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Raintown Seers - The Mermaids Pool (Self Release)
Now into their sixth year, the Derbyshire-based folk quartet Raintown Seers present a new collection of songs, largely written by the band’s singer/guitarist Neil Fisher, with the exception of the traditional Bonny Ship the Diamond and Ewan MacColl's Champion at Keeping 'em Rolling, both of which are treated to fine arrangements here. Neil is joined by Steve Hyde, Lisa Lovatt and Dan Hall, who between them create the sort of folk music once popular in the 1960s with the likes of the Ian Campbell Folk Group, which is not a criticism. Unlike Ian Campbell and Co though, Raintown Seers venture into Folk Rock territory with such songs as Peter's Stone, with its extra boost courtesy of Danny Walsh's Rickenbacker bass, and I doubt Campbell would've dared reference Joy Division (The Last Boat), even if they'd been around in '65.
John Riley (Revisited) is a fine example of how well the band interprets Fisher's original songs, a duet with a fine vocal courtesy of Lisa Lovatt, together with a touch of kalimba adding to the atmosphere. With informative sleeve notes, including helpful map coordinates, THE MERMAID'S POOL AND OTHER STORIES, is both well produced, well presented and well performed. Jimmy Webb's timeless Wichita Lineman is tucked away as a bonus track, reminding us once again what a fabulous song it is, even without Glen Campbell, the Wrecking Crew or indeed the sumptuous orchestrations; it's just a folk song after all.