Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Review - Steve Tilston, Ziggurat

Last night I was privileged to attend a gig by a stalwart of the British folk scene, Steve Tilston. Folk (and occasional Blues) singer-songwriter Tilston has new album out called Ziggurat, and he played a variety of tracks from it last night, along with some old favourites like Slip Jigs and Reels (a version of which has been recorded by Fairport Convention).

The songs on Ziggurat are a combination of reflective compositions inspired by incidents in his life, traditional songs, and political songs.

I particularly enjoyed Steve's political songs - his reflection on English identity and an alternative pantheon of radical English heroes and heroines ( including Tom Paine, John Ball, mass trespassers, striking match girls, Levellers and Tolpuddle Martyrs) in Speaking in Tongues and his very timely observations on City greed and the financial manipulation of the "new Coiners" in A Pretty Penny.

And behind their hedge,
They don't plant wheat,
They don't cut corn,
they don't pick tea,
They don't dig coal,
They don't forge steel.
They just push numbers about. They push too far, we bail 'em out,
Keep their fingers firm on fortune's wheel.


There is also an anti-war song, The Spoils of War and reflecting on destruction in Iraq and the threat of war with Iran gave him the title of the collection, Ziggurat.

These are supplemented by some lovely ballads like After Summer Rain and a traditional song taken from the wonderfully titled "Holroyd's Yorkshire Ballads" - The Fisher Lad of Whitby.

Well worth a listen.

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