Oysterband, The Oxford Girl and
Other Stories
(Running Man Records, 2008)

This album is to celebrate the Oysterband's 30th Anniversary. Yes -- thirty years! Considering this, I think, although the name Oysterband is known throughout the world, they must be one the most 'faceless' bands there are out there. I'll bet any of them, could walk around any folk festival and not be instantly recognised. This is probably due to the 'arty style' of their past album covers or maybe poor publicity photos. The same could not be said for their contempories Steeleye Span or Fairport Convention.

On first inspection of the play list I thought this was another compilation album with the 'best of·' 30 years or a systematic look back over Oysterband's past albums, although most are represented here. But I was wrong. What you have here is all new acoustic recordings of the songs with re-arrangements. I have to say I liked what I heard, effectively they have returned, in a way, to their 'folk roots'. With the exception of the traditional song 'The False Knight On The Road' and 'What Wondrous Love is This?' all the other tracks are songs written by the band, or various members thereof. Many of them are favourites requested on the band's tours such as 'The Oxford Girl,' 'Early Days of a Better Nation,' 'By Northern Light,' 'Put Out the Lights,' 'After Rain,' and of course 'When I'm Up I Can't Get Down' which was a hit single for the band Great Big Sea in North America. In all there are 14 tracks on the album that will entertain you with no album filler!

The album comes in a tasteful cardboard cover. Complete with a nice booklet that has some interesting notes about the songs. I can strongly recommend you buy this album, whether you are a fan of The Oysterband or not. It is different and well worth having.

The Band on this recording are: John Jones, vocals; Alan Prosser on acoustic guitar, banjo, accordion, violin, kantele, and vocals; Chopper playing cello, bass, harmonica, keyboards, mbira, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals; Ian Telfer on violin, concertina; Lee Partis percussion, vocals; Dil Davies playing drums and percussion with Al Scott on acoustic guitar, bass, accordion, & bouzouki.

Now for the important bit! I understand this disc may not be available in the record stores. The album is only obtainable from the band direct at their Web site.