Reg Meuross – Stolen From God, a folk song-cycle: Album Review

Painstaking research into Britain’s Black History has resulted in 11 fascinating, original songs from prolific songwriter Reg Meuross for his new album Stolen From God. Unraveling true facts about Britain’s involvement in the Triangular Trade of slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Release date: 7th April 2023

Label:   Hatsongs Records

Format:  CD / digital

After years of in-depth research by Reg Meuross into the horrors and atrocities of The Slave Trade, he exposes the cruel perpetrators,  tells stories of the unfortunate victims, and applauds the heroes involved in abolishing the then-legal trade in humans in these beautifully crafted songs. Despite their grim content the genre of the traditional folk songs, which is no stranger as a vehicle to tell tales of tragedy,  suffering and injustice, has been appropriately chosen by Reg. 

Anyone familiar with his material will know he is a master of different songwriting styles and is one of the most underrated British troubadours.  Those who have visited The Maritime Museum in Liverpool will have a clear understanding that the slave trade is one of the events in British History of which we are least proud. A condemnation of lauded heroes who became rich and famous, their philanthropy and heroic deeds clouding how their wealth was gained through involvement in the slave trade.

Amongst daunting,  mournful ballads like the opening song The Jesus Of Lubeck and the title track Stolen From God, there is a catchy refrain in the Way Of Cain, beginning with a delightful baroque introduction. Some are quite jaunty,  like  England No More which tells us how vulnerable indigenous British were victims too. Good Morning Mr Colston is a catchy tune but pokes the finger at get-rich-quick villainy,  A song with an Americana touch is one of the songs giving a victim’s eye view – in this case one who settled in Somerset and married but still yearned for home. 

Despite the bleakness of the subject matter, the singalong style of some of the songs helps you understand the true significance of Reg’s message as the words become embedded in your head.  It’s keeping awareness that tragedies such as these and the Holocaust happened alongside other events, which brought about rebellion that we should never forget and seek to prevent from happening again. 

As well as informing us about a wicked past resulting in the slave trade being made illegal by politicians and men of influence who acted robustly it puts to shame the ineptness of modern politicians in dealing with current practices in human trafficking, abuse and exploitation. Well done Reg – your music in this project makes us more acutely aware of recent atrocities too.

The accompanying booklet provides lots of interesting facts linked to each song along with the lyrics. Under normal circumstances, you often need the lyrics to pick out the words. Not in this case, Reg’s gentle but crystal-clear vocals make the words and the message loud and clear.

This album is a musical historical essay on one of Britain’s darkest hours and deserves the same accolades given to similar projects like the Young Un’s  Ballad Of Johnny Longstaff and Peter Bellamy’s The Transports. If you liked those you will appreciate Stolen From God too.

Reg Meuross online: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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