Great Grandson of Morris On

12 Jul


This was issued on the Talking Elephant label in 2004 (TECD062) and credited to Various Artists  – but the mastermind behind it and overall producer is Ashley Hutchings 

It’s hard to deny that Morris On was a truly pioneering album and that ‘Son’ and ‘Grandson’ have been subject to the law of diminishing returns. Nevertheless, with morris music enjoying a higher profile than for 30-odd years nobody should begrudge Mr Hutchings for returning to the genre. For heaven’s sake, if it wasn’t for what he and John Kirkpatrick in the seventies did to drag an ossifying tradition into the 20th century (see entry for 28 May 2013), the current revival wouldn’t have happened.

Grandson has a cast of stalwart figures, several like Simon Care and Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie are wholly steeped in Morris music whilst others like Phil Beer, John Spiers and Jon Boden (the later two shortly afterwards to find success in Bellowhead) are simply damn good musicians. Also featured are long-time Hutchings collaborators Ken Nicol and Guy Fletcher.

If you key Mr Fletcher’s name into your search engine along with that of Tom Hall (featured on this blog 9 May 2013 , you can access a YouTube audio recording of the former accompanying the latter at what would be Mr Hall’s final gig – which just goes to show how, among musicians – and recorded music – the familiar idea of “Six Degrees of Separation” between individuals may be more like five degrees!)

Anyway, some might find the music a bit pedestrian – but this isn’t grandstanding music, it’s there to accompany dancing – and it’s about the whole ensemble – not virtuoso playing. And it’s a nice record which I’m never unhappy to hear.

Almost all the tunes are from the ever reliable Trad. Arr. but my particular favourite is ‘Little Johnny England‘. This is described as ‘a playground song at Moulton Primary School, Northants’ which is about four miles from where I live and which is/was the ancestral seat of Mr Care who cut his teeth playing for the Moulton Morris Men. It is probably an uncomfortable reminder of my own age  to say that my wife used to work with Mr Care’s mum for a while in the 1990s! This title (LJE) also gave its name to a rather good band,(including Mr Fletcher last time I heard them live) whose recordings I will feature in a future post.


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