Saturday, August 13, 2011


With only 500 pressed, original 1976 vinyl copies of the sole album by unsung Surrey-based folk-rock foundlings Beggars’ Hill are failsafe wallet-lighteners these days, fetching anything up to £250 – ie, £247.40 more than the initial asking price. Had the album contained any original compositions you could arguably double its true value.
Beggars’ Hill – gimlet-eyed sleuths will notice a wandering apostrophe on the CD spine and on the disc itself – were a young, open-ended collective who specialised in diligent, dignified rearrangements of worthy folk fare, whether drawn from traditional sources (Jack Hall, Here’s To The Last To Die) or from then-contemporaries (New St George and Poor Ditching Boy by Richard Thompson; If You’d Been There by Bridget St John). In the main, their poised and painstaking approach works a treat – notably so in their commendably gentle, lyrical interpretation of the Robin and Barry Dransfield arrangement of The Wild Rover. Folk-ophobes may admittedly find all of their prejudices confirmed – everything is sung straight down the nose, with a palpable sense of real ale retention, finger-in-ear earnestness and beard/jumper interdependency – but just as strong is the sense of warm, familial, humanistic conviviality which any decent folk club provides.
Reviewed by Marco Rossi
Tracks :
1 New St. George
2 Cannily, Cannily
3 Jack Hill
4 Here's to the Last to Die
5 Let It Be Me
6 Who Knows Where the Time Goes
7 When Will I Be Loved
8 Sailor Home From The Sea
9 If You'd Been There
10 Poor Ditching Boy
11 Wild Rover

Artwork Included


Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote the book on Southern rock with their first album, so it only made sense that they followed it for their second album, aptly titled Second Helping. Sticking with producer Al Kooper (who, after all, discovered them), the group turned out a record that replicated all the strengths of the original, but was a little tighter and a little more professional. It also revealed that the band, under the direction of songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, was developing a truly original voice. Of course, the band had already developed their own musical voice, but it was enhanced considerably by Van Zant's writing, which was at turns plainly poetic, surprisingly clever, and always revealing. Though Second Helping isn't as hard a rock record as Pronounced, it's the songs that make the record. "Sweet Home Alabama" became ubiquitous, yet it's rivaled by such terrific songs as the snide, punkish "Workin' for MCA," the Southern groove of "Don't Ask Me No Questions," the affecting "The Ballad of Curtis Loew," and "The Needle and the Spoon," a drug tale as affecting as their rival Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done," but much harder rocking. This is the part of Skynyrd that most people forget -- they were a great band, but they were indelible because that was married to great writing. And nowhere was that more evident than on Second Helping.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic com

Tracks :

01. Sweet Home Alabama
02. I Need You
03. Don't Ask Me No Questions
04. Workin' For MCA
05. The Ballad Of Curtis Loew
06. Swamp Music
07. The Needle And The Spoon
08. Call Me The Breeze

Artwork Included

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