42. Bellowhead – Hedonism

Bellowhead - Hedonism

42. Bellowhead – Hedonism (2010)

1. New York Girls
2. A-Begging I Will Go
3. Cross-Eyed and Chinless
4. Broomfield Hill
5. The Hand Weaver and the Factory Maid
6. Captain Wedderburn
7. Amsterdam
8. Cold Blows the Wind
9. Parson’s Farewell
10. Little Sally Racket
11. Yarmouth Town

Who is/are Bellowhead?

According to Wikipedia; “Bellowhead was an English contemporary folk band, active from 2004 to 2016. The eleven-piece act played traditional dance tunes, folk songs and shanties, with arrangements drawing inspiration from a wide diversity of musical styles and influences. The band included percussion and a four-piece brass section, and was known for its energetic live performances.”

I think that covers it.

Why did you buy this album?

This was a gift from my wife, either a birthday or Christmas present.

We’d both seen Bellowhead on the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage one year, and liked what we’d heard. I added their first two albums, ‘Burlesque‘ and ‘Matachin‘, to my Amazon wishlist, and received the latter as a gift shortly afterwards.

When third album ‘Hedonism‘ was released in 2010, this also ended up on my wishlist, and was dutifully purchased at the appropriate time. If only I could remember when that was.

Oh, and if anyone’s wondering why I haven’t reviewed ‘Matachin‘, it’s because I loaned it to somebody and have yet to get it back. If you’re out there reading this, and you’ve still got my copy of ‘Matachin‘, I would like it back please…

What’s it like?

This is fun. Bellowhead are essentially a live band, and their studio recordings do capture most of the energy of the live shows.

The majority of the album is made up of traditional songs, given a new lease of life by the then 11 piece band. Alongside the usual folk instruments of fiddles and pipes, there’s occasional funk guitar, New-Orleans-second-line-alike tuba, and a four-piece horn section.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

It’s a good album, but a number of the tracks do drag, despite the live band energy (mid-album tracks ‘Captain Wedderburn‘ and the Jacques Brel cover ‘Amsterdam‘ are particularly guilty). The blame for this must be laid at the songs chosen though, rather than the band themselves, as the arrangements are still good.

Any stand-out tracks?

The opening pair of ‘New York Girls‘ and ‘A-Begging I Will Go‘ are possibly the highlights on this album, with notable mentions going to ‘Parson’s Farewell‘ and ‘Yarmouth Town

Rating out of 10?


Next up: Bellowhead – Broadside



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