Duncan McFarlane & the Duncan McFarlane Band 

 

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'Woodshed Boys'
DUNXMUSIC DUNXCD016

Our debut studio album recorded in Pravda studios, Leeds
£10

 

Scroll down for reviews & track listings etc

1. Bring 'Em Down
2. Can't Go There
sample
3. Dee Jig
4. Woodshed Boys
5. Canadee-I-O
6. Benjamin Bowmaneer
7. Twohey Step
8. Oh Dear Me/Our Own Hands
9. Jug of This
10. Maria's Gone/Sir John Cope
11. Jigalo
12. Goodnight


This CD has received airplay on the BBC and local stations here in the UK, airplay overseas - USA, Canada, Italy etc - and had grand reviews in umpteen folk journals... 'Dirty Linen' ,'fRoots' etc - see below


Drums - Nick Pepper; Electric guitar - Geoff Taylor
Bass guitar - Tony Rogerson; Fiddle and vocals - Anne Brivonese
Melodeon and vocals - Steve Fairholme
Acoustic guitar, cittern and vocals - Duncan McFarlane
And our guests: Flute and vocals - Maggie Boyle
Vocals - Alistair Russell & Alistair Hulett

Scroll down for reviews

 

Reviews - The DMcF Band (electric) - 'Woodshed Boys' CD

Folk On Tap - Issue #101
Review of The Duncan McFarlane Band CD ‘Woodshed Boys’

This reviewer’s ear certainly perked up listening to the opening track on this, the debut album from the Duncan McFarlane Band.
Ostensibly a sea shanty ‘Bring ‘em Down’ is given an unfamiliar, exciting electric incarnation.
This is followed by an excellent Duncan McFarlane composition ‘Can’t Go There’ with its intelligent knowing lyrics which, despite these days of
political correctness, will still produce nods of recognition and agreement. I was hooked and I still had to listen to the band’s magnum opus,
‘Woodshed Boys’, a classic folk-rock anthem explaining how several of the traditional singers in days of old had to resort to singing in their
woodsheds supposedly due to their wives lack of enthusiasm for that ‘nasty folk music’ – Great stuff!
They are a six-piece band with fiddle and melodeon propping up the usual rock band paraphernalia and I would wholeheartedly recommend
them to anyone who either has a love of that much-derided genre, ‘folk-rock’, or merely feels like dipping their toes in the water for the first time.
That the band has no agent, no management, nor a record deal astounds me but if there’s justice in this world
they could well have by now.
Phil Hugill

Dirty Linen - The USA’s magazine of folk and world music (Issue #113)
The world can always use more good English folk-rock, and the Duncan McFarlane Band
from West Yorkshire is off to a promising start on its inaugural recording, Woodshed Boys.
This is loud, fast music, based on the rhythms of English country dance music and reminiscent
of some incarnations of the Albion Band with sharp-edged electric guitar leads, electric fiddle, and gutsy, gritty singing.
The power chords in the traditional nautical tale ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ crash like surf on rocks,
and there’s a strong rocking arrangement of Nic Jones’ version of ‘Canadee-i-o’, plus potent
instrumental sets like the ‘Twohey Step’ with duelling electric guitar and fiddle as leads.

Shreds & Patches (Issue 31) Folk Arts Magazine for in & around Shropshire
Review of ‘Woodshed Boys’ CD – The Duncan McFarlane Band

This is my first encounter with Leeds-based Mr McFarlane and his band, and they’re not bad at all.
What we have here is essentially what used to be called folk-rock, based around vocals, guitars, drums, bass,
fiddle and melodeon with a distinctive English feel to it, with Maggie Boyle, Alistair Hulett and Alistair Russell guesting.
The music is a mix of traditional songs and tunes and some self-penned items.
The traditional material is by and large fairly well known (e.g. Benjamin Bowmaneer, Canadee-i-o)
though the McFarlane songs are new to me at least. Some sit well with the traditional material,
others perhaps a bit less so but there isn’t a duff track among them.
As well as the electric band represented here they also work as an acoustic outfit.
Previous CDs have been either Duncan McFarlane solo or in their acoustic incarnation
– this is the first CD outing for the electric band.
There’s no distribution agreement as yet (which is a bit surprising) but CDs are available from them direct.
They’ve done some festivals over the last year or so, including the club tent at Cambridge in 2003.
According to his website Mr McFarlane’s original background was playing in pub-rock bands (since 1977)
while he maintained a keen interest in folk music. It sounds like he served his apprenticeship very well
if this CD is anything to go by. The performances are good and enthusiastic, the arrangements are
sympathetic to the material and work very well – and the band hangs together like clockwork.
They tip their hats to a wide range of influences but are in no way copyists and unlike some bands
trying to mix traditional material and rock they lack pretension and mannerisms.
Essentially this is solid, energetic English electric folk, full of pumping riffs and loads of energy.
I’ve found this CD has grown on me more and more as I’ve repeatedly listened to it.
It’s nice to find a folk-rock band that understands both folk and rock and knows how to draw on one
without diluting the other. Never mind ‘’Celtic Rock’’, here’s what the mostly English can do. Play it loud.
Tim Willetts

