Rogues & Villains'
Our latest studio album recorded in Leeds, 2007
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1. Botany Bay
2. Rakish Young Fellow
3. Band O’ Shearers
4. Bed of Straw
6. Anna Morrison/Karine/Atholl
7. Lord Franklin
8. The Lowlands of
10. Mary Read
11. Rawfold’s Mill
12. Cuckoo’s Nest/Big
13. a-Begging I Will Go
14. Robin Hood’s Bay/Mrs
Total running time approx 72 mins
A mix of Trad Arr and original compositions in the Traditional
Distribution via www.duncanmcfarlane.co.uk
& also at www.nicjones.net in association with Mollie Music
Drums - Nick
Electric guitar, cittern & mandolin - Geoff Taylor
Bass guitar - Tony Rogerson
Fiddle and vocals - Anne Brivonese
Melodeon and vocals - Steve Fairholme
Acoustic, bass & electric guitars, cittern, mandolin & vocals -
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REVIEWS OF THIS ALBUM by
Colin Randall; Rock 'n'
website; fRoots; Folkwords website;
RootsMusic website; Dirty Linen (USA) ................................ (just scroll down)
album made it into top reviewer Colin Randall's Top Ten Albums of
Look here at the list.....
www.salutlive top ten list
and for his actual review, here....
Randall spent nearly 28 years working for the Telegraph and is an
admired critic and reviewer.
just posted his verdict on Dunc's splendid album: Congratulations
a verdict like that from Colin Randall is high praise indeed'.
Sir Robert Peel – Longdogs Forum
'One of our
albums of the year!' - www.rootsmusic.co.uk
A 'Five Star' review from.......Rock 'n' Reel....
Mar/Apr 08 issue -
McFARLANE BAND -
All Rogues &
Wearing their musical influence like a badge of pride, The Duncan
McFarlane Band proudly proclaim on the back cover of their second album,
All Rogues & Villains,
“We class our music as Folk-Rock”. The unreconstructed six-piece from
Yorkshire make no bones about or excuses
for their desire to produce memorable, attractive and danceable
folk-fuelled rock that offers a knowing nod to the 70s masters.
Consequently traces of Horslips, Fairport, Jack The Lad, Steeleye and
the classic folk-rock sound of punchy bass lines and solid, driving
a quality of delivery, vocal authority, and some stunning lead riffs,
plus neat accordion and fiddle interplay.
Their readings of ‘Botany
Bay’, ‘Rakish Young Fellow’, ‘Band O’Shearers’, ‘Lord Franklin’,
‘Lowlands Of Holland’ and ‘A-Begging I Will Go’
provide a real master class in just how to do the folk-rock thing right,
while their own songs and tunes, four of each,
sit comfortably amongst the more familiar folk-rock fare.
Caseman - Rock 'n' Reel
English Folk Dance &
Publication ‘EDS’ - Spring 2008,
‘All Rogues & Villains’ - The Duncan McFarlane
This is a band that has taken the strong lyricism of traditional music
and has really banged it into rock with style and grace.
Firm and rhythmic drumming, sharp and perceptive fiddling and a keen
sense of arrangement throws this music back at you
and screams ‘listen to me’. This, the band’s second album, finds them
sounding well rehearsed and polished and Duncan
clearly gets terrific enjoyment out of singing; not always the easiest
of emotions to pull off on a record.
It comes from clarity of words, from a strong sense of narrative and
from subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – changes of pace.
And there is a jump-up-and-down feel that makes a lot of their music
Following on from their debut The Woodshed Boys, this album
contains a similar mixture of traditional songs and tunes alongside
Duncan McFarlane originals. I especially like ‘Bed of Straw’, one
of Duncan’s own songs about recruiting – it could easily be mistaken
for a traditional song! As the sergeant presses the money into the
travellers’ hands you can ‘hear’ the smile on Duncan’s face.
