The Unthanks



RRM0015 RabbleRouser Music 2015
Released on CD and Download 11/12/2015.
Distributed by Cadiz Music Ltd

If folk music is life, and for life, then ten years is nothing, right? We mean to go on, for as long as our togetherness supports and not stifles our mutual creativity. No need for best-of cash-ins or fond retrospectives just yet. This collection is more an exercise in housekeeping. The potential riches gathering dust on my studio shelves have long needed investigation and order. I’ve spent many hours in the last month listening back (not all of it was good!), to bring together a small selection of snapshots across our first 10 years. It’s a little ‘warts and all’ in places, but we hope you enjoy it for that. We’ve also tried to round up some pieces that until now have only been available on disparate sources and bring them together for you in one place. Rather than a summary of the last 10 years (whole chunks of our history are absent from it), this record is more like the missing jigsaw pieces. Its satisfying that our brief period with Stef Conner at the piano gets some documentation here, for instance. It could easily have been a double CD, so it’s not completist exactly, but certainly we can now go forward with slightly tidier studio shelves and head space to relish the next 10 years.

Adrian McNally, Oct 2015. Taken from the sleeve notes of Archive Treasures (2005-2015)

01 2000 Miles (Christmas single 2015)

02 On A Monday Morning (Live from TFF Rudolstadt, Germany 2009)

03 I Wish, I Wish (Live from Melbourne, Australia 2008)

04 Blue Bleezin Blind Drunk (Live from Holywell Music Room 2008)

05 Close the Coalhouse Door (Live from The Tyne Theatre, Newcastle 2011)

06 Alifib/Alifie (Live from Brighton Dome 2012)

07 The Gallowgate Lad (Live from The Tyne Theatre, Newcastle 2011)

08 Felton Lonnin (BBC Radio 1 Rob Da Bank Session)

09 Tar Barrel in Dale (BBC Radio 2 Radcliffe and Maconie Session)

10 Queen of Hearts (Alt Demo 2009)

11 Sexy Sadie (Recording for Mojo Magazine’s White Album)

12 A Dream of a Tree in a Spanish Graveyard (feat. Ian McMillan from Harbour of Songs 2012)

13 Oak, Ash and Thorn (Recorded for the Peter Bellamy Oak, Ash Thorn Project)

14 The Unthank Family Band (Recorded at Hartlepool Folk Club 2000)

In quiet, understated celebration of their 10th anniversary, The Unthanks release a 76 minute CD of rarities, exclusive live tracks, demos and outtakes. It is the only item available for individual purchase from The Unthanks Memory Box - a limited edition 10th anniversary box of Unthanks treasure, including this CD, a live DVD, 3 books, a 7” single, prints, postcard and photos, all hand-finished and signed by the band. 

Organised on the record in sections, the album features never-before-heard Winterset recordings, live recordings of the 10 piece Unthanks from Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre, radio session tracks, childhood folk-club snapshots, a new Christmas single, a very different work-in-progress version of Queen of Hearts, 3 years before it appeared as a single on Last, plus tracks which have previously only been available on compilation albums featuring other acts, such as crowd favourite Tar Barrel in Dale, The Beatles’s Sexy Sadie, Peter Bellamy’s Oak, Ash and Thorn and from Adrian McNally’s Harbour of Songs album, a collaboration with fellow Barnsleyite, poet Ian McMillan.

Achive Treasures (2005-2015) could be described as a fan album and illustrates how broad the musical philosophy of The Unthanks has been over 10 years. There is no greater contrast on the record than listening to snapshots of childhood folk clubs recordings, next to a previously unreleased live version of Robert Wyatt’s Alifib/Alifie, illustrating a readiness to trust in the universality of music and a belief in the open-mindedness of their audience.