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Ashley Hutchings - From Psychedelia to Sonnets Album Review

The folk forefather’s music-and-words presentation, committed to disc.

Ashley Hutchings From Psychedelia to Sonnets album artwork

The 50 year-plus peregrinations of Ashley Hutchings, the landlord of modern British folk music, have now delivered him to a particularly sweet spot.

It’s the one in which he’s on stage flanked by the able talents of vocalist-instrumentalists Ruth Angell and Becky Mills, for a recent series of music and monologue. In it, he plays music from his matchless career, interspersed with readings of lyrics, poems and sleeve notes from the recently revised volume Words, Words, Words.

Those were, as he wrote therein, the product of “a forty-year period of being in love with words.” This particular gig has been rapidly afforded posterity, recorded in the unostentatious milieu of the well-established Acoustic Roots gathering at Wigan Parish Church, only in February.

The songs, and his accompanying thoughts, meander as gently as a babbling brook, from the rites-of-passage tale of Welcome To The World to notes from what he considers his finest work, By Gloucester Docks I Sat Down And Wept. The recording is resolutely live and unadorned, and his engaging voice brings vivid life to tales and tunes that have just the right balance of weight and whimsy.

Prog Magazine contributor Paul Sexton is a London-based journalist, broadcaster and author who started writing for the national UK music press while still at school in 1977. He has written for all of the British quality press, most regularly for The Times and Sunday Times, as well as for Radio Times, Billboard, Music Week and many others. Sexton has made countless documentaries and shows for BBC Radio 2 and inflight programming for such airlines as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific. He contributes to Universal's uDiscoverMusic site and has compiled numerous sleeve notes for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and other major artists. He is the author of Prince: A Portrait of the Artist in Memories & Memorabilia and, in rare moments away from music, supports his local Sutton United FC and, inexplicably, Crewe Alexandra FC.