The addition of Stan Rogers’ ‘North-West Passage’ chorus to
‘Lord Franklin’ is brilliant – it really shows the rocking element
of the band
at its best and makes you wonder why no-one has done it before.
Anne Brivonese’s fiddle soars and dives and weaves with Steve
Fairholme’s melodeon throughout, and she adds an extra,
slightly understated solo voice on the ‘The Lowlands of Holland’.
The drummer, Nick Pepper, has some great moments, especially on
Geoff Taylor on electric guitar and Tony Rogerson on bass provide the
steady-as-she-goes rock element.
I know the band’s live performances are a riot of enjoyment; this is a
grand replacement until you can actually get to see them.
Dave Eyre - 'EDS' Magazine
You can almost imagine Duncan McFarlane and his band dressed in 18th
century costume, wielding weapons
as they perform on their latest album “Rogues & Villains” such is the
authentic feel of the songs as they rip along!
The bass and drums of Tony Rogerson and Nick Pepper, fiddle and vocals
from Anne Brivonese,
melodeon and vocals from Steve Fairholme
and the guitars of Geoff Taylor
create a heady mix
with the inimitable Duncan McFarlane on lead vocals and guitar at the
“Botany Bay” the opening track
of the album ‘takes no prisoners’ and, like many of the other
traditional songs featured here,
benefits from Duncan’s skilful arrangement with tingling electric guitar
hooks and driving instrumental sections adding energy and passion.
That’s not to say there aren’t quieter moments on the album as Duncan’s
self penned “Mary Read” and the opening of “Band of Shearer’s”,
feature him on solo guitar with Steve Fairholme’s melodeon getting a
solo spot in “Cuckoo’s Nest”.
In the other instrumental tracks “Anna Morrison/Karine/Atholl
Highlanders” the band as a whole get opportunity to show their
as vibrant melodies are driven with rhythm and infectious fun!
In providing lead vocals to most
of the songs, with the exception of “The Lowlands of Holland” where Anne
gets a turn in a striking version,
Duncan demonstrates his gift of matching vocal style, and even accent,
perfectly to the narration of the song. In his self penned songs,
“Bed of Straw”, “Spadge”, a track lamenting the decline of the UK
sparrow population, “Rawford’s Mill” and “Mary Read”,
the lyrics and melodies are so convincingly authentic as for the songs
to be mistaken for being traditional;
Although in the trad song “A-Begging I will Go,” added lyrics that make
reference to McDonalds and Big Issue give a clever contemporary touch!
The “Rogues & Villains”
of the title include
Luddites, a sheepstealer, a lady pirateer, a rake and convicts,
with each story told convincingly with passion,
‘rocked up’ as Duncan
would say! I was instantly blown away by the robust sound
the band creates,
and if they can produce this much energy in a
recording studio then a live gig should be magic! Hope I get to catch
Janet M Roe - www.folking.com
I've now heard All Rogues & Villains - and WOW! I'm absolutely blown
away by it
- it's exactly the kind of folk-rock I love, and the sound you've got
there is terrific:
Powerful, dynamic, engaging and exciting. Strong guitar, good vocals and
a tight, driving band. Excellent selection of songs, too.
I particularly love A-Begging I Will Go and Robin Hood's Bay, which both
put a great big grin on my face.
I'm planning to feature a track in January's FolkCast, and will
certainly be recommending it to all our listeners.
Phil @ FolkCast.
fRoots - Dec 07
lots of bite, less aggression (good); more even, a balance is in
there’s still no ignoring their party mode. A hoot live, I’ll wager'
- Folkwords website review
- Duncan McFarlane Band – 'ALL ROGUES AND
Rogues & Villains’ - a tough leap for others to follow …a new CD from
the Duncan McFarlane Band
The Duncan McFarlane Band (DMcF) has raised the bar on folk rock and in
doing so has made it a tough leap for others to follow.
