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HOME SERVICE "Wild Life" Fledg'ling FLED 3001

There's a startling volley of drums, growling electric guitar, throaty vocals and then a swaying burst of brass. Too loud to be folk, too tasteful to be rock, it must be the Home Service on the road again! In 1992 they emerged with Bill Caddick at the wheel. This recording caught them in concert at Sidmouth and the Purcell Room, and captured them remarkably clearly too. The songs are largely Bill Caddick's own, charting "the bloody march of man". Lili Marlene Walks Away and She Moves Among Men present a scene of desolation and degradation. There is brief respite from this bleak vision in Summer is A' Coming In, while Born a Dog, Died a Gentleman actually points to a happy ending. The Reaper, John Tam's Scarecrow and Battle of the Somme make up a moving war trilogy, with plaintive vocal and haunting brass. Napoleon's Grande Marche shows the band boldly striding out instrumentally. Guitar and brass interchange, piccolo and accordion float above and underneath pounding drums and bass keep everyone in step. Oh Napoleon, how far you could have gone with this band behind you! A strident Never Gonna Be A Cowboy Now also stands out, but truly there isn't a weak track here. Despite the harsh images, this is hugely enjoyable. As long as there is music like this there must be hope for a better future.

Henry Peacock

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This album was reviewed in Issue 13 of The Living Tradition magazine.