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Galley Beggar - Reformation House CD (album) cover


Galley Beggar


Prog Folk

3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars It's probably not that uncommon for two members of a LED ZEPPELIN tribute band to decide to go rogue, and I'd even wager that it's not terribly rare for them to parlay their love of a particular LED ZED style into their own mashups. But the seeds of GALLEY BEGGAR were nurtured by a love of one particular track, "The Battle of Nevermore", which cued Mat Fowler and Paul Ellis to dwell in the shrouded moors and epochs of British psych folk for the last 7 years and release 4 albums in that span. Now that's kinda weird amiright?

"Reformation House" is the first of their efforts, self produced and released, with a slapdash blend of the traditional, the covered, and the original. The requisite tales of often supernatural woe, offering female vocals (Francis Tye) generally backed by clean mandolin, acoustic guitar, and violin, evoke the distant works of FAIRPORT CONVENTION, STEELEYE SPAN, and PENTANGLE, in a format far tighter than any of those bands ever were, and perhaps wanted to be. This tightness is as much in the hips and lips as in the ensemble interactions, and, while only the repetitive "Sir Richard" and the lethargic "farewell Nancy" really fall short, I should also add that only the traditional ballad "The Outlandish Knight", with its marvelous fiddle work particularly in the coda; the haunting SALLY OLDFIELD like "Rowan", with its glorious chorus and flutes; and the urgent and more relatively contemporary "Arise Arise!" which closes the disk really step up and announce that GALLEY BEGGAR is here and now, and more just than another form of tribute band.

While at this stage GALLEY BEGGAR has not found its unique voice, "Reformation House" is a more than competent debut from an embryonic lineup that nonetheless establishes the group's key credentials and keeps them out of the reformatory long enough to fight another day.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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