Levellers – Collective – Together All The Way – Review

A stripped back, traditional folk approach with the tempo slowed right down allowing for the emotion of the songs to shine through

Genre: Folk Punk 

Label: On The Fiddle Recordings

Release date: March 10th 

https://www.levellers.co.uk/

Members: 

Mark Chadwick – lead vocals, guitar,
Jeremy “Jez Cunningham – bass guitar, guitar, backing vocals,
Charlie Heather – drums, percussion,
Jonathan “Jon” Sevink – fiddle, violin,
Dan Donnelly – guitar, vocals,
Matt Savage – keyboards, backing vocals,

Additional Musicians

Hannah Miller: Cello , Backing Vocals

Ollie Austin: Percussion

Tracklisting:

The Game
Down By The River ‘O’
The Cholera Well
Together All The Way
Wake The World
Wheels
Battle Of The Beanfield
Man O War
Sell Out
Sitting In The Social

When the band released ‘We The Collective’ in… wait… what… 2018! Bloody hell, where have the last 4+ years gone? When they released ‘We The Collective’, the reworked versions of some of their finest tracks  gave them a new lease of life, resulted in numerous sold-out shows around the country and reignited for many their love of the band once more. 

A hugely successful studio album with ‘Peace’ cemented their return to to top tier of the UK charts and reminded us that musicians could sing about the toughest of topics and still make a song enjoyable, an artform lost on many artists these days sadly. 

After a brief pause, we’re back once more with a similar offering to ‘We The Collective’ but this time, we’ve got new music mixed in with reworkings of the old material. ‘Collective – Together All The Way’ opens with a beautifully re-worked version of their classic hit ‘The Game’ which, given it comes from ‘that’ album, means that everything gets off to a familiar and welcome start. A stripped back, traditional folk approach with the tempo slowed right down allowing for the emotion of the song to shine through. They follow it up with the lead single ‘Down By The River ‘O” which feels like a cross between ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and a collaboration with McDermott’s 2 Hours. The track was actually written by friend and collaborator Rev Hammer about the Great Flood of 1968 in Buntingford. 

In addition to new versions of tracks from the Levellers’ back catalogue, including the iconic ‘Battle Of The Beanfield’, we also get new tunes. To the lifelong fan (that’ll be me thank you very much), the excitement comes tenfold when ‘Man O War’ and ‘Sitting In The Social’ burst through the speakers. Burst is also the right word because it doesn’t matter how stripped back and relaxed the approach might be, this remains Levellers. A band that delivers a song with the same impact that a sledgehammer through a brick wall might have when a message needs to be delivered.

‘Battle of the Beanfield’ does of course warrant another mention because it allows Mark’s vocal work to sit proud alongside Hannah’s soulful cello playing and adds an extra layer of depth to the song (something the NME would never have said about the band when the original version was released). Who knew that, over 30 years later, the same song could convey such a strong sense of emotion that feels as impactful today as it did back then. 

Here’s the original as performed at some local festival.. Glasto something or other from 1992. 

 One notable addition to this release is the inclusion of Dan Donnelly who stood in for Simon Friend on tour over the last couple of years. Whilst Simon remains a member of the band, this marks Dan’s first studio release with the band. Anyone who saw him play on the ‘Peace’ shows will know they have found a worthy sub and team mate. 

The album closes with ‘Sitting In The Social’ which sadly reflects the current state of how people continue to live hand to mouth in a society that hasn’t seemingly moved on since the band first brought the plight of so many to our attention all those years ago. That they continue to sing about such matters, trying to collect your giro and being told to come back the next day leaving you with nothing and no money to buy food, is commendable. That they need to sing about such subjects in this day and age is scandalous. If only more bands got the same level of support and recognition as Levellers do when it comes to highlighting the plight of so many people in society then perhaps the world (or at least our country) might be a better place. Until such time, the invisible masses and the plight of those that remain ignored continues. 

Score 9/10

Reviewed by Adrian Hextall

The band are on tour at the moment – Dates below: 

ACOUSTIC TOUR:
MARCH 2023
Mon       6          CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Tue        7           NORTHAMPTON Derngate
Wed      8           READING Hexagon
Thu        9          LONDON Hackney Empire
Fri          10        POOLE Lighthouse
Sat         11         TRURO Hall For Cornwall
Mon      13         BARNSTAPLE Queen’s Theatre
Tue        14        YEOVIL Westlands
Wed      15         HARROGATE Royal Hall
Thu        16        HULL City Hall
Fri          17        NEWCASTLE Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Sat         18        BUXTON Opera House

Tickets are available from myticket.co.uk

www.levellers.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/levellersofficial/
https://twitter.com/the_levellers
https://www.instagram.com/the_levellers/

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