Ashley Hutchings

Along the Downs: The Countryside Collection Album

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Anyone looking at the cover of this and seeing Ashley Hutchings with Martin Carthy, Simon Nicol, Dave Swarbrick, and John Tams might think is a superstar session of British folk music. Don't be fooled. In fact, it's a compilation of tracks around the theme of the countryside from the Albion Band, recorded between 1977 and 1998. Some of the tracks are good, such as "Lemady/Arise and Pick a Posy" and some of the instrumentals, including a lovely version of "Speed the Plough," whose spoken word commentary puts it in historical perspective. But most of it is fairly anonymous fare, and those famous guests aren't so easily spotted. Those looking for traditional British folk won't be too satisfied, since only five of the 22 cuts here are listed as "trad. arr. by." So, with no disrespect to Hutchings' talent, don't be fooled by the cover -- it's not what you think.

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