Album review: JULIAN LITTMAN – Goblin Market Music

Website [Release date 01.12.21]

Steeleye Span’s Julian Littman has created a concept album based on Christina Rossetti’s famous 19th Century poem ‘Goblin Market’. In addition, author John Matthews set out to adapt the themes in the poem to create a variation on the traditional tarot alongside a guide book. The cards were illustrated by renowned artist Charles Newington.

This concept album was produced and mostly written by Julian Littman and features all the current members of Steeleye Span – Maddy Prior (vocals), Liam Genockey (drums), Andrew Sinclair (guitar), Jesse May Smart (violin and vocals), Benji Kirkpatrick (guitar and backing vocals), Roger Carey (bass) and Julian on guitars, keys and vocals.

Spud Sinclair and Jessie May Smart wrote a song each whilst Maddy Prior sings lead on one track. The album also features Jane Milligan, daughter of Spike Milligan with whom Julian worked with in the past, and Caitlin Mathews, wife of John Matthews the author of the Tarot guide book.

Julian Litman captures the essence of the poem superbly, with the tale of goblin folk tempting a fair maiden with their market of forbidden fruit…

Hard to pick out highlights as the whole album holds together very well. If pushed though, the prog rock and heavy sounds on ‘Seduction’. Loving the menacing guitar and vocals on this one. Good to hear Maddy Prior on ‘Abomination’. Her singing voice just seems to keep getting better with age!

Jesse May Smart provides a good vocal counterpoint to Julian’s vocals, a nice mix of folk and rock is provided by the two singers. ‘Sacrifice’ is a perfect example of this, another song with a menacing air and a sublime bit of violin playing.

If you enjoyed Steeleye Span’s adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Wintersmith’ and like a good progressive leaning concept album, this one will be a real treat for you. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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