Back in December 2020 I reviewed Nightsong’s album ‘The Peasants’ Revolt’; ‘Pauper’s Son’ is the opening song of the album. But this is a very different version of the song. Instead of the alt-folk feel and sound this has been given an urban remix. I say remix but it’s really a completely different song; about all that is left of the original is John Reed’s vocal.
It sounds, to my ears at least, a little like Portishead; one of those slow Portishead songs. Moody synths, bass pads, atmospheric sounds that may or may not be guitar, the odd burst of John’s cittern.
This may sound like an awkward mix but it isn’t. The thing about Nightsong’s approach to the folk idiom is that even the songs that use traditional folk instruments have a feel that is not too far away from electronica based music. So even if it sounds different, the feel and mood of the original is still there. Indeed I would go as far as to say that that feel has been enhanced. It adds to the story told by the song rather than detracts.
And the story is important; it’s about an attack on the house of John Reed – a poll tax collector – in the Norfolk village of Rougham on 17th June 1381. That’s almost exactly 640 years ago. It was one of the incidents that surrounded the Peasants’ Revolt of that year, which gave the band their first album title.
In a way this remix of the song has taken the band’s alt or progressive folk approach to their music to it’s logical terminus; using completely up to date instruments and methods to make folk based music.
I had a small idea of what this might sound like because I’m aware of the progressive approach to folk they have, but I was blown away by this track. It’s a complete and outstanding success.
It has been a magical year since Nightsong released their first single, and to mark the anniversary of the release of ‘Pauper’s Son’, they put together this version of the song.
Originally recorded in December 2019, this second version has been waiting for its moment. The final touches were put together in the studio in the last week before release.
The band have started to research a second album, and while that may be some distance away yet, ‘Pauper’s Son’ (Remix) will be one of a number of singles set for release in the meantime.
ALI KARIM was the bass player for successful Manchester Indie band Fear of Music at the age of 14, and for the sixteen years since as a writer and producer he has 4 UK top ten albums to his name and over five hundred million streams.
JOHN REED is an emerging force in progressive folk music: with his solo work focusing mainly on environmental and political themes, with backing band The Folded Arms and other collaborative works with artists such as Leicester’s Matt Steady, and The Lewinskies from Milton Nova Scotia.
JO BETH YOUNG is a visionary songwriter/musician in the indie/prog folk scene known as Talitha Rise/RISE. She has collaborated with a host of excellent artists including Chris Difford (Squeeze), Juldeh Camara (Robert Plant), Kathryn Williams and Peter Yates (Fields Of The Nephilim).