Never shy of publicity, the five members of Mawkin:Causley have, to their credit, managed to create quite a stir with only a low-key EP and a string of festival dates to their name. The release of this, their first album, has been highly anticipated on the folk circuit, and provides the answer to the question “are they as good at the music side of things as they are at self-promotion?”
The answer has to be a positive yes. But it’s reassuring to hear that their music has a real swagger that befits a group of five confident young men. It may be an album deeply rooted in the tradition, the songs and arrangements are very traditional but it feels fresh and full of energy. Much of this is due to the crisp recording and production of Stu Hanna (Megson) who has created a sound that is full of rhythm from the assembled instrumentation of guitar, fiddle, melodeon and bass.
While the instrumentation recording is crisp and detailed, the overall sound is dominated by Jim Causley’s deep, rich vocals.
The song selection is an interesting mix of some well known pieces and some that many will not have heard in the past; highlights include a great version of ‘The Saucy Sailor’, a wonderful piece of social history in ‘Cropper Lads’, and the blood thirsty Elizabethan song ‘Jolly Broom Man’.
The whole package is beautifully put together, with commentary notes on each track and a great booklet with the CD; ‘The Awkward Recruit’ is a modern and exuberant exploration of traditional English folk song, and an album that backs up and justifies the initial ‘buzz’ about this young group.