David Carroll and friends – Bold Reynard: Album Review

A collection of traditional style folk songs given fascinating arrangements by David Carroll  to whet the appetite of  purist traditional folk song fans.

Release date:  20th January 2023

Label: Talking Elephant

Format: CD

This album will appeal mainly to those whose feet are well-planted in the traditional plots in the folk garden particularly if they like a tinge of rock to the arrangements. Arrangements in which David Carrell has painted in medieval and Asian textures and hues. It also serves as an introduction to those who are less embedded in folk roots which probably inspired many of the artists on this album into entering the folk world. 

On Bold Reynold, David Carroll has not only accumulated a tight ensemble including folk rock elite but has created new arrangements for well-established songs and tunes. Using an extraordinary range of instruments like crumhorns, uilleann pipes, and bouzouki he has added the more familiar to folk rock like violin, bass and electric guitar to create different musical tones. If the more mournful, lamenting folk songs are to your taste then this album will be more attuned to your ear.

 Tragedy through early loss of life, battles, lovelorn, seafaring and natural and social world issues are familiar themes in folk and they are all visited on this album. Indeed many of these songs have appeared in different guises throughout the years and are all treated with sensitivity and with care by David Carroll. This has been a long quest to gather and record all these songs, but his affection for each one comes through in all the arrangements.

The anti-whaling song highlights concerns about the state of the planet and some interesting animal effects add texture and reality to the music. War is celebrated and protested against in equal measure through the Irish rousing tune of Follow Me Up To Carlow and by the heart-rending Banks Of The Nile. The version of High Barbaree takes you back to the school Singing Together moments, which are no more in school music lessons today.  A lovely version of She Moved Through The Fair has a neat rendition of  Skye Boat song segued in. Racial Issues are dealt with Dave Cousins’ saga, The Battle but the album ends on a lively note with  Gentleman of High Reknown and conlcludes with the Foxhunter’s Jig.  

The services of renowned Gryphon, Fairport, The Professionals and The Men They Couldn’t Hang members provide accomplished support on the album.

I don’t often mention sleeve notes but I will in this case as an interesting background to each song makes fascinating reading and highlights the many hours of research.

Here is a sampler:

Bold Reynold Website

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