FolkWords
PASSION BY THE BUCKETLOAD

Occasionally, you’re lucky enough to hear music played with enthusiasm, the Duncan McFarlane Band don’t stop at enthusiasm,
they go way past - they play with passion, and provide it by the bucket-load.
If you don’t believe me just listen to ‘The Woodshed Boys’, this deserves to become an English folk-rock anthem (if it doesn’t I for one want to know why).
Then tune in to ‘Can’t Go There’, which sounds autobiographical (though perhaps it’s about someone else).
Both of these songs are what English folk-rock deserves to be - combining a keen understanding of tradition welded to cutting-edge music.
The lyrics are acid-sharp, delivered with searing vocals, reinforced with ripping electric guitar, pinpoint electric fiddle, sweeping melodeon and seriously tight drumming (and admit it - drumming so often lets down a band).
And understand this – the Duncan McFarlane Band doesn’t roll out the same old ‘same-old’ – this is folk-rock with bite. It demands attention.
Ignore it and you’ll feel its teeth. Is it worth a trip to the next gig? You bet it is – I’m going.
Tim Carroll - FolkWords

Two reviews appeared in the Summer 04 Edition of West Yorkshire’s Tykes News! – both use the word ‘wistful’!
The first…..
‘Woodshed Boys’ - The Duncan McFarlane Band - DunxCD0016

An air of confidence sizzles around this studio recording from the Duncan McFarlane Band.
The band members know they can do it, and here they are showing us just how well.
The conventions of good exciting Folk-Rock are all here – soaring electric guitar, uplifting fiddle,
strong pulsating bass & drums, with the addition of purring melodeon.
This is a fine framework for Duncan’s voice and guitar, assured and compelling as they always are.
To this mix is added the spice of some guest vocals from Alistair Hulett, Alistair Russell and Maggie Boyle.
Most of the tracks are written or arranged by Duncan himself.
The title track ‘Woodshed Boys’, with its jaunty chorus, apparently sprang out of the concept of a
boy band fronted by Harry Cox and Walter Pardon (Pause for boggle).
All the tracks are worthy of note, but one favourite already is the delightful version
of ‘Canadee-I-O’, a fitting tribute to Nic Jones, with Alistair Hulett sharing the vocals.
The rueful and humorous ‘Can’t Go there’ has a suggestion of autobiography about it
that makes you want to know more. ‘Jigalo’ is a DMcF Band standard which dates back to 1977,
maybe explains the whiff of punk that comes off it – pogo anyone?
A special mention needs to be made of the closing track ‘Goodnight’, a gentle song of parting,
Maggie Boyle and Duncan blending their voices and her flute adding a wistful touch.
If you’re a Folk-Rock fan, this CD should be in your collection.
Stick it in your CD player and thrash around on air guitar wishing you were Geoff Taylor. Who wouldn’t?
Penny Heaton

The second….
‘Woodshed Boys’ - The Duncan McFarlane Band - DunxCD0016

FOLK ROCK LIVES. RUN TO THE HILLS! Yes, Iron Maidenhead a.k.a. The Duncan McFarlane Band have
finally released their debut studio album and it’s a corker.
If you’ve seen this combo live, you’ll know what an explosive and exciting proposition they are.
They are like a Venn diagram. In the left hand circle, you have the rhythm section. Tony Rogerson (bass),
Nick Pepper (drums) and lead guitarist Geoff Taylor, who provide the oomph (and an almighty oomph it is!),
and in the other there’s Duncan himself (acoustic guitar, cittern), fiddler Anne Brivonese
and melodeon player extraordinaire, Steve Fairholme, who supply a full on folk dance assault.
In the middle, where the two styles collide you have an irresistible melange of rockin’ folk music.
Duncan is a fine songwriter. Just listen to ‘Can’t Go There’ or the title track for proof,
and he also excels with tunes – ‘Twohey Step’, ‘Dee Jig’ – always generously allowing the band to flex their artistic muscles.
And I love the way that, in the middle of a song, Duncan will bellow, ‘Here we go’ and the band explode into a jig or a reel.
It’s enough to make even the most traditional beardy punch the air in exhilaration.
Talking of traditional, the trad arr’s herein are, if you pardon the pun, electrifying.
I couldn’t imagine any one playing ‘Canadee-I-O’ without making me think wistfully of Nic Jones,
but the Dunx Band have made it their own.
I could go on (and frequently do!), but I’ll end with a tip – clear some space in your living room
because a soon as this album starts to play, you’ll want to dance. Mosh or Morris? It’s your call!
Wayne Stote 

