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Speedy Return

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Album Review

There's a little bit of a second-generation British folk-rock feel to Ashley's second album, links to the first generation being the presence of Fairport Convention's rhythm section (bassist Dave Pegg and drummer Dave Mattacks) on several tracks as well as some orchestration by Robert Kirby (who did the same for Nick Drake). It's mild, varied mid-'70s British folk-rock sometimes verging on reflective singer/songwriter stuff, particularly on the tunes with strings, "Broken Wing" (one of the better numbers) coming almost close to pop. But there are also echoes of several forms of traditional British Isles folk music in the melodies and lilt of some of the rhythms, especially on "Old John England," which is based on the traditional tune "Pase el Agoa." Ashley's thin, gentle voice doesn't carry his intricate, sometimes abstract lyrics with memorable force or nuance, though, and his melodies are pleasant but not outstanding.

Biography

Born: March 9, 1946 in London, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Steve Ashley has influenced the evolution of British folk music for nearly four decades. A member of the short-lived Albion Country Band in the early '70s, Ashley has continued to perform in a variety of settings. In addition to leading his own bands, Ragged Robin and the Steve Ashley Band, he performed with a duo in the 1980s that he shared with future Fairport Convention multi-instrumentalist Chris Leslie. His harmonica playing can be heard on albums by Plainsong, Marc Ellington, Richard Thompson,...
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Speedy Return, Steve Ashley
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