Putting out Christmas albums may be a longtime, and often annoying, tradition, but creating entire ensembles for Yuletide is rather rare, and successfully pulling such a trick is an art unto itself. Still, THE ALBION BAND, an offshoot of sorts of FAIRPORT CONVENTION, mastered the wonder perfectly, creating an offshoot of their own two decades ago and naming this collective THE ALBION CHRISTMAS BAND. While one would think the veterans, whose last platter was released six years ago, retired, that’s not the case because they have a new seasonal offer ready for release on November 18th.
Called “All Are Safely Gathered In” and produced by Ashley Hutchings’ son and frequent latter-day collaborator Blair Dunlop, it differs from the group’s previous works, though, as each of the musician’s contribution was recorded – due to the pandemic and contradicting its title – in their individual homes and then brought together, which, nevertheless, doesn’t diminish the impact of the result, something the folkies’ aficionados will have the chance to experience soon, in December, once the ensemble hit the road. As usual, this album includes newly arranged carols and originals, as well as spoken word, to reflect various moods associated with the winter holiday.
In Ashley’s words, “The band has been in existence with the same four members for over twenty years. During this time we have released about a dozen albums. This has given us the opportunity to hone our output and I can say that with our latest CD we have written and produced the best album yet.” So if you’re going to get another Xmas disc, let it be this one. Read the review.
1. If I Were A Carpenter
2. We Won’t Come Home Til Morning
3. Royal Are We
4. Royal Dog
5. Sam’s Christmas Pudding
6. Christmas Wreath
7. The Wind
8. Coming Home To Me
9. All Are Safely Gathered In
10. Days Of Auld Lang Syne
11. The Whittlesey Straw Bear Tune / Birds A’Building Molly Dance Tune
12. Joy To The World