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Mysteries: Nativity/Passion/Doomsday Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, May 26, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 26, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Fledg'ling UK
  • ASIN: B000007P0I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,500 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Tim Slover on June 21, 1999
Format: Audio CD
In 1985 an extraordinary event took place in the intimate Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre in London: under the direction of Bill Bryden the entire Mystery Cycle of medieval Christian cosmology was performed--from the fall of Satan to the Last Judgment. I was there, and it took all of one Saturday. It was the best, most moving theatrical event I have ever attended. This cd, long-awaited, records the music that was played live at the event by the excellent folk band, Home Service. At times exquisite and hushed, at other times rough and raucous, this music will appeal to any with an interest in heartfelt--but never sentimental--expressions of faith and humanity. It's first class stuff! Sing along with "Shepherd's Arise," and it will quickly become your favorite Christmas carol!
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I'm an atheist, and I think this album is excellent! Musically it is so good that it's easy enough to overlook the fact that it's derived from superstitious mumbo-jumbo.
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This album is solid GOLD; it is the most treasured album in my collection. A mixure of both the medieval and the modern in both music and verse, THE MYSTERIES recalls The Mystery Plays of old with imagination and brilliance.

The bellowing horns, the resounding percussion, the superb arrangements - including guitar, banjo, melodeon, and accordion - the colourful (and oftimes mournful) touches of recorder, clarinet, and fiddle, and the outstanding vocals (including Linda Thompson and John Tams) herald in the Yuletide season with uncommon magesty.

There is more, of course, to THE MYSTERIES than just the birth of Christ, but I love to play this album at Christmas. It is a touch of brillance amongst the more common music associated with this season.

HOME SERVICE consists of Bill Caddick (rhythm guitar and vocals), Jonathan Davie (bass, percussion and backing vocals), Howard Evans (trumpets), Andy Findon (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and clarinet), Michael Gregory (drums and percussion), Steve King (keyboards), Roger Williams (trombone, tuba and euphonium) and JOHN TAMS (vocals and melodeon) and GRAEME TAYLOR (lead guitar, banjo and backing vocals) of Albion Band fame.

Guest performers include Phil Langham (fiddle, accordion and vocals), Eve Matheson (backing vocals), PHIL PICKETT (recorders, shawn rauschpfeife) and LINDA THOMPSON (solo vocals).

"THE MYSTERIES" includes some material that may be familiar to Albion Band and Richard Thompson fans, such as "Don't Be An Outlaw" (Bill Caddick), "Lay Me Low" (John Tams), "Lewk Up, Lewk Up" (John Tams) and "We Sing Allelujah" (Richard Thompson). It also boasts some lovely arrangements of traditional fare - "Shay Fan Yan Ley", "Shepherd's Arise", and "Lyke Wake Dirge".

I couldn't recommend an album with more enthusiasm.
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The three shows were great--entertaining, moving, and drew the audiences in emotionally. The music has an earthy folk feel to it, as well as a modern electric squeal in appropriate places.

Looking at the medieval plays about the bible stories as though the workers and "guild members" of the 1980s were presenting them freshened what for many may seem a stale or cliched story trotted out every year.

I only wish the video production (which did exist once) were available again.
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