Duncan McFarlane & the Duncan McFarlane Band   
Home News Gigs CDs & Samples Reviews Songs Biog Links Contact

     
 

'Bed of Straw'
Duncan's debut solo CD - DUNXMUSIC DUNXCD001
10

 

1. Bed of Straw
2. Anderson's Coast
3. Famous Floating "B"
4. Boys of Bedlam  
sample
5. Say You'll Never
6. Begging Song
7. The Americans have Stolen
8. The Devil & the Feathery Wife 
sample
9. Talking With My Father
10. The Snow It Melts the Soonest
11. Barrack Street
12. For the Ladies
13. Three Drunken Maidens
14. K1 Sample


This CD was made singing and playing "live" in front
of three microphones, one for voice, and two for guitar.
Each song was recorded in a single "take".
It is an excellent representation of Duncan's club performance.
All songs arranged and produced by Duncan McFarlane
Recorded, mastered and edited by Alistair Russell
at Glade Recording Studios, Leeds.
Cover photograph by Pamela McFarlane Cover design by Bryan Ledgard
 

 
 
Reviews of this album below.....

'Freefolk' (on-line folk magazine) Bed Of Straw CD review
Here you will find classy English Folk Guitar, eminently listenable vocals and great songs, both traditional and contemporary .
The opening track, Bed of Straw, was written by McFarlane and is destined to become a classic.
On many of the pieces his guitar is tuned to an open chord of C modal, a favourite of Nic Jones.
The recordings are totally honest. Book this gentleman for your club and this is what you will hear..
You will not have to imagine how he will sound without studio tricks and session men - there are none.
The engineer was Alistair Russell, for fifteen years a mainstay of the Battlefield Band.
McFarlane, a resident of Leeds, is a born again folkie, having last performed in a folk club in 1972. All those lost years! Welcome back.
Mike Raven

DIRTY LINEN (USA Folk Magazine) Apr/May 03 Issue #105 - Bed of Straw CD review

Duncan McFarlane is an English singer/guitarist whose honest, focused sound recalls people like Nic Jones and Pete Morton.
His debut CD, Bed of Straw (Dunx Music DUNCCD001 (2002), is a solo voice-and-guitar recording that includes traditional songs
- like the much-covered "Boys of Bedlam" and "Three Drunken Maidens" - and the less familiar
"The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away", the lament of the one left behind. McFarlane also shows a flair for writing tradition-styled originals, l
ike the title track, which recounts the unfortunate end of a pair of conscripts in McFarlane's home city of Leeds, and "Famous Floating B", a rakish sailor's tale
that makes a voyage transporting female convicts to Australia sound like a party cruise. McFarlane shows promise as both a interpreter
and a writer in the English song tradition.

f
Roots - issue 227 May '02, Bed of Straw CD review
Duncan's a punchy guitarist in the 'English folk' style and offers a set about equally split between his own songs, other people's and traditional. 
While he pulls off the interesting feat of updating Martin Carthy's update of Begging Song - the traditional process in action or what?
- his version of Barrack Street sticks very close to Nic Jones's, though nothing could ever be quite like that one as far as I'm concerned.
He follows a creditable Anderson's Coast with his own jaunty take on transportation, Famous Floating 'B' .
If that song shows a good way with words, McFarlane's storytelling, tune-writing and performance really come together on the title track. 
This was inspired by two stone skulls half way up a stable wall in Leeds, that are reputed to commemorate two conscripts who succumbed
to a hazard of military life that never would have occurred to most of us. This costs 13 inc p&p and is well worth checking out.
Nick Beale - fRoots

Stirrings - CD review - Raymond Greenoaken, Editor - South Yorks. Folk Magazine, Dec ’01 – Feb ’02 issue
Duncan McFarlane – Bed of Straw – Dunx Music – DUNXCD001  

