Levellers Collective – “Together All The Way”
Album Reviews | Mar 9th, 2023
Record Label: On The Fiddle Recordings
Band Link: levellers.co.uk
Buy on Amazon.com
The Levellers’ second collective album showcases a fresh take on their classic songs. As a die-hard Levellers fan, any new release from the band is cause for celebration. It’s exciting to see them continue to evolve and push creative boundaries.
‘Together All The Way’ is the first recording with new member Dan Donnelly, although he’s been filling in for Simon on and off for years. I still remember seeing Dan play a small bar in New York City after he just got married, along with his Dad, Mark Chadwick and Jon Sevink. I had a funny feeling back then that he’d end up in the band full-time. Although, I must admit, it’s a little weird not hearing Simon singing with the group anymore. Not sure if he’s just taking time off, left the band for good but last I read he’s still a member of the band. Either way, it’s a new era for the Levs. The Collective again features Hannah and Ollie from the Moulettes on cello, vocals and percussion. They certainly add a lot to the overall sound on these albums.
The album opens with “The Game” and it’s eerie and A LOT slower. The song is one of the first songs I heard from the band that immediately hooked me in as a fan. I like the arrangement though, but nothing beats that lightning speed fiddle playing from Jon on the original. Speaking of lightning speed, the next track was written by friend & collaborator Rev Hammer and it’s “Down By the River’ O.” The band has played it with Rev a lot over the years but I never heard it played this fast before. I could see why the Levs picked it as their single. “The Cholera Well” is an interesting one because it’s recomposed like they are playing it in the junkyard. If that makes any sense. You can certainly say that about a lot of these tracks. “Just The One” style if you may.
The title track “Together All The Way” is probably the track that sounds most like the original. This time, there’s more background singing, and other instruments included. I thought “Wake The World” sounded weird to me. Maybe it was the pacing of the singing and the music together? Maybe my brain and ears are so used to hearing it slower on Green Blade Rising. There’s something so simple and perfect about the original that it’s hard to compare the two. Just like the last collective album, there’s two new songs as well called “Man’ O War” and “Sitting In The Social.” “Man’ O’ War” is a bit of a folksy tune (I guess all of it is) but it’s more Americana / Crosby, Stills & Nash style. Love the harmonious chorus. “Sitting In The Social” is a great addition to the Levellers discography and has this pub, uproarious, protest sing-along that I very much like. Very infectious chorus.
I find these collective albums from the Levs quite enjoyable, as they offer both new music and a fresh perspective on the band’s classic songs. While I appreciate the creative reinterpretations, I still hold a preference for the originals. The beauty is that listeners can enjoy both versions, depending on their mood. I really can’t complain that much. One of my favorite bands keeps releasing music 35 years later, so any new material is a welcomed addition to their discography.
Bottom Line: Another interesting take on classic Levellers songs, that sound like they were played in the junkyard
Notable Tracks: The Game, Down By the River’ O, Together All The Way, Sitting In The Social