Beeswing – First Flight


10 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: TN1147-46 Category:


Bad‐arse folk rockers? Sensitive new age traditionalists? Contemporary pop crooners? Beeswing defy a label. The band that brought you workshops on the genius of Richard Thompson, and the creative force of carbon have recently finished their new album, ‘First Flight’ and are ready to offer Platinum Frequent Flyer Membership to a growing list of enthusiasts who appreciate the warmth, energy and humanity of a Beeswing live performance. The band’s original material challenges the listener, and the traditional songs remind you of why you came to listen to folk music in the first place. Life’s baggage is free on every Beeswing flight.

 TN157 Aug 23




CD review by Tony Smith

TN1147-46 – $20


This album by NSW Hunter Valley outfit Beeswing has a balance of Scott Thomson originals and traditional songs arranged by the band.

With Scott Thomson (guitar, vocals) are Jenny Thomson (flute, harmonica, whistles, vocals), Barbara Kelly (vocals) and Gary Roberts (bass guitar, mandolin, autoharp, bodhran).

Roberts also shared production credits with Robbie Long.

Recording took place at their boatshed on Lake Macquarie.

The traditional songs are ‘Young Henry (The Diver Boy)’, ‘Braw Sailing’, ‘Twa Corbies’, ‘Mary and the Soldier’ and ‘Suill A Ruin’.

Thomson’s compositions are ‘George O’, ‘Another Latte’, ‘Effie Currie’, ‘From Kurri to Carey Bay’, ‘Badlands’, ‘Future Harvest’ and ‘Please Can I Play Mary Magdalen?’

The arrangements for the traditional songs show good variety.

‘Braw Sailing’ for example, has Scott singing the verses and full choruses.

Other songs highlight the female lead.

In ‘Mary and the Soldier’, the male and female voices take the verses alternatively while the flute weaves throughout.

‘Suill a Ruin’ features driving bass, fine whistle and expressive voice.

As the notes point out, this is a tale of two lovers, one of whom is destined to become ‘cannon fodder’.

The comments about the songs are light and interesting.

About ‘Another Latte’ for example, there is a claim that the scenario is purely hypothetical and not about anyone we know.

Just as well really, as the song describes a corporate world in which there are ‘dragons to slay, people to betray’ and where people become ‘too clever by half’.

It is clear on this track also that Barbara Kelly’s voice exudes confidence and control as she ad libs with simple ‘la la da da’.

For the Scots tunes, the group becomes ‘Beeswing Macduff’.

The opening track ‘George O’ is a powerful anti-war song.

It has driving guitar, great harmonica intro, excellent backing vocals and carries the warning ‘don’t mess with the men in black’.

Then ‘Young Henry’ shows Jenny’s versatility as it opens with some ethereal flute.

The female voice here is clear and expressive, especially deep in the blues style.

The tragic story of pioneer woman, ‘Effie Currie’, is one that needed to be told.

Equally compelling is ‘Please Can I Play Mary Magdalen?’

Thomson notes here that nothing beats the offstage passion of country dramatic societies.

This is a lovely whimsical track: “I’ll wash his feet with my auburn hair” and is perfect sung straight and seriously.

The wandering flute is particularly impressive.

Scott’s ‘Badlands’ reckons that you can “sense history exuding from the pores of every cactus”.

‘Future Harvest’ is a plea to “bury what’s dead, yesterday’s dream, and turn a new leaf”, over a drop of Hunter Valley wine of course.

‘Kurri to Carey Bay’ tells of how miners would go to the lake to wash the coal dust out of their hair and no doubt to refresh themselves enough to face the mines on Monday.

This song has a great lilting tune and very Australian delivery.

While the band might ask ‘Who are we?’, fans, surely anyone who hears this album, will answer that it does not matter where they fit as regards traditions, pop and rock music.

The lyrics are compelling, the arrangements bring out the best in the voice and instruments and both traditional songs and originals are very listenable.

Every track on First Flight has much to recommend it.

Additional information

Weight .200 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1 cm


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