''Time for a bit of fancy footwork here. 
Readers might recall that I got all sniffy in last issue’s Reviews section about artists who are locked in a 1970’s time warp.
In mitigation, I should have pointed out that, in many ways, the 70’s were a genuine golden age. 
Forget for a moment all that lumbering, over-elaborate folk rockery and the massed battalions of ‘‘snot-bum-and-willy’’ folk comedians;
the truth is that the decade was the defining period stylistically for English trad music, particularly in the matter of solo performance. 
It was the time that, thanks to the efforts of Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, Tony Rose and others, that a mode of performance
emerged that was bang up to date yet completely faithful to the genius of the tradition. And in the blizzard of eclecticism that’s currently
blowing through the folk scene, those ‘70’s benchmarks are in some danger of being lost to sight.
Which is why, when I say that the opening bars of Duncan McFarlane’s debut CD whisked me back to that unjustly-traduced decade
and held me there till the last, I mean it as a compliment. 
Although, to judge by the biog on his website, Leeds-based Duncan was bashing out buzz-saw riffs on a Telecaster in those days,
he’s absorbed the best practice of Carthy and Jones in particular in his playing and singing. 
His guitar work is fluid and melodic on the more reflective material, and brusquely percussive on the up-tempo stuff.
And sometimes it’s both at once; but at all times it’s perfectly judged never – the besetting problem with today’s guitar aces – gratuitously flash.
Meantime, his vocal phrasing plays subtly off the guitar in the approved Carthy-Jones fashion.
Nor is he afraid to advertise his influences: included here are two songs impregnated with the Carthy watermark (Begging Song and
The Devil And The Feathery Wife) and another (Barrack Street) bearing the indelible Jones thumbprint. He makes them his own. 
Duncan can also turn a good trad-style song himself, to judge by the title track and by The Famous Floating B,
a curious and naughtily un-PC tale of a floating bordello bound for Van Dieman’s Land.  Another original composition,
Say You’ll Never, hints at his earlier life as a popster; featuring a Brill Building-by-numbers lyric, it could have been nicked from a
Dusty Springfield b-side, but nevertheless sits comfortably enough between Boys of Bedlam and The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away.
Bed of Straw is a quiet delight, a compendium of unfashionable but enduring virtues. It’s living proof, in this sample-swamped age,
that all you need are a voice and six steel strings.''
Raymond Greenoaken

Trad Music Maker - CD Review from  magazine – Nov issue ‘01- Duncan McFarlane - Bed of Straw - Dunx Music - DUNXCD.001
’This is an admirably honest and unpretentious CD from singer, songwriter and guitarist Duncan,
who's rapidly (and deservedly) making a name for himself on the folk club circuit in Yorkshire and beyond. 
Sympathetically produced and with typical restraint by Alistair Russell, it showcases Duncan's considerable talents both as
a guitarist and songwriter on a well-programmed collection of songs (and one appealing self-penned instrumental piece).
Stylistically, Duncan's guitar technique falls very much within the Carthy/Nic Jones school, with a strong rhythmic impetus
that's infectious in the extreme, and he has all the deftness of co-ordination required to bring it off.
His singing has real character too, though he'd readily admit it isn't as accomplished as his playing (but remember that's a hard act to follow!).
His own songs, which comprise four out of the fourteen tracks, are impressive indeed: both the title track and Famous Floating B both have
a distinct traditional influence and are particularly memorable among the livelier tracks, while For the Ladies and Say you'll never are more
contemplative in the manner of contemporary singer-songwriter and every bit as successful.
Aside from fetching performances of John Warner's Anderson's Coast and Dougie MacLean's Talking With My Father, the rest of the material is trad arr,
often with distinct shades of Herr Carthy in Duncan's delivery (as in The Devil & The Feathery Wife) - not necessarily a bad thing of course!
The recording is excellently managed, giving all the immediacy and presence of a live performance without the ambient distractions,
and you can easily forgive any minor vocal stumbles or lapses in intonation (as you would in the live gig situation)
The only tiny caveat is that maybe the 'galloping guitar' arrangement is used for one track too many, but the CD's sensible sequencing helps
overcome any potential for boredom. Oh, and a word of praise for the creative cover design and photography and the interesting background
notes to the title track, making this a very attractive package all told.’

 

Email: dmcfmusic@gmail