Ribbon Road – No Redemption Songs.


Ribbon Road album review

Ribbon Road

Ribbon Road have been going for quite a number of years but I was never aware of them until I received a copy of the 2012 CD – ‘Roadside Dreams’. A mightily impressive album which got played over and over again.

The latest release ‘No Redemption Songs’ contains ten tracks of masterful music and its theme is the miners strike of 1984/5.

Miners across the country were fighting oppose pit closures which had a devastating effect on large swathes of the nation.

Ribbon Road : Brenda Heslop, Jill Heslop and Geoff Helsop.

All songs on the CD are written from the heart by Brenda, who in my opinion is high amongst the best song writers this country has ever produced. Certainly not an ‘unknown’ but she certainly deserves the recognition and accolades which are often heaped on lesser skilled individuals.

‘No Redemption Songs’ is an album which stands as a monument to the sacrifices and suffering of the coal mining community and demands that you sit and listen to the powerful lyrics.

The overriding quality of the album comes from the strength of the vocals from the three members of the group. There is some understated instrumental accompaniment under pinning the songs but never distracting from the stories which are being woven.

In the recent past, there seems to have been a trend to ‘over produce’ folk music with huge bands playing complicated arrangements and including brass bands somewhere in the mix. You know who I mean…
Ribbon Road take the music back to basics and let the words take front stage and demands to be listened to.

Each track of the CD is well constructed and produced and there are a few surprises included to add to the delight of the overall effect. ‘ What Are We Gonna Do’ could be described as an English blues song which is underlined by some tasty blues guitar work by Geoff.

In conclusion, you might have guessed that I have been blown away with the CD. Skillful and inspirational songwriting by Brenda and tasteful vocals from all three members of Ribbon Road.

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Alan Morley
FolkRise