Seth Lakeman : Word Of Mouth
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Seth Lakeman : Word Of Mouth

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Folkster Seth Lakeman – or Seth Bernard Lakeman as he appears on his birth certificate – is now up to album number seven. By this time, you are confident you know whether his music is palatable to you or not. For that extra splash of authenticity, Word Of Mouth was recorded in a church in the English countryside. Lakeman is at the forefront of what could be described as the modern folk scene. Something of an oxymoron, but he hails from a folk family and his previous band was with his brothers, named The Lakeman Brothers.

His command of the guitar, viola, violin and banjo gives him a rarefied position in this scene. Plus he has links with travellers The Levellers, and the likes of Tory Amos. As usual, Lakeman approaches his subject with a modest and humble manner. No vainglorious sermons from the mount as he sings about the common man, the engine drivers, the dock workers and the like. Occasionally, however, you just wish he was tempted to give the songs some edge and enter unchartered territory.

Similar to the like of Show Of Hands, songs like The Wanderer, The Ranger, Another Long Night, and Each Man trundle along and are sufficiently heartfelt, in that welcome to sleep way. Quick fire repeat plays these are not. There are of course several songs that climb outside the parameters, a case of the resistible force meeting the moveable object.

The Saddest Crowd is an ode to the survivors of the Titanic disaster. Credit to him for recalling these who survived one of the world’s famous calamities. There is also the unambiguous paean to his wife, Portrait Of My Wife, which is more than a glibly derisive love song. It is when he embraces the subject matter he is keen on that Lakeman becomes more than workman-like. For example, Labour She Calls Home sounds like it comes from a place other than that where people who make folk music come from. At this point of his career, it is unlikely a thunderbolt will hit him and encourage a new path, but he does the conventional folkie well.

BY BRONIUS ZUMERIS

Best Track: The Saddest Crowd

If You Like These, You’ll Like This: BERT JANSCH, LUKA BLOOM, JACKIE LEVEN, BILLY BRAGG

In A Word: Agreeable