their eyes, listening to DODB brings back a whole host of not too distant memories. Not to decry The Story Is and The Devil The Heart & The Fight, DODB is the one that they’ll aim to top,
Listen to Cathy here:
Dan Heptinstall from the band has also undertaken one of our famous Why I Love features. Read his words here.