Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Woods Band - S/T (Great Electric Folk Rock UK 1971)

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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

The Woods Band was an Irish folk-rock band formed in 1970 by husband and wife team Gay & Terry Woods, shortly after their departure from Steeleye Span. The band played and recorded for four years before evolving into Gay & Terry Woods. In 2001, Terry Woods formed a new band and named it The Woods Band, which performed and recorded through 2003.

The Woods Band was formed in 1970 by ex-Steeleye Span members Terry and Gay Woods. The band was formed just a few months after the couple had left Steeleye Span, shortly after the release of Steeleye's first album Hark! The Village Wait, after personal disagreements with members.

Performing under the name "Gay & Terry Woods" as well as "The Woods Band", they worked with a number of different musicians, including fiddler Joe O'Donnell. and King Crimson members Ian MacDonald and Mike Giles, amongst others. Eventually, a lineup solidified under the name The Woods Band with guitarist Ed Deane and drummer Pat Nash. Terry Woods also wanted uilleann piper Paddy Keenan for the group, but didn't get him (Keenan would go on to play with the Bothy Band). 

They begin to rehearse and perform soon after forming, releasing a self-titled album in December 1971. The record was a mix of traditional material and originals, indluding a re-recording of the track Dreams from Terry's old band Sweeny's Men. With standard rock instruments embellished by mandola, concertina, autoharp, dulcimer, bodhran, and harpsichord, the music sounded rather similar to, and held its own with, Steeleye Span's own early work, although showing a greater rock influence.

Shortly after the album's release, however, Gay & Terry joined Dr. Strangely Strange on tour, before returning to work as both The Woods Band and Gay & Terry Woods, again with a changing cast of musicians. Their record label, Greenwich Gramophone Company went out of business leaving their album out of print. The Ireland division of Polydor gave the band a single release in 1974, the A and B sides were both penned by Gay and Terry but the single failed to chart. Subsequent releases by the couple were credited to "Gay & Terry Woods".

In 2002, Terry Woods put together a new band, using The Woods Band as name. Despite the shared name, the only member of any version of the original band was himself. Like the original band, this lineup featured a mix of traditional folk instruments with contemporary rock instruments, as well as a mix of traditional and original songs. The bulk of the lead vocals were handled by singer Shane Martin, with Dubliners singer Ronnie Drew guesting on a recording of The Dublin Jack of All Trades. Gigging occasionally, the group put out a single studio album, Music From The Four Corners of Hell, in 2002, before becoming inactive. Woods has described the band as "parked... with the wheels off and the engine out."

Sleeve Notes:
Terry Woods could with some justice claim to be one of the founding fathers of electric folk in Britain. In the late sixties he was involved with two of the earliest groups from the folk world to plug in. Sweeney's Men was formed with fellow Irish musicians Andy Irvine and Johnny Moynihan and for a short time included Henry McCullough (later of the Grease Band and Wings) on guitar. Terry still recalls the consternation they caused at the 1968 Cambridge Folk Festival. The next year the idea of an electric band playing folk songs took another step forward when Terry was playing football on Hampstead Heath with Ashley Hutchings, who'd just left Fairport Convention. The result was Steeleye Span in which Terry was joined by his wife Gay and another duo, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior. That first Steeleye Span line-up lasted only a few months, long enough to cut the Hark! The Village Wait album before the Woods struck out on their own to form the Woods Band. The band appeared predominantly in Europe and recorded this one album.

They later recorded albums in the mid-seventies as Gay and Terry Woods.

Gay Woods - Vocals, Concertina, Autoharp, Dulcimer, Bodhrán
 Terry Woods - Vocals, Mandola, Concertina, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar
 Pat Nash - Drums, Vocals
 Ed Deane - Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Slide Guitar, Harpsichord

 Tony Reeves - Bass Guitar on "Everytime"
 John Ryan - Piano on "Everytime", "Noisey Johnny", "Promises"; Organ on "Lament & Jig", "As I Roved Out"
 Austin Corcoran - Acoustic guitar on "Dreams", Bass Guitar on "As I Roved Out", "Promises"

01. Noisey Johnny (02.35)
02. Dreams (04.12)
03. January Snows (04.21)
04. Lament & Jig (incl. Valencia Lament and Apples in Winter) (05.33)
05. Over the Bar (incl. Road to Athy) (03.35)
06. As I Roved Out (05.00)
07. Promises (05.17)
09. Everytime (05.39)

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