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Mary Epworth and the Jubilee Band, Royal Festival Hall foyer bar, February 26th 2010

March 2, 2010

I first came across Mary Epworth at the Sandy Denny tribute bash at the Barbican nearly two years ago. Despite being perhaps the least known performer of the evening (those who turned out included Marc Almond, Dave Swarbrick, Jim Moray, most of Bellowhead, PP Arnold, Lisa Knapp and the peculiarly dreadful Baby Dee), Mary courageously opened the show with a fine rendition of one of Sandy’s Fairport song, Come All Ye, and later sang a sensitive Solo. Her poise and confidence were impressive and I made a mental note to see her again, but our paths hadn’t crossed since.

The Royal Festival Hall puts on regular free Friday lunchtime gigs in the bar, and they’ve proved popular, particularly among those I’ve dubbed the ‘freenior citizens’ – the oldies who travel around London for free, reading their free newspapers, drinking their flasks of tea and enjoying the delights of free London. Anyway, Astral, Mr P and I joined them to see Mary Epworth backed by her Jubilee Band, and very good they were too.

Stylistically, they veer from trad folk-rock to psychedelic rock to torch songs. These latter prove less successful, but they’re more than outweighed by the fine folkie stuff – including a stirring rendition of Shirley Collins’ version of The White Hare Of Howden – and especially by the more psychedelic songs, such as the current single, Black Doe, and Mary’s impressive cover of Aphrodite’s Child’s The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse. You don’t get much more psychedelic than that.

Mary’s own songs, such as The Saddle Song and Sweet Boy, are really very good, and I hope she continues to mine this seam of English psych-folk rather than go down the chanteuse route. She has a very fine voice and it would be a shame to waste it on dinner-goers at the Pigalle… her management, please take note.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 12:05 am

    “Mary’s impressive cover of Aphrodite’s Child’s The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse”…. Ooooh!

    • brandnewguy permalink*
      March 3, 2010 10:03 am

      Yes, it was quite wild…. 🙂

  2. pinky pinky permalink
    March 3, 2010 12:06 am

    loutish dissaproval is high praise.

    hooray for me!

    Baby Dee

    • brandnewguy permalink*
      March 3, 2010 10:04 am

      Hooray for you 🙂 Not quite loutish disapproval, really, more a question of taste… loutish disapproval would have involved booing, catcalling or mooning, none of which I think I was responsible for 😉

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