1976 : Battle Of The Field


Albion Country Band


01 : Albion Sunrise
02 : Morris Medley: Mouresque / London Pride / So Selfish Runs the Hare / Maid of the Mill / Sheriff’s Ride
03 : I Was a Young Man
04 : The New St. George / La Rotta
05 : Gallant Poacher
06 : Cheshire Rounds / The Old Lancashire Hornpipe
07 : Hanged I Shall Be
08 : Reaphook and Sickle
09 : Battle of the Somme

First released in the UK 1976 by Island Records HELP25

Issued in the USA 1985 by Carthage Records CGLP 4420

Issued on CD 1997 by BGO Records BGOCD354

Martin Carthy: vocals, acoustic guitar
Sue Harris: vocals, oboe, hammered dulcimer
Ashley Hutchings: vocals, bass guitar
John Kirkpatrick: vocals, Anglo concertina, button accordion, melodeon, electric piano
Simon Nicol: vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, electric dulcimer, synthesiser
Roger Swallow: drums, percussion
Dave Mattacks: percussion [track 8]
Martin Nicholls, John Iveson, Colin Sheen and Paul Beer: sackbuts [track 5]

Produced and engineered by John Wood
Recorded in 1973 at Sound Techniques Studio and Island Studio, St. Peter’s Square, London
Album cover by Ian Logan Associates
Photographs: Keith Morris

Additional Information:
Reinhard Zierke’s Mainly Norfolk lists two additional releases:

Island Records ORL 8392 (Italy, 1976)
Antilles AN 7027 (USA, 1976)

This album was recorded in 1973 by the last incarnation of the Albion Country Band (not to be confused with later Albion Bands, Albion Dance Bands, etc. etc.), and was shelved by Island Records at the time because when the time came for its release, there was no band to promote it, the ACB having broken up in August 1973 and its members moved on to other projects. However over the following year or two the ACB legend grew and a few people clamoured for the album’s release (fuelled by the preview release of 2 tracks – Albion Sunrise and The New St. George – on the Karl Dallas compiled Electric Muse 4 album set in 1975), such that Island eventually released it on its budget HELP label in 1976. By that point, one track (All of a Row) was deemed unfit for inclusion as the band were not particularly happy with it and anyway, Martin Carthy had by then re-recorded it in a different arrangement for one of his solo albums. As the original ACB could not be re-convened, John & Sue Kirkpatrick (a.k.a. John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris) quickly recorded a new track (Reaphook and Sickle) which was added to fill the vacant slot on the album, assisted by Dave Mattacks on percussion (and also hammered dulcimer tuning, according to John Kirkpatrick!).

Other songs and tunes featured by this incarnation of the Albion Country Band in concert (though not on record) included a pace-egging song Beg Your Leave, which introduced the band members one by one (the original song, from Overton in Lancashire, appeared in the Folk Song Journal in 1906, and can also be heard on the 1968 Topic album Deep Lancashire, sung by Pete Smith); Richard Thompson’s Nobody’s Wedding; I’ll Go and ‘List for a Sailor, reprised from the Morris On sessions; and various morris tunes such as Lumps of Plum Pudding and William and Nancy, which were accompanied in concert by dancers from Albion Morris. These latter morris dance tunes eventually surfaced on John Kirkpatrick’s Plain Capers album in 1976.

Another version of one track (Harvest Home / The Gas Almost Works) from this incarnation of the ACB appears on Ashley Hutchings: The Guv’nor Vol. 3, and 4 tracks (The New St. George, I’ll Go and ‘List for a Sailor, Hanged I Shall Be, and Harvest Home / The Gas Almost Works), recorded for the BBC in May 1973 appear on The Albion Band: The BBC Sessions, released in 1998 after only a 25 year wait!
Tony Rees


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