Galley Beggar are a six-piece band hailing from Kent/London that are carrying the spirit of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s sounds of the Psychedelic Folk Rock genre who formed six years ago. It’s this combination between Steeleye Span, Trees, Mellow Candle, and Fairport Convention rolled up into one giant milkshake that is served fresh. The band considers: Paul Dadswell on Drums, Percussion, and Vocals, David Ellis on Guitar, Mat Fowler on Guitar and Vocals, Bill Lynn on Bass, Celine Marshall on Violin, and Maria O’Donnell on Lead Vocals.
The band have released two albums in which they self-released. From their 2010 debut (Reformation House) to 2011 with their sole self-titled second album. This year, they are signed to Lee Dorrian’s label Rise Above Records. Which is home for bands such as: Circulus, Blood Ceremony, Lucifer, Purson, Diagonal, and one of my favorites, Astra to name a few. And they have released their third album entitled, Silence and Tears. And I have to say, I am very impressed and completely spellbound of the band’s music.
From the soon to be Folk-Rock anthem essence of Steeleye Span’s All Around My Hat-era of the sing-along militant snare drum, vocals between Maria, Mat, and Paul followed violin jig melody and the finale thanks to Celine Marshall increased playing on the instrument of the traditional folk song, Jack Orion. And moving into the haunting psychedelic late ‘60s touch of Pink Floyd’s More-era from the echoing guitars with a bluesy feel and bass lines that Bill creates the atmosphere for Pay my Body Home.
Galley Beggar also show a tribute to the Acid Folk sound. Geordie evokes the mysterious surroundings that mixes between Trees, Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan, and Jim Croce while the beauty goes into a dystopian atmosphere followed by a midsection duel between Celine’s violin solo and Paul Dadswell’s percussion in a time signature in ¾ waltz of the post-apocalyptic Empty Sky.
The opening medieval track, Adam & Eve begins with a traditional acoustic riff followed by Maria’s vocals, wah-wah guitars, and Celine’s violin adding a saddened and emotional touch on what the two people are doing by making a deal with the devil of the snake charmer by eating the forbidden fruit and never returning to the garden. It’s a perfect introduction to start the album off, and sets the stage on what is about to become on what they will think is about to come next.
The title track which came from Lord Byron’s poem, When We Two Parted has a renaissance mourning from the acoustic guitars on fingerpicking and playing the rhythm chords as Maria is singing beautifully from her heart. It’s almost as if she is giving writing a letter about betrayal, cold heart, and the promises never kept between each other. And Maria O’Donnell nails it spot on.
The two closing tracks, will make you feel ready to see where Galley Beggar will go into next. Sanctuary Song goes back into the renaissance and countryside folk-song with acoustic guitar, violin, bass, and harmonizing vocals as the cosmic-spacey echoing vocals as the spaceship is ready for take-off to Deliver Him, is a mind-boggler, but it fits well that closes the curtain on the album.
This is a home run for me because it isn’t just a simple Folk Rock album, this is a journey from start to finish. Galley Beggar have released a gem for 2015 so far. And it’s something that Sandy Denny would have been very proud of as the band themselves are following into the footsteps of Prog, Acid Folk, and the Cosmic voyages that is evidential on Silence and Tears. Rise Above Records have done it again. And I hope to look forward of hearing of where Galley Beggar are going into the next years to come in the future of the Psychedelic Folk Rock sound.