Green diesel, Wayfarers All, This is a fresh take on the traditional English folk-rock of Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and the Albion Band, determined to get urgent rhythms into nearly everything they do.

Time: 12 tracks / 52 minutes
Label: Talking Elephant

Green Diesel are popular on the festival circuit and it is easy to see why. Their blend of folk rock has plenty of bounce (not least due to drummer Colin Ireland’s skippety beats), their guitar/fiddle interplay suits a sun-streaked green field – and it would even lighten a muddy one.

This disc is a healthy blend of sung and instrumental tracks; originals and traditional songs, and a couple of covers of modern arrangements. Full of fizz and vigour, the opener “To Kill the King” sounds like a major traditional piece, but it is credited to Green Diesel’s main writer Greg Ireland.

The band is extremely strong instrumentally, with a range of strings interplaying: lead guitar, violin, banjo and some very tastily picked mandolin could all be playing together, and dulcimer appears, as does button accordion.

Arrangements often use breaks that keep it all fresh – “Minoorne Labajalg” goes through changes like a prog piece. They even go dub on “Shiny O.” So there is nothing predictable about the album.

Group vocals can have that gravelly, traditional accent and harmonies, but there are some awkward solo vocals. It happens mainly with violinist Ellen Care, who tends to wobble a bit, such as early on in “Mad Tom of Bedlam,” which makes me long for Heidi Talbot’s vocal take on the song – which is a shame, as Green Diesel’s musicianship is superb, and their arrangement of this piece is far livelier than either Talbot’s or even Steeleye Span’s.

So there is a lot to enjoy here, but the enjoyment eases up when solo vocals come to the fore.


Derek Walker

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