Faustus - Broken Down Gentlemen
Broken Down Gentlemen, second album from Faustus (Benji Kirkpatrick and Paul Sartin of Bellowhead, Saul Rose of Waterson Carthy and Kings of Calicutt) is folk music in its purist form. Those of you who think you are "into" folk because you like Mumford and Sons and Ben Howard may not be ready for this yet. This is the hard stuff. No cutesy accordions or foot-stomping feel-good tunes sung by winsome, beardy gents. The songs that make up this collection are the stories that crossed the Atlantic along with the hoards of Irish migrants heading for America in the hopes of a better life. The subject matter is at times grim and while the fiddles my soar as high as the sky, the lyrics speak of murder, loss and despair.
The deceptively jaunty 'Prentice Boy' is the graphic tale of a miller's apprentice who murders his sweetheart when she had the misfortune to fall pregnant. In the sad 'Banks Of The Nile', a seaman bids farewell to his sweetheart as she begs to go with him. 'The Captain's Apprentice' tells of a cruel master who fatally mistreats his apprentice trusted in his care. The excellent rollicking 'Og's Eye Man' demonstrates how much heart and soul these old tunes possessed. Credit to Faustus for they in no way attempt to tart up these tunes in a effort to make them more mainstream, but the beautiful voices and faultless harmonies help bring these old songs to life. A labour of love, and one that may only appeal to true folk enthusiasts, yet an album well worth listening to by anyone who enjoys a good tale well told.