The Mountain Ash Band were an electric folk band, in the style of perhaps of Steeleye Span, based in The Hermit – became a collectors piece in Progressive Music circles. and, for the purposes of this particular site, they do have a strong Coventry connection. Iikley in 1975 and their one and only limited edition album.
And here is the story of the band and this LP written from the point of view of the publishers of the “Hobo – Coventry Music and Arts Magazine”:
In June 1973, while we were printing the very first issue of And here is the story of the band and this LP written from the point of view of the publishers of the, Colin Cripps and Lynda Hardcastle (later of the Mountain Ash Band, were preparing The Willenhall Free Press for print also at the Left Centre bookshop in, Lower Ford Street, Coventry.
Colin and Lyn were musicians, magazine editors and, I discovered live quite near to me in Willenhall, so naturally we became good friends and Colin and Lyn participated in the Hobo Workshop gigs at Holyhead Youth Centre (where the Specials and Selecter later began). They lived in a flat in Ivy Walk with their son and held regular soirees with poets, musicians and like minded people. Colin Cripps, who later authored the book Popular Music in the 20thC – Cambridge University Press 1988. Colin was an undergraduate at Warwick University, studying Literature at the time and they were both involved with a Community campaigning magazine The Willenhall Free Press and other forms of community activism. One of the poets, from Ivy Walk was Ray King (Not to be confused with Ray King of the Ray King Soul band – also from Coventry). Ray went on to write the lyrics for the Mountain Ash Band’s album – The Hermit. Colin and Lyn left Coventry in 1975 after Colin graduated and moved to Ilkley where they formed the Mountain Ash Band. Ultimately Colin was originally from Cambridge and Lynda from, I think, Filey in North Yorkshire. Lynda Hardcastle went on to sing with Grace Notes, featuring Maggie Boyle and Helen Hockenhull.
“When Ray King, a friend from Willenhall, visited I told him the folk tale and he tuned in immediately and came up with a great set of lyrics. They had no verse and chorus structure because Ray was a poet not a songwriter, but there was enough to work with.” (Colin Cripps)
And here´s the story of Job Senior:
Old Job is dead, that droll old man,
We ne’er shall see him more;
He used to wear a drab old coat.
With buttons and bands before.
A low crowned hat, with brim much torn,
To keep his old head warm;
His clogs were made of blocks of wood;
His stockings straw and yarn.
So opens this account of Old Joe Senior, the Hermit of Rumbold’s Moor. The poem continues with another seven verses describing Job’s ragged appearance. Here we content ourselves with the accompanying engraving, which is graphic enough!
Old Job Senior, the Rumbold’s Moor Hermit. An account of his Eccentricities & Remarkable Life. Printed and published by Thomas Harrison, Queen Street, Bingley. c.1880. 14 pages. No author is given.
Job was not always so scruffy, or a hermit. “When young, he was a good-looking and spruce young man, employed amongst the famers in the neighbourhood, driving the plowing team, &c, and afterwards became a regular farm servant about Ilkley.”
He later went to Whitkirk, near Leeds, where he courted a young woman, the result of which he became a father. The Parish authorities made him ‘pay the smart’, which cleared him out of money. The young woman later refused to have anything to do with him, probably because Job “… had already acquired indifferent habits, losing his sprightliness of appearance, and becoming careless and unsteady.” He returned to Ilkley, and continued as a farm labourer, and in winter, wool combing.
[He later] became acquainted with an old widow, living alone in a cottage near Coldstone Beck, Burley Wood Head, on the borders of Rumbold’s Moor … her little cottage stood within a small garden, she also claimed an adjoining field which had been left by her husband, and which he had taken from the common. Old Job again fell in love – if not with the widow, probably with her property.