With their CD ‘All Rogues & Villains’ DMcF has released a definitive
piece of English folk rock. It’s great to hear these guys fulfilling
It’s also good to hear the band deliver a finely crafted performance
mixing traditional songs, incisive lyrics and talented musicianship.
The DMcF package combines Duncan’s distinctive voice, guitar and
composing skills, Geoff Taylor’s precise guitar and mandolin, and fine
fiddle work from Anne Brivonese. Add to that Steve Fairholme’s ‘on the
button’ meticulous melodeon, Nick Pepper's outstanding drumming and Tony
Rogerson’s pounding bass.
The opening tracks are vintage DMcF- a rogue and a villain every one.
‘Botany Bay’ a great narrative song, thrives on some seriously up front
melodeon. It’s followed by ‘Rakish Young Fellow’, which, with a
broadside of shattering guitars, hammering bass and ‘Yo-ho-ho’ chorus,
conjures pure piracy.
These are traditional songs given the DMcF treatment - roaring guitar
riffs, magnificent melodeon breaks and sniping fiddle, with solid drum
and bass to power through the songs. This is the DMcF that fans have
come to love.
The first Duncan-composed song on the CD, ‘Bed of Straw’ could be a tune
from 300 years ago. Indeed, the song describes the unfortunate death of
two army conscripts in the 1800’s, but that’s Duncan’s skill - taking
tradition and bringing up-to-date. ‘Spadge’ is another great composition
bemoaning the decline of house sparrows in our gardens. I’ve always
known them as ‘spadgers’ - who cares? It’s a damn fine song with biting
lyrics: “Old friends they were familiar, so close to everyone. The
widespread once abundant, it seems their time has come.” And if you can
stay still during ‘Anna Morrison/Karine/Atholl Highlanders’
either dead-drunk or already dead.
‘All Rogues & Villains’ strikes me as a ‘CD of two halves’ (to
paraphrase some sporting pundit or other) but that’s what it is. From
the mid-point there’s a
definite step change and it’s a good one too, with a selection of songs
telling the stories of Franklin, Mary Read and the Luddite Riots.
Do we need another version of ‘Lord Franklin’ in the folk rock style? If
it's this one yes we do. This is the best rendition I’ve listened to for
a long time,
and I’ve heard a few. It mixes soulful fiddle and melodeon with a
stunning guitar break that few would have the courage to include.
Then Anne gets a chance to show off her voice and a great voice it is
too, with lead vocals on ‘The Lowlands of Holland’.
Still in the pirate theme (a clear DM passion going here) ‘Mary Read’ is
another finely written DMcF song and sensitively recounts
the story of an 18th century female pirate. ‘Rawfold’s Mill’ has a sharp
edge recalling Luddite’s attacking a shearing machine,
the resulting death and destruction – and treats you to more classic
‘All Rogues & Villains’ closes with ‘A-Begging I Will Go‘ - yet another
rewrite of a first-rate traditional song and ‘Robin Hood’s Bay’ a
celebrated drinking song.
And judging by the crowd participation at the end a drunken time was had
DMcF is what English folk-rock deserves to be, combining a keen
understanding of tradition welded to cutting-edge rock.
And that’s what’s best about DMcF songs - the depth of tradition driven
by modern folk rock treatments.
Of course, some will criticise what they see as ‘messing with tradition’
– well that’s what thousands of folk singers have done for the last few
That’s the point of an oral tradition. Folk rock is just another
I’ve said before that DMcF deliver folk rock with bite.
There isn’t any part of this CD that doesn’t show its teeth – sometimes
it’s a smile, sometimes it’s a snap – whichever, this is a masterpiece
of the genre.
