The Levellers “Together All The Way”

On The Fiddle, 2023

Album cover artwork for The Levellers album "Together All The Way"

Great new acoustic versions of old originals with two new tracks.

Album cover artwork for The Levellers album "Together All The Way"The Levellers have been together now for 35 years and to celebrate this great landmark they have recorded the album ‘Together All The Way’ which consists of new versions of old songs with two new ones added. The group was joined by Hannah Miller and Ollie Austin from English art-rock band The Moulettes on cello, vocals, and percussion. In addition, new Levellers member Dan Donnelly, who was previously in French supergroup Celtic Social Club, makes his first official recording for the group. Sean Lakeman produced with long-time collaborator Al Scott mixing. The songs were recorded live in the studio until all were satisfied, giving the record a raw but really authentic feel.

For those who have not heard their music, The Levellers are an English folk-rock band with the English and rock parts being significant. The songs are often raucous with rousing choruses similar to The Pogues, but are definitely more influenced by English folk than The Pogues with lots of fiddle in the music. The rock is heard in many tracks, with electric guitars ringing out giving an exciting, almost punk, feeling at times. However, here the group has generally taken a more acoustic, folk approach to the original songs with electric guitar not to the forefront and this change of style can be easily heard in tracks such as ‘The Game’,  ‘Wheels’ and ‘Sell Out’. The production is lusher than on the originals with, for example, backing harmonies being added and at times it sounds poppier than previously. A good example of this is on ‘Together All The Way’ which shows the band’s talent for writing great melodies.

The Levellers are a political band but skilfully manage to avoid writing lyrics which are cliched or “clunky” as political lyrics can be. They often pinpoint injustice and, as political songs should, stir the listener to think that something needs to be done to right the wrong. ‘Battle Of The Beanfield’ deals with police brutality towards travellers camping near Stonehenge, and ‘The Cholera Well’ rails at world superpowers: By night, the US planes descend/And deal are struck with their pay roll friends/An arms bazaar that never ends/ The Russians land by morning.” There are also pleas to act to make change rather than just sitting back and accepting it all, for example, in ‘Wake The World’ and the earlier mentioned ‘Together All The Way’ where they sing, “Look to yourself/ ’cause there’s plenty of wealth in us all/If we fight the good fight/Then they gonna have to fall”

The two new tracks are folk-orientated, with ‘Man O’War’ telling of a man saying goodbye to his family as he goes off to fight. The excellent ‘Sitting In The Social’ vividly details the life of a busker struggling by and needing to visit a food bank and includes a loud trademark chorus.

This album would be a great introduction to The Levellers for those not familiar with them but is also an enjoyable and worthwhile recording for diehard followers.


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