Lunatraktors claim to take folk in new directions and push things forwards as they try to imagine what post-apocalyptic folk music might sound like as they sing and update traditional folk songs from Britain, Australia, Ireland and Russia. They are also part of the thriving south coast music scene and this album was recorded in Ramsgate just along the Kent coast from the band's hometown of Margate. The album is recorded and produced by Raphael Mann at the wonderfully named Arco Barco studios.
The opening Black Raven is mainly a slow vocal with some bass drum and hand claps to ad a little bit of depth to the take of the old Black Raven that is a translation of an old Cossack war song the bass drum almost marking time.
Turn Of The plough is an original song to mark the Armistice centenary as they seek to put aside enmities and find the things that connect us and make us live together in harmony both vocally and in the sparse backing that makes this sound like it's in the plainsong tradition.
Arthur McBride is the Irish folk song about two cousins in danger of being press ganged into the army, it's a stark tale of how people get tricked into hearing the call and is accompanied by percussion that mimics and accentuates the lyrics.
The Catalpa is the Irish Australian traditional folk song about press ganged whalers all though in this case they were taken from a penal colony for political prisoners this is sung in the traditional way and with just a single drum and lots of hand claps for accompaniment.
Bonnie Boy has some cool percussion to accentuate this English tale of betrayal of what would have been a transgressive relationship when this song was originally written or maybe I'm reading between the lines here either way this sparse treatment works real well.
They then do an interesting version of Maggie May that feels quite like a percussive and bass drum folk treatment of this tale of a despairing Sex Worker who gets sent to a penal colony for stealing some clothes.
Jim Jones in this case is not about the American Civil rights Preacher or the garage rocker Jim Jones but about the English Poacher Transported to Australia for his crimes and how he might seek his revenge upon his Gaolers who think he should go to New South Wales.
They then tell the blood-spattered tale of Jack Donahue and how he died rather than be captured yes a real gangsta whose story could as easily be rapped as sung as a traditional Irish Auzzie folk song.
The album closes with Ben hall and is a deep dark song for betrayal and the life of crime the betrayed man turns too this is sung deep and slow and very measured way to make sure you know how desperate he was and as the story plays out it feels like your languishing in a cell with him, it's also the only song on the album to feature any instrument that isn't drums or percussion as there is some whistle on it.
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