Dust Bin Mr. Fox - Join Us In Our Game
posted by April 5 at 14:14 PMon
I can do the history of Mr. Fox no better justice then to direct you to a great website here. There you’ll learn about how the band was originally put together by husband and wife Bob and Carole Pegg, and what ultimately led to their demise (most notably the lack of easily toured rock instrumentation).
But I do find the two albums by Mr. Fox, Join Us In Our Game and The Gipsy to be essential to all fans of that crazy vein of British folk that had a tinge of psychedelia.
Join Us in particular is so unpolished that on first listen it can seem absolutely ametuerish. Carole Pegg’s violin is nearly over the edge in its jarring, rough sound, and the cello work of Andrew Massey sounds at times like he’s taking a pneumatic drill to the instrument. Not a waver of vibrato is used in any string instrument on this album. It can be a little unsettling in how straightforward it all sounds, like listening to a band that just learned a new song, but don’t quite have the balls to perform it yet.
But it’s a really genuine sound, akin to traveling musicians who have no formal training but can’t help to play so stridently because of their love of the music.
From reading the little history of the band, this seems to be exactly the effect they were going for on the first album. The instrumentation is odd—no guitars!—filled with bowed strings and wind instruments like oboes and penny whistles. There’s the odd melodeon and organ thrown in for good use too. Maybe that sounds like a poor man’s Cheiftans, but that’s really not the case(foremost because the songs are English and not Irish). The songs for the most part stay on the positive side and rarely delve into murdered girls and dead lovers, often the trademark of British folk.
All that and Join Us still seems to pull together and work.
By their second album, the husband/wife team weren’t getting along as well and other changes included more traditional instrumentation (read: guitars). Musically it’s more adventerous, with long dirges and choral arrangements.
I love both, but you really need to be introduced to Mr. Fox when they were still getting along with each other and the music they put out was fresh, exciting, and for how old it sounded, new.
Samples, as per usual, at my blog, here.