Job and the widow, Mary Barret, married; she was eighty, he about sixty. After Mary’s death, catastrophe struck. Mary’s relatives determined to rid the old man off the property. Job resisted, but one day he returned to the cottage to find it in ruins. Job then built himself a sort of kennel with the largest of the stones from the rubble. “Here he lived for many years, forlorn, and poor, and miserable, in a place scarcely fit for a pig, and here he remained nearly to the time of his death.” He grew potatoes and other food on his land.
Job, however, was a fine singer, able to sing ‘in four voices’ – alto, treble, tenor and bass – which he claimed to have learnt at the Leeds Parish Church. He went about the country in the winter season and sung at such places as Headingly Gardens, the Woolsorters’ Gardens in Bradford, and was once fetched to sing at the theatre in Leeds. Athough he was generally well supported, he would sleep in any outbuilding or smith’s shop.
Old Job died aged 77 and was buried in Burley churchyard. (bradfordlocalstudies.com)
The Mountain Ash Band were an electric folk band, in the style of perhaps of Steeleye Span, based in The Hermit – became a collectors piece in Progressive Music circles. and, for the purposes of this particular site, they do have a strong Coventry connection. (press release)
This is an album where you may appreciate the more cultural branch of the british folk, this is a concept album on the life of Job Senior and for me it’s beautiful but better than my words that are maybe considered “dealer words” I ‘ve decided to offer you this review and some comment to this review that I have found in a nice blog called Time Has Told Me: “Its been a long time tracking this legendary recording down (thanks Pete!). Possibly one of the rarest UK folk gems from 1975, as rare as life itself?. Awesome electric violin and disturbingly haunting vocals tell the depressing story of a Yorkshire hermit named Job Senior. “Birth” sets the scene for what is a profoundly sad album that will leave you deep in thought every time you hear it. “Journeys” a fine piece of violin work runs into “Stone on Stone” which is almost Incredible String Band in vocal style. “A long Winter” tells of the latter stages of Job’s life after his wife dies and he is living alone on the moors of Ilkley. “Who Knows” is a sorry lament as Job ends up living in the remains of his dead wifes house which has been pulled down by her family in an attempt to evict him.
“The Outcast/Rebirth” ends the albums tragic story. Hear it and weep. “Lizardson,This album has been on my top 10 list to listen to for years! Thank you for tracking this one down for us!! Legendary is right! Dr. Q””arbor said…This is a very impressive album, and I can’t believe that this group is not more well known. The combination of the music and storytelling make it a very unique recording, thanks!” “Simon said… I downloaded this yesterday and can’t stop listening to it. It really is great and totally unique.” Believe me this is a great album, not a totally perfect listening but private label are so…sometimes.. have you ever played a perfect Stone Angel or a perfect Vulcan Hammer???…so Don’t miss! (popsike.com)
Indeed: A unknown masterpiece of British Folk-Rock in the Seventies !!!
Geoff Bowen (fiddle, recorder)
Martin Carter (vocals, guitar)
Colin Cripps (guitar)
Lynda Hardcastle (vocals, recorder)
Graham Jones (bass, vocals, recorder)
Alan Rose (vocals, whistle)
Kevin Slingsby (drums)
Sean Mansley (narrator)
01. Birth (Narration) 0.58
02. Birth (Part 2) 4.06
03. Journey (Narration) 1.22
04. Journey (Part 2) 7.51
05. Stone On Stone (Narration) 1.17
06. Stone On Stone (Part 2) 2.44
07. A Long Winter (Narration) 1.07
08. A Long Winter (Part 2) 5.05
09. Who Knows (Narration) 1.12
10. Who Knows (Part 2) 4.07
11. I’ll Sing For My Supper (Narration) 1.40
12. I’ll Sing For My Supper (Part 2) 2.30
13. The Outcast / Rebirth (Narration) 1.18
14 The Outcast / Rebirth (Part 2)
15 Leading Lady / November
16 The Patient’s Song
17. English Birds (taken from a Colin Cripps solo album) 2.33
Music: Colin Cripps including traditional tunes
Lyrics: Ray King