Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart "English Roots Music" 30 Hertz Records 30hzcd21 2003 (43:03)

Cannily Cannily (3:27)
Banks Of The Sweet Primrose (5:03)
The Unquiet Grave (4:55)
Blacksmith (5:29)
Blacksmith Dub (3:45)
Strange Duet (1:49)
They Came With A Swagger (2:58)
Press Ganged (4:15)
Sovay (4:33)
Bykerhill (2:19)
Trance Of The Willow (:55)
English Reprise (3:35)

Jah Wobble has long sought inspiration from afar but here he turns his attention back to his homeland.  With local singer Liz Carter and longtime collaborators Jean-Pierre Rasle and Chris Cookson, Wobble re-tools medieval and Victorian era songs in his own image.  And that is key for this is a Jah Wobble album through and through despite the subject matter, his tireless dub inspired bass lines underpinning Rasle's pipes, Cookson's guitar and loops and Carter's hearty vocals.  Ewan MacColl's "Cannily Cannily" is the lone contemporary song.  It bounces along nicely but its words and references are so rooted in history they're lost on me.  All of the traditionals are fine but "Banks Of The Sweet Primrose" is the loveliest of the lot as Carter's longing vocal is backed by a haunting pipe drone, gently caressed acoustic guitar and a lulling bass line.  "The Unquiet Grave" is a perfect example of the musings on life, love and loss within these songs:  "cold blows the wind to my true love and gentle drops the rain / I only had but one true love, in the green wood he lies slain / I'll do as much for my sweetheart as any young maid may / I'll sit and mourn all on his grave for twelve months and one day".  It's notable that the four instrumental interludes written by Wobble and Cookson are like-minded but noticeably different.  The garish electric guitar squealing in "They Came With A Swagger" detracts from the proceedings but "English Reprise" ("Cannilly" revisited) more than makes up for it with ghostly slide guitar.  "English Roots Music" is another winner from the prolific Wobble, simply one of nine from the past three years by my count ...

Jah Wobble at 30 Hertz Records

Where did I get this cd? - mail order via Forced Exposure.

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