Tag Archives: acoustic

02 Cunla (The Frieze Britches) ~ Terry Lees

March 02, 2010 04:15 AM PST

The tune is called Cunla or sometimes ‘The Frieze Britches’

Terry describes it thus –

I had always liked Celtic music but growing up in England in the early 60’s I seldom got to hear much, only when my Mother (originally from Ireland) used to sing to us.
This is the first Irish Jig I learned to play and have been modifying it for many years.

I chose a DADGAD tuning as the notes fell ‘correctly’ and allowed me to go over the top with the ornamentation – a feature I love about Irish music.

I’m nominating Mark Mewman at Marknewman.com for the next link in the Musical Traces chain.

Best Wishes

Terry Lees


Terry is without a doubt (he’s won competitions that prove it!) one of England’s best and most highly regarded guitarists.

Terry has a website here – http://www.terrylees.com/ , you can find details of what Terry is up to, where and when he’s next appearing and even the models of guitars he plays here.

A note on ‘Cunla – The Frieze Britches’, again as with the previous tune there seems to be very little information available about the song’s origins, though it does seem to be known in a fairly widespread way, check out Google for more references and even tab in order to learn it.

Find out more about what Musical Traces is trying to do here > Musical Traces

You can visit the musical traces podomatic site here – http://musical-traces.podomatic.com/

*The way the project works is that now Terry suggests someone for me to contact with a view to getting their musical work on ‘tape’ and I post that up with background to them and the song, thus moving onwards to new artistes and songs. Collecting like an armchair Alan Lomax.

Terry has suggested contacting someone called Mark Newman, let’s hope he wants to be the next step in the Musical Traces line!

Mumford and Sons ~ Sigh No More ~ A Review

Being a review of Mumford and Sons album – Sigh No More.

Folk I hear you say? Folk I say. But I’m not quite sure what they’d say and on listening to it I’m worried about what you might say.

Any band with a Banjo played within it, albeit a fashion Banjo with electric guitar body surrounding the more traditional round bit (otherwise known as the ‘head’) runs the risk of someone calling them a folk outfit, combo or other olde waye of describin’ yee olde poppe music groupe! So I’m going to do it, it is by this benchmark that they shall be judged. Though the ‘Folk’ label would normally kill stone dead  anything for the ‘under 25 years of age’ on mere utterance, this album is in the album charts, it’s on Tesco’s ‘record racks’ and is obviously doing well enough to generate some forward motion in this freebie downloading ipod laden world; where goodness only knows how any popular musician makes a living crust from doing what they do. They have obviously taken great care to avoid calling themselves Folk and have probably taken contracts out on anyone who has even got within 50 years of calling them folk, but blimey …. folk they are.

Truth is I bought this for my wife because she saw the T.V. ad and liked the tune ‘Winter Winds’, it’s catchy enough, nothing special, but a fair first offering album wise, and getting a fair play on BBC Radio 2 particularly. Perhaps I expect too much because I’m always wanting to and expecting to hear a spark of genius in new music and yet how can a band formed only 3 years ago in 2007 be expected to be the next big boys on the block. The album is a good listen, nicely if simply arranged, well recorded and with some songs that positively shine out into the abyss of ‘oh God I’ve heard it all before so many times’, but it just lacks that last dash of spice, that moment of magic, that sound of tomorrow like you never heard it in yesteryear.

There is a lyrical simplicity to what they do that I really engaged with, offering some innocent words alongside the music takes guts and risks to write and to stand by these words in front of a Mic is admirable. In some places however obscure references I feel disguise the lack of connection the lyricist and singer is making, or rather not making with the listener, instead of being directly poetical, they just end up sounding obscure for obscurities sake. Yet, the pure innocence of some of the words really works.

A song like ‘I gave you all‘ with it’s lines ~
How can you say that your truth is better than ours?
Shoulder to shoulder, now brother, we carry no arms
The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home
If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won

Doesn’t to my mind work, on paper particularly it just looks pretentious and meaningless in the main, however, when they sing in the song ‘Awake My Soul’ which for me is the stand out tune on the album ~

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes
I struggle to find any truth in your lies
And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know
This weakness I feel I must finally show

Actually rather simply I just admire any writer who has the self belief to put the word woozy into a lyric… writing songs isn’t easy you know. To write something a little transcendant you pay by giving a piece of yourself away and that means risking that on seeing the innards of you any critic can pull your guts about and leave you exposed. It’s moments like these that create the condition of Writer’s Block you know!


It’s a little disconcerting that they look in some of their promo like someone’s idea of what 18th cent. Tinkers who might have just popped their head out the Caravan door to see if the hedgehog was roasting nicely might look like, I dont know why I find it so tedious that there seems to be an unwritten uniform of clothing to every genre of music making. It’s as if the record companies are worried that we’re too stupid to work out what we’re listening to unless we have some Dreadlocks to look at, or some Black Spikey Hair and Nose-ring to indicate the correct listening attitude.

The instrumentation which consists of: piano, vocals (lots of good close harmonies), guitars, banjo, strings, percussion, points all the time at an acoustic ancestry, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Waterboys in particular, the Levellers, Bluegrass, The Pogues and so on, you get the idea.. oh and the Men They Couldn’t hang, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mumford and Sons don’t get the gig this year for Paddy’s Day at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire… you get the idea?

I think really that I’ve written enough to give you an idea of what this might be like, without wasting too much time on what, for me, is a listenable debut album, but one that doesn’t warrant very much in depth thought. A bit like the music and the lyrics of ‘Sigh No More’.


  1. Sigh No More
  2. The Cave
  3. Winter Winds
  4. Roll Away Your Stone
  5. White Blank Page
  6. I Gave You All
  7. Little Lion Man
  8. Timshel
  9. Thistle & Weeds
  10. Awake My Soul
  11. Dust bowl Dance
  12. After The Storm