Back at the height of the ‘60s folk revival, there were some old ballads so popular that they were known and sung by the masses. Bands like The Corries, who brought many back into public focus, pulled capacity crowds to major venues.
Within twenty years, they had fallen out of vogue again – even in the folk clubs – as a new breed started their own revival and much of the material performed was instrumental.
A new resurgence got underway, however, spearheaded by major talents such as Karine Polwart, with the very best of the old material once more getting serious attention.
Right at the very forefront of the movement is The Paddy Buchanan Band, who have been making a big impact in the scene since appearing at Celtic Connections.
Paddy and the gang produce a very fresh sound that’s built around three part vocal harmonies and up-beat tribal grooves delivered by their “drum circle,” all driven along by guitar/accordion/mandolin.
The band set out with a very different outlook to most who’d been flexing their muscles and trying to find a place for themselves on the trad circuit.
The presentation bristles with just the right amount of energy. Apart from one or two surprises in the set, they specialise in re-workings of traditional folk songs, primarily Scottish ballads, but also from Ireland, England and the New World.
On the lighter side, this is a band that turned Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky into the most talked-about song in folk circles after their included it on their debut EP.
The record got loads of radio exposure from the BBC and the reviews were glowing.
The highly-regarded UK music reviewer Marc Higgins told his followers they were “an ensemble with its own voice and a fresh take on the familiar.”
Loving their “raggle taggle ragged folk power,” he described the EP as “five marvels and fifteen minutes of wonder and delight,” concluding “If this isn’t an opener for an album to come, then something is very wrong here.”