On the Woad again
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Audio CD, April 29, 2008
In the classic Fugli tradition, this re-released CD contains a mixed assortment of music stemming from many sources presented in a semi live format comprised mainly of acoustic open mic performance recordings, later multi-tracked, and without digital enhancement.
The sort of music one hears at a modern Medieval Faire is rarely of the actual medieval variety, and neither are these songs. If the songs were truly medieval, many patrons would not suffer listening to them for long as the language alone would prove indecipherable to the common fairgoer. Instead, what you normally hear is a conglomeration of old songs and melodies interspersed with modern songs and variations played on anachronistic instruments. Following in that tradition, these recordings range from extremely traditional to just plain silly. All of them are arranged by Fugli and are performed as they might be heard at a modern Renaissance faire. Authorship of the lyrics ranges from Henry VIII to to William Shakespeare including some of their anonymous contemporaries, with just a little modern playfulness thrown in.
The Ash Grove
The Mermaid Song
Ebrio Quid Faciamus Nautica
Past Times With Good Company
Rickety Tickety Tin
The Mad Merry Pranks of Robin Goodfellow
The Wild Rover
The Lincolnshire Poacher
The Happy Farmer
The Rat-Catcher's Daughter
The Wind and the Rain
A Fairy Story
The Celt Came Back
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"On the Woad" captures that magic that was experienced by faire patrons twenty years ago. Clean in its simplicity, this is an album of traditional favorites without any pretension or extra dressing. This album even includes that old faire standby, "Greensleeves".
A particular favorite is "Past Times With Good Company." Is there anyone who has worked faire for ten years or more who is not familiar with this song? It is one of many songs that are not played that often at faires anymore. Hearing it on this album was a real treat.
Another tune that stands out is what seems to be the faire singer's contractual obligation song, "Wild Rover." This is a song that gets played to death, but here there is a fresh arrangement. This track could have been a throwaway, the nth recording of a song that has been played out, but instead it manages to make the song fun again. Taking a tired old tune and giving it new life is quite an accomplishment.
"The Celt Came Back" is another stand out song. Reminding me of the early works of Smee & Blog, this is a great send up of the "Cat Came Back". Clever lyrics tie this song into a tight package that will surely please any listener. If you close your eyes you can imagine this tune at any faire after hours party from years back.
This is a fun album that is a fine example of the Northern faire style of music. This is a CD that will take many a rennie back in time to old days at Bristol, TRF, or any number of other longstanding faires. This is the pure heart of renaissance faire music.