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The Albion Band

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The Albion Band are a band founded by the former member of Fairport Convention Ashley Hutchings. The band has gone through many evolutions of membership, and indeed name: The Albion Dance Band, The Albion Country Band, The Albion Christmas Band, and spilling over into “Ridgeriders” (Ashley Hutchings, Phil Beer, Chris While, et. al). These apparently different groups share members, tunes, and CD tracks in a fairly confusing fashion, and sometime even the CD sleeve does not agree with the generally used group name for that album.

The thread binding it all together is Ashley Hutchings himself… and the difficulty of getting lyrics for any of their works.

It is possible to see two phases in the career of the band however, broadly when Ashley had money to work with musicians established as the best, and after he finally ran out! Broadly in the first category from 1971 to 1979 there are No Roses, Morris On, Battle of the Field, The Compleat Dancing Master, Son of Morris On, Kickin’ up the Sawdust, The Prospect Before Us, and Rise Up Like the Sun, Lark Rise to Candleford: a Country Tapestry. And then everything else!

And of these, No Roses, Battle of the Field and Lark Rise are those where everything best comes together, as portraits of a vanished world, specifically English, without the Irish and Scots elements that Fairport cheerfully incorporated but with elements of the modern world too in the electric guitars and fiddle. The Prospect Before Us, and Rise Up Like the Sun are perhaps however the most accomplished as folk rock, although the arrangements may sometimes verge on the overblown to some tastes.

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