Tim Carroll – FolkWords - www.folkwords.com
Netrhythms website review - Duncan McFarlane Band – 'ALL ROGUES AND
VILLAINS' - Dunx Music CD020
Cripes! I could just cop out and say “another stonking set from Dunc and
his merry chums”… But I’m biased of course, for I’m one of the legion of
who’ve been avidly following the ongoing strength-to-strength
development of the DMcF (Electric) Band as a vital, must-see
and the progression of their repertoire as honed through
the band’s commitment to seemingly innumerable live performances – for
if no other, All Rogues And Villains is one of those
records for which the phrase “long-awaited” must surely have been
The band’s previous studio offering, 2004’s Woodshed Boys, was great,
but whilst it contained some really good performances and material
fair stormed along in the process it didn’t always quite recapture the
band’s essential onstage presence; so this time round Duncan and his
by initially recording this new album live in the studio,
brought back the frisson of the “feel of the gig”.
But this new CD really does benefit from the “best of both worlds” in
that full advantage has also been taken of the studio environment to
those details or lines (instrumental or vocal) which
inevitably get buried in any live performance environment, while also
enabling some creative, intelligent
– and often quite subtle –
experiments with texture; credit to engineer Matt, who has furnished
this latest recording with an impressive depth of focus.
Individual instrumental lines are well defined, drawing attention all
the more easily to instances where the pairing and/or sounding-together
of different instruments
(eg electric guitar and fiddle, fiddle and melodeon) form a strong and
empathic unison melody line.
The sound-picture is at the same time widescreen and richly detailed
(rather like viewing a distant shore through a decent wide-angle
a combination stressing the gutsy unity of the band while helping to
highlight the excellence of the individual band members’ contributions.
Duncan’s nominally the band’s figurehead, leading with an iron sporran
(!), but he’s quick to give his fellow band-members plenty of chances to
for instance, fiddle player Anne Brivonese takes the lead vocal
role superbly on Lowlands Of Holland, and melodeonist Steve Fairholme
so much more than a mere jobbing squeezer by leading off the
Cuckoo’s Nest tune-set and fair managing to upstage the rest of the band
in the process!
Other constant delights include Geoff Taylor’s incandescent electric
guitar, either resplendent in full prog-mode or satisfyingly twangy;
majestic sweep of Anne’s sweet-but-strong fiddle lines; Tony Rogerson’s
splendidly versatile bass work (alternately niftily melodic and chunky,
solid-state); Duncan’s own firm-but-gloriously-hyperactive
acoustic-guitar bedrock; and Nick Pepper’s sparky drumming (not a hint
of ploddery, and on the jauntier numbers
a sprightly cross between
ceilidh-band and driving rock-band). Oh, and the
ever-more-confidently-managed backing-vocal teamwork.
And Dunc’s own singing too has taken a leap forward in stature even
since Woodshed Boys, now altogether tougher, grittier and having gained
in expressive power (note too his well authentic Scots delivery for Band
O’ Shearers!). Another development is Dunc’s increasing tendency to
allow the last line of (say) a stanza or verse to lag behind the beat
and over beyond the end bar-line; this can be disconcerting on first
acquaintance, but you soon get used to it – and in any case, by avoiding
an obvious, regimented and too-perfect delivery, this is good ’cos it
enhances the off-the-cuff, as-live feel of the performances.
for the material performed on this well-stocked disc (70-minute, and not
one too long – no filler, all killer!), it’s made up of four Dunc-penned
(one’s a revisit of his earliest “hit”, Bed Of Straw), two rollicking
instrumental sets and the remainder trad-arr and trad-added-to
(imaginatively so, as opposed to
bog-standard rocked-up!) songs. The import of the lyrics of Dunc’s own
Spadge and Rawfold’s Mill (sometimes lost in live performance) benefits
from the greater clarity of diction that a studio recording affords.