The Duncan McFarlane Band - Woodshed Boys (Dunx Music)
 From  'Netrythmns' Web Magazine 

 Hey, who said folk-rock is dead? Fair dos, the trusty pioneers of that  doughty brand-name have continued to serve
us well over the past three  decades, but arguably it's mostly fallen to outfits like Oysterband, Little  Johnny England
and Blue Horses to bring back the guts and reassert and  reinvent the true spirit of folk-rock.
And to that illustrious list must now  be added the Duncan McFarlane Band. Definitely!
Singer-guitarist-songwriter Duncan, based in Leeds, has spent  the past three or four years building an increasing
reputation, not only for  his spirited and highly personal reinterpretations of traditional folk  material,
but also for his by now extensive corpus of self-penned songs,
 many of which take a traditional-style approach to contemporary matters.
(At  this point those interested must also check out Duncan's excellent solo CD  Bed Of Straw
for further insight into his talents in that direction.)
Latterly, though, Duncan's been adding another string to the bows in his armoury (and scoring another bullseye!)
by leading a fully-fledged band. Initially just for fun, it must be admitted, but the plain truth is that the impact and
good-time vibe the band's early gigs generated was so brilliant that the shelf-life of the original idea was gleefully
given an open-ended extension.
There was a well-received warts-and-all live EP from the electric band, which was followed last autumn by a full-length
live album from the band's acoustic incarnation, by which time the lineup had finally crystallised into the very six-piece
that you hear on Woodshed Boys, the band's first (and  long-awaited, I tell you!) studio effort. And hell, superb it is too.
What you get is a mighty sound from a mightily together band (their enviable  tightness born of solid rehearsal and hard gigging),
whereby all those tired  clichés of folk-rock that you know (and hate?) are tossed back into the melting-pot
and all the elements are cooked up afresh (and unpretentiously) into a boldly appetising menu.
Any ostensibly familiar musical gestures are invested, in Duncan's creative band arrangements, with a thriving, pulsating
new life, while riffs are shamelessly built and celebrated. Each band member plays his/her part with both a true feel for
the idiom and a good-time  enthusiasm and commitment that's largely missing in yer average plodding  folk-rock outfit.
The band sound is built upwards and outwards from a finely detailed, often quite intricately picked acoustic guitar bedrock
from Duncan  himself, with bass (Tony Rogerson) and drums (Nick Pepper) supporting and enhancing in just the right proportions,
on top of which soars some absolutely wondrous, stratospheric yet uncommonly sensitively judged prog-style electric-guitar (Geoff Taylor)
and swooping, driving fiddle (Anne  Brivonese), all bolstered by some solid ancillary melody support from a swirling melodeon (Steve Fairholme).
 Duncan's choice of material is canny - it includes some of his own ingenious and strongly individual treatments of relatively familiar
traditional songs (best of these is Canadee-I-O - Duncan's sparkling, very different take looks destined to become a folk-rock classic),
alongside some stomping trad-influenced instrumentals and "tunettes" and - very probably best of all
 - a smallish handful of Duncan's own compositions which range from the CD's title track (on which Duncan wears his trad-heart proudly on his sleeve)
to  the rousing, insidiously catchy Can't Go There (but we all have been!) and a pleasingly hopeful parting-song (Goodnight).
The latter provides but one of the key moments of repose amidst the cut and thrust, along with Anne's unaccompanied rendition of
Mary Brooksbank's Jute Mill Song which serves to introduce Duncan's glorious anthemic epic Our Own Hands (now there's another standout track!).
And I've not yet mentioned the support cast of guest vocalists, which includes Maggie Boyle and "the two Alis" (Messrs. Russell and Hulett,
the last-named of whom turns in a great alternating-lead vocal on Canadee too, by the by). A special word of praise, too, for the exceptional
engineering and production skills of Matt Peel, whose balance allows every detail of instrumental and vocal parts to come through clearly
 though the effect is never clinical, allowing the texture to breathe yet retaining the gutsy impact of the hard rockin' drive for which the band
is already renowned on the live circuit.
Finally, you don't need to be concerned that a few of the selections have already appeared on Dunc's previous recordings - Woodshed Boys
contains the definitive, vital band readings and should be the one to break Duncan and his band through
into the bigger time. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this is the future of folk-rock.
Mark me words - this is a future which respects the past and takes it beyond the present, propelled at warp-factor ten!

