Woodbine And Ivy Band / Sproatly Smith

Gently Johnny

Image of Woodbine And Ivy Band / Sproatly Smith - Gently Johnny
Record Label
Static Caravan

About this item

"Some things in their natural state have the most vivid colours" (Willow McGregor) One song, two versions, two bands.

Both takes in their different ways, get straight to the heart of the matter: sex, and lashings of it. Each carrying an erotic charge that pulses through them and leaves you in absolutely no doubt about the protagonists’ desires and intentions. Sproatly Smith, psych-folk enigmas from the Herefordshire Marshes have been described by fRoots as ‘The mystery flagship band of the new wave of weirdlore’. With influences that encompass SF Sorrow era Pretty Things, Pentangle, Alex Harvey and traditional English folksong, they add field recordings and found sounds to the mix to create a heady psychedelic brew.

Woodbine and Ivy Band (here featuring Jenny McCormick on vocals) are a nine-piece folk rock juggernaut from Manchester, bringing a woozy west coast country rock sensibility to traditional song. A different version of their Gently Johnny featured on their critically acclaimed debut on Folk Police Recordings: Stewart Lee in the Times described it as ‘Walking the primrose path of the satanically seductive’.

Green vinyl ONLY edition of 300 with sticker and insert in a Ben Javens designed sleeve.

In his 1958 exploration of the more ribald aspects of English folksong, The Idiom of the People, James Reeves suggests that Gently Johnny has its roots in medieval minstrelsy. However, it is better known as the slightly sinister song of seduction sung by the regulars in the Green Man pub in the cult British horror film, The Wicker Man. The song has continued to exert an influence over musicians, but many of the recordings that have been made of it are a little reverent and bloodless – either too faithful to the film version or treating the song as a precious and fragile faux-pagan remnant, maybe these two versions will go some way to redress the balance.

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