Sidmouth FolkWeek’s Home Service show a sell-out

THE long-awaited return to the scene of folk rock band Home Service, after 25 years off the air, was greeted with rapturous applause when they appeared in the Ham Marquee before a sell-out house on Monday afternoon to perform what will undoubtedly be the highlight of this year’s Sidmouth Folk Festival.

Those present can count themselves as among the privileged few to have seen the re-united band, on only their fourth public appearance since returning to the folk circuit after such a long break, writes Richard Walsh.

The simple truth is Home Service’s performance simply blew their audience away, especially for first-timers who didn’t know what to expect.

The group, which has its roots in the Albion Band, was formed in the middle 1980s on the back of the folk rock wave. Despite enjoying considerable success, the life of Home Service was relatively short lived before band members drifted apart to pursue individual careers as professional musicians.

Recently a cassette recording from Cambridge Folk Festival in 1986 came to light and was re-issued, which has inspired the band to re-form and hit the road again.

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When they walked on stage, Home Service lead vocalists and spokesman Roger Tams told the audience that they had “unfinished business” after their original career was “rudely interrupted 25 years ago”.

They began with Napoleon’s Grand March, an instrumental which gave just a flavour of what was to follow from this group of highly talented individual musicians.

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Then the audience was treated to almost the full content of the live recordings from 1986, starting with Walk My Way.

Alright Jack followed, a song containing political undertones, which are as true today as they were 25 years ago.

Snowfalls from the Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, followed; a melodic, slower song, which featured a haunting flute solo from Andy Findon.

Peat Bog Soldiers was sung straight from the heart by Tams and Rose of Allendale swiftly followed.

This contained a guitar solo from Graeme Taylor that was clean and sharp. No more than you’d expect from am man who has performed with some of the biggest names on the circuit.

A standing ovation brought the band back on stage to offer Parting Shot, another instrumental penned by the brilliant guitarist Taylor.

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