Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band have made a real party album, of witty, upbeat traditional songs from the British Isles. As with her other recordings with the Carnival Band, this work is more restrained and distinctly historically authentic than Prior's work with Steeleye Span -- William Bradley plays electric guitar on some cuts, to be sure, and Rafaello Mizraki has a full drum kit at his disposal, but most of the instruments and playing styles are antique in nature, and the overall thrust is on keeping the feel of the songs reasonably authentic. The effect is quite beguiling and very different from Steeleye's music, very affecting in period detail and performing nuance, but also very upbeat, in keeping with the material -- some of the material, such as "The Jovial Beggar," might've come off of one of Ian & Sylvia's better albums, while other songs might've fit nicely onto records by the Waverly Consort. Violins, bagpipes, mandolins, recorders, and even kazoos abound along with some very high spirits.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder