Personnel: Eliza Carthy (vocals, guitar, fiddle); Ben Ivitsky (vocals, guitar, hurdy-gurdy, viola, whistle, hand claps); Jon Boden (vocals, guitar, fiddle, concertina, double bass, tambourine, hand claps); John Spiers (vocals, accordion, bandoneon, melodeon, hand claps); Heather Macleod, Willy Molleson, Fay Hield, Heather Macleod (vocals); Lorna MacDonald (bass trombone); Mattie Foulds (snare drum).
Audio Mixers: Eliza Carthy; Ben Ivitsky; Adrian Bradley.
Recording information: Bamboo, Borders.
Author: Colin Chapman.
Photographer: Tom Howard.
Arrangers: Eliza Carthy; Jon Boden; Ben Ivitsky; John Spiers.
Eliza Carthy officially inherits the British folk crown from her parents with the willfully traditional Rough Music. Described in the liner notes as "a form of community punishment practiced all over England" (basically a public beating for a heinous social crime), Rough Music sounds like a lost pre-percussion Steeleye Span record filtered through A.L. Lloyd's whaling collection Leviathan! Carthy's strong fiddling and powerful vocals -- she really is beginning to surpass Norma -- are ably enhanced by the chiseled performance of her backing band, the Ratcatchers. Together they celebrate longstanding English traditions like public execution ("Turpin Hero"), syphilis ("The Unfortunate Lass"), and alcohol ("Tom Brown") with equal parts reverence, earnestness, and mischief. Primarily arranged for violin, viola, double bass, and melodeon, Rough Music also features lovely a cappella cuts like "Maid on the Shore" and enough fiery instrumentals to keep your feet on the cobblestones during the long walk home from the pub. In fact, there's not a moment on Rough Music that isn't essential listening. Highly recommended. ~ James Christopher Monger
Dirty Linen (p.55) - "[T]he spirited music only has rough edges in the sense that it sounds nearly spontaneous and free of modern trappings."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.64) - Ranked #4 in Mojo's "2005 Folk Albums Of The Year."