Well, with that said, I am also retiring a category today – “One Hit Wonder Wednesday” – a category that I’ve run 83 posts. It was getting a little stale for me and I haven’t had a outlet for traditional and folk music for over a year when I retired “Traditional Tuesday” in October 2011.
Today, we unveil a new category “Wooden Music Wednesday.” Not as limited as the moniker “Traditional Tuesday” but will allow for posting of songs that have a considerable acoustic element. I’ll run this category for a while and see how it goes.
Today’s post is “Country Life” by Show of Hands. I am not sure how I missed this band, but I did. While the video depicts a full band, “Show of Hands” includes only four hands – two belonging to Steve Knightley and two belonging to Phil Beer. Both men are multi-instrumentalists – while Phil Beer is normally the individual seen switching from his fiddle to other instruments, Knightley is adept at all manner of stringed instruments as well.
I got to know this duo by a suggestion of a solo version of “Country Life” by Steve Knightley done on tenor guitar. This version was posted last week on the tenor guitar list. I found the official version of the same song done with a full band with “Show of Hands.” The message is typical what folk music became in the late 19th and early 20th century – a move from ballads to songs of social consciousness. “Country Life” is just that – a lament of the loss of the common way of country life in England due to big business. Ah yes, "the love of money is the root of all evil."
I really like these guys and there are some excellent examples of Show of Hands in concert found on YouTube – in fact an entire concert from 2001 is available in bits and pieces. It is quite enjoyable. As for Steve Knightley’s instrument of choice on this number, I originally thought that it was a bouzouki or an octave mandolin; however, it is actually a mandocello made by luthier David Oddy.
I hope you enjoy Show of Hands as much as I have.
Alternate Live Version
Since the audio quality is decent on this live version, I’ll include it as well. It includes bassist/vocalist Miranda Sykes. It was recorded St. Margaret’s Church, Walgate, York in 2009.