Duncan McFarlane Band  ‘Woodshed Boys’ - Album Review by Andy Aitchison on ‘Leeds Music Scene’ website
After having had the pleasure of catching this band live several times I had very high expectations of this album.
Recorded at Pravda Studios in Headingley this is essentially their first fully realised studio album.
With the term ‘folk rock’ a much abused and often underrated term they have delivered a storming, fluid, and dynamic record
which captures the spirit not only of the bands recent live displays but also of the way they can take a relatively standard band
format of guitar, fiddle, bass and drums and blend them with the finest parts of the folk genre with Duncan adding his own idiosyncratic
observations on the world, tremendous stuff.
The opener ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ kicks off with a rolling cittern riff before powering into a belter of a tune, well arranged and performed
with zest, sets you up nicely for the rest of the album.
The musical and vocal interplay between Duncan, Anne, Geoff, Steve, Tony and Nick is most evident on tracks such as ‘The Woodshed Boys’
a tale which tells the sorrowful story of folk legends such as Harry Cox and Walter Pardon being banished to their sheds in order to indulge
themselves in that there ‘folk singing’! With tumbling drums and on the button bass this song surfs along complete with Hammond-like swirls
from Steve Fairholme’s melodeon. Geoff Taylor’s liquid 70’s influenced guitar dominates the trad tune ‘Canadee-I-O’ arranged by Duncan,
a song which he respectfully doffs his cap towards the transcendental Nic Jones. ‘Benjamin Bowmaneer’ remains a great tune
and for me blows the dust off older versions I’ve heard of this song.
Set pieces such as ‘Jigalo date from as far back as 1977 and were originally played by Duncan and Geoff in their old band ‘Luigi Ana Da Boys’
with the late great John Peel (RIP) giving a spin back in the day.
Duncan’s song writing continues to develop throughout the record with increasing evidence of his knack of taking the listener on a journey
introducing themes and characters as they venture along, great stuff. The production remains crisp and focused, and as far as I’m aware the
rhythm section recorded live to maintain the groove and dynamics of a live show.
Some themes run through the album, drinking songs, songs of alienation, songs of love, and songs of hope.
Guests are given the freedom and scope to stamp themselves on the record with folk alumni Alistair Hulett, Maggie Boyle and
Alistair Russell contributing some fine vocal and flute pieces.
The record moves further away from Duncan’s solo performances with increased imaginative arrangements and huge blustering
rock choruses and play outs. The closer ‘Goodnight’ demonstrates a gentler, slightly more pastoral element to the album,
with Duncan and Maggie’s voices blending perfectly with band and friends joining in at the end for a good old sing song. Wonderful!
If you haven’t seen or heard this band do it now, catch them live, buy a live album from them, buy this album!
Celebratory music, spiritually uplifting stuff, a belter!

Andy Aitchison

Review from fRoots, June 04 issue
The Duncan McFarlane Band "Woodshed Boys" (Dunx Music CD016)

Full-throated folk rock with as much attack as the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Could have done with a bit less throttle at times, but at least  McFarlane and crew are eager
and put some determination into proceedings. A loud party animal and totally unashamed.

'Woodshed Boys' - Yorkshire Evening Post, Sat 13th March 04
Although it's exciting that there are musicians out there striving to write the next classic song,
it's also good from time to time to hear people finding new angles on traditional tunes.
Leeds-based outfit The Duncan McFarlane Band are doing just that with an album of robust folk-rock
that's roughly half traditional Celtic fare and half new compositions.
McFarlane's career tells you one thing straight away - he loves making music.
He has never tired of cranking up the amp and singing a song.
The Woodshed Boys is full of reels, jigs and stout songs with melodramatic electric guitar flourishes.
It's well-executed and infectiously lively.

 

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