Various: Stand Up Now review – eco-minded farmers and singers join forces

Folk music’s broad dissident streak is one of its attractions. Its songs often fight yesterday’s battles – miners’ strikes, the lot of 19th-century sailors – but folk’s connection to the natural world and to working the land is perennial, as this green-themed collection attests. It has been put together by the Landworkers’ Alliance, a union of small-scale, eco-minded farmers, drawing on “farmers with a song in their back pocket” and musicians such as Nick Hart, Ewan McLennan and Sid Goldsmith, the last doubling as producer, having travelled from barn to barn with mobile equipment. Simplicity is one outcome, songs left to speak for themselves with minimal accompaniment, or delivered a cappella, as by the drolly named female quartet the Norfolk Broads.

The numbers are in large part traditional, though sometimes tweaked for modern times. Lark in the Morning is recast as a complaint against despoliation, while The Drover’s Song now rails against factory farms. Tributes to country life – The Painful Plough, Hedgerow – alternate with protests such as the King Driscolls’ lament for “villages left empty by commuter trains”, and The World Turned Upside Down, Leon Rosselson’s tribute to the Diggers of the English civil war. Heartwarming stuff.

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