On ‘Reprobates‘ their third full-length album, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have mined history books and the folk canon for stories of wicked and nefarious characters.
Be they murderous pirates, blood-thirsty executioners or rebellious slave-traders, each has in common a dubious morality. Musically, ‘Reprobates’ follows the band’s eclectic recipe of gutsy folk rock with elements of funk, dance and classic rock bringing a contemporary edge to traditional source material.
Live, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have earned a considerable reputation for pairing a frenetic energy with accomplished musicianship, and Reprobates’ captures this dexterous party sound. Playing together since the summer of 2009, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have become firm favourites on the English folk scene. An independent band with three albums to their name, Blackbeard’s Tea Party have also completed a number of successful UK headline tours.
‘Reprobates’ was produced by Dave Boothroyd at Reel Recording Studios. Barn-storming folk tunes rub shoulders with narrative folk songs, telling dark tales of wicked and nefarious characters. The album shows off the band’s imaginative arrangements, accomplished musicianship and dark sense of humour.
The latest release follows the 2009 mini-album ‘Heavens to Betsy’; the band’s first full-length album, 2011’s ‘Tomorrow We’ll Be Sober’; and 2013’s ‘Whip Jamboree’ which R2 magazine called “the best party going on five inches of plastic.”
The title ‘Reprobates’ doesn’t just give the album its theme. It’s also a nod to the band’s reputation for musical mischief, frequently breaking folk-rock’s conventions. Blackbeard’s Tea Party combine fiddle, melodeon and voice with the interlocking grooves of two hand percussionists, a distorted electric guitar, and funk-inflected bass patterns. Though their music often takes traditional tunes and songs as the starting point, it’s clear that Blackbeard’s Tea Party is not for folk purists.
Theirs is a gutsy take on folk which aims to renounce the trendy twee of bands like Mumford and Sons in favour of folk’s darker and more primitive origins, all by way of classic rock, funk and dance music. The resulting arrangements are often quirky and boisterous. This playfulness – along with their anarchic and ebullient stage show – has won Blackbeard’s Tea Party a small legion of fans.
Reception for the band has been phenomenal over the last two years: the Huffington Post called Blackbeard’s Tea Party the ‘THE band to see at Glastonbury 2014’ and, after they played to their biggest ever crowd at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, they were overwhelmingly voted the best band of the festival by Fairport Convention fans.
Autumn 2015 sees the band embark on another UK headline tour in support of ‘Reprobates’, plus Blackbeard’s Tea Party are already lining up another string of festivals for summer 2016.
Fri 9. The Duchess Stonebow House, York, Nth Yorkshire YO1 7NP.
Sat 10. Bristol Folk House, 40-a Park St, Bristol BS1 5JG
Sun 11. New Cross Inn 323 New Cross Rd, New Cross, London SE14 6AS
Fri 16. St Edith Hall High Street, Kemsing, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 6NA
Sat 17. Telford’s Warehouse Tower Wharf, Chester, Cheshire CH1 4EZ
Sun 18. Lichfield Festival of Folk (L2F), Lichfield Guildhall, Bore St, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6LU
Thurs 22. The Greystones, Greystones Rd, Sheffield, Sth Yorkshire S11 7BS
Fri 23. Queens Hall 75 Queens Road, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV11 5LA
Thu 29. Fruit 62-63 Humber St, Hull, E. Yorkshire HU1 1TU
Sat 31. King’s Somborne Village Hall Recreation Ground, off Romsey Rd, King’s Somborne, Hampshire SO20 6PP
Sun 1. The Musician Clyde St, Leicester, E. Midlands LE1 2DE
Mon 2. The Processed Pea Light Dragoon, Etton, Nr Beverley, E. Yorks HU17 7PG
Sat 7. The Shire Hall 11 Market Place, Howden, E Yorkshire DN14 7BJ
Sat 28. ARC Stockton Arts Centre, Dovecot St, Stockton on Tees, Co Durham TS18 1LL
Fri 4. The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, Merseyside PR8 1DB.
Sat 5. Norwich Arts Centre 51 St. Benedict’s Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 4PG