And other particular successes? A supremely thoughtful take on Lord
Franklin, which ingeniously yet naturally builds in the chorus of Stan
Rogers’ North West Passage; a mighty rendition of Rakish Young Fellow;
and a fair share of neck-prickling moments, like the “orchestrated”
interpolation midway through Botany Bay
(I don’t know quite what’s goin’ on there, but it sure sounds
and the deeply joyous “Anna Goes To Atholl” tune medley that prompts an
immediate repeat play just like Dirty Linen or Flatback Caper did the
first time you played through Fairport’s Full House (remember?)!
are lots of really neat extra touches too (like the mandolin on Cuckoo’s
Nest), while additionally those all-important little ad-hoc “heys”,
“yeps” and “yeuches” have been left in the mix, and the “pub gig” feel
of the insidiously catchy singalong finale Robin Hood’s Bay also extends
into the disc’s run-out groove with a slice of après-gig
roll-down-frivolity (recorded on location at “Letsbe Avenue” at
Rogues And Villains shares with the best folk-rock that fine balance of
being at once rewarding to listen to, good to bop around to and fun to
(this comes straight from Duncan’s liner-note: “Making music is our
hobby and our passion. Long may we love what we do”).
Absolutely! – for
Duncan and his band sure keep the feel-good factor going in their
robust, dynamic and enthusiastic embodiment of “The Living Tradition”
(living = vital, alive and relevant). It’s a real-live smiley smile from
the he-rogues and villains! This is definitely Duncan’s best CD yet, and
one of which
he’s every right to be fiercely proud – and so too should
every member of his doughty band, without whom Duncan’s vision could
never be realised.
this is more than a vision: you could say it’s the future of folk-rock
as informed equally by the past and the present.
This came by email....
Happy New Year -
Just a quick note to let you know that we have included your album
"All Rogues and Villains" in our albums of 2007!
please see at
www.rootsmusic.co.uk Best regards - Rootsmusic
Their report makes a couple of slip-ups though (we
feel). Part of it reads…..
'Duncan McFarlane plays English Folk Rock, traditional and originals.
Electric guitar riffs are tastefully played by Anne Brivonese and Geoff
Taylor adding colour and excitement to intricate folk arrangements.
Recorded live, the songs have a raw energy giving you a glimpse of what
a rollicking good live band they are.
Note from the band:
Erm, we believe they edited a slightly more 'full' write-up, chopping it
down to fit the space available.
Anne duals & duets with Geoff throughout on her electric fiddle, not on
We might suggest the original wording may have been.....Electric
fiddle & guitar riffs are tastefully played by Anne Brivonese and Geoff
Also, whilst the backing tracks were all recorded 'live takes' in the
studio, as was 'Mary Read' (almost entirely),
a great deal of time was spent doing overdubs of the lead parts and a
few other bits & pieces where needed.
Our aim was to capture our 'live' feel rather than the often more
stilted 'studio' versions that can often arise
- I guess from their assessment, we did a fine job of just that!
We thought the album sleeve notes made that point clear, so perhaps
their 'edit' left out the word 'mostly'...ie...
Mostly recorded live....
USA’s folk magazine ‘Dirty Linen’ Feb 08
has us as the first-up review on their ‘Reel
‘Small Label British & Celtic Music’ by Tom Nelligan
‘Starting of this month with something to wake you from the winter
doldrums, the Duncan McFarlane Band performs the
sort of timeless English folk-rock that’s all too rare these days,
‘All Rogues & Villains’ (Dunx Music 2007).
The Leeds sextet’s second studio album is a rocking collection of
traditional and original songs with a very English feel,
set to wailing electric guitars, fiddle, accordion, bass and drums.
The Transport ballad ‘Botany Bay’ is all snarly and nasty-sounding, full
of razor-sharp guitar;
and ‘The Lowlands of Holland’ sung by fiddler Anne Brivonese, crisply
updates a very old song.
The band can quiet things down too, as in its medley of the classic
@Lord Franklin’ joined with Stan Rogers ‘North West Passage’.
McFarlane is also adept at writing old-sounding songs that draw on
traditional stories, like the sailor’s lament ‘Rakish Young Fellow’,
another guitar-fuelled rocker with pulsing accordion; and ‘Bed of Straw’
a jaunty retelling of a young man’s encounter with a recruiting