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Rise Up Like the Sun

Rise Up Like The Sun is an folk album released in 1978 by the Albion Band. It features the flowering of a collaboration between John Tams on vocals and melodeon and Ashley Hutchings on electric bass. This is not the first album on which they worked but it remains the most fulfilling for listeners. To build the sound Hutchings brought in two of this former compatriots from Fairport Convention, Dave Mattacks on drums and tambourine, Simon Nicol on vocals, electric guitars and acoustic guitar. In addition another ex-Fairporter, Richard Thompson contributed songs and backing vocals. Having assembled the principal contributors and an ambiance that encouraged their friends to drop in, Hutchings gave Tams the freedom to act as the project's musical director. They were joined by Philip Pickett on shawms, bagpipes, curtals and trumpet, Pete Bullock on synthesiser, piano, clarinet, sax, and organ, Michael Gregory on drums, nackers, and tambourine, Ric Sanders on violin and violectra, Graeme Taylor on electric and acoustic guitars. Kate McGarrigle, Julie Covington, Linda Thompson, Pat Donaldson, Martin Carthy, Andy Fairweather-Low, and Dave Bristow make guest appearances.

The album was produced by Joe Boyd and John Tams, and engineered by Vic Gamm. It was recorded at Olympic Studio No. 1 and mixed at CBS Studios.

Critical response

The reviews for Rise Up Like The Sun were mostly positive, although opinion was divided on some tracks, such as "The Gresford Disaster". For many, though, the outstanding track of the whole album is "Poor Old Horse", building up from a single fiddle over 6 minutes to a massed choir with high voices (Kate McGarrigle, Julie Covington and Linda Thompson) and gravelly guitars. 'Poor Old Horse" was released as a single in 1978 and named as "Record of the Week" by the BBC's Simon Bates, but made no impact on the charts.

In music magazine surveys, this album often appears among the top three English folk-rock albums of all time, alongside Fairport Convention's Liege and Lief and Shirley Collins' No Roses.

John Tams and Graeme Taylor went on to form The Home Service. Philip Pickett became one of Britain's most respected scholars of medieval music. Ric Sanders went on to join Fairport Convention and both Nicol and Mattacks returned to the Fairport fold.

Track listing

  1. "Ragged Heroes" (John Tams): Written as a way of announcing that the songs and tunes would be a rallying-call for English folk music. Towards the end, Martin Carthy's counter-melody makes for some very interesting harmonies.
  2. "Poor Old Horse" (Traditional sea shanty): Usually called "The Dead Horse". First collected in 1917. The song was sung at the end of the first month on board ship. Sailors would make a horse figure from rags and tar, hoist it to the yard-arm, then cut it loose and let it drift out to sea. The verse about "Sally in the garden" seems to have drifted in from a different unrelated shanty.
  3. "Afro Blue/Danse Royale" (Santamaria/Anon medieval): An instrumental track combining Latin-jazz (John Coltrane, 1963) on violin, with a medieval French dance tune on bagpipes. Only the folk-rock band Gryphon had ever attempted anything like this before.
  4. "Ampleforth/Lay Me Low" (Trad/Trad): A fiddle tune followed by a hymn from the American non-conformist New Lebanon Church of 1838.
  5. "Time To Ring Some Changes": Richard Thompson did not record his song until "Small Town Romance" (1984). Although he was present on the "Poor Old Horse" track, he isn't on this cut.
  6. "House In The Country" (Stewart): The travelling Stewarts of Blairgowrie wrote this song about the difficulty of finding a place to live. It acquired extra resonance during the 1990's when it was sung to highlight the problem of homelessness among the young.
  7. "The Primrose": Several tunes with this title originate in the 1880's. The one that survived was first recorded by Jimmy Shand in the 1950's and by Oscar Woods in 1968. The first half uses John Kirkpatrick's version and the second half uses Rod Stradling's version.
  8. "Gresford Disaster": On September 22 1934 265 colliers died at the Gresford mine in North Wales. Ewan MacColl sang this song on" "Shuttle and Cage" (1957).
  9. "The Postman's Knock": A Traditional song associated with Morris dancing. The Albion Band recorded it again on "Lark Rise To Candleford" (1980)
  10. "Pain and Pleasure": Written by John Tams, inspired by another sea shanty, "Riding on a Donkey"
  11. "Lay Me Low": A different sound mix of track 4.
  12. "Rainbow Over The Hill": This Richard Thompson song was recorded in 1978 but not released until 1992. Linda Thompson sings the lead.

Note: tracks 9 to 12 are bonus tracks that were not on the original vinyl or CD releases, but were included on the re-mastered Fledg'ling Records issue of the album, in 2003.

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