Peace And Freedom - Reviews & Feedback
Peace And Freedom
Peace And Freedom
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Thought I'd drop you a line to say I thought you did an excellent night at Grand Union last Monday. Am just playing your CD and am equally impressed.    ~ Pete Burnham
   Leicester Folk Diary.

Bill made quite a name for himself on the folk scene in the '70s and '80s but this was followed by over a decade away from the music. This album follows his return to performing about four years ago.

On the evidence of this album, his repertoire is roughly half traditional songs, tunes and ballads and the rest of his own compositions. He shows quite an empathy with traditional material. His own songs are variable in standard but they do provide some of the album's best moments in excellent songs like None of My Business and The Temple of Heaven.

One can hear the influence of a number of the folk revival's top performers in Bill's developed style but what distinguishes him is the clarity of his presentation; he has precise timing and good diction in his singing and crisp fingering in his meticulous guitar playing, whether it be in his accompaniments or in tune playing in the likes of Banish Misfortune heard here.
   ~ Vic Smith
   © Sussex Folk Diary. Used by permission.

This collection of (mainly)self-penned and some traditional songs comes 20 years after...Bill's first. Economy in expression, delivery and (guitar/bouzouki) accompaniment is the keynote. Contains some fine writing, also a persuasive take on Once I Courted A Damsel.
   © fRoots Magazine. Used by permission.

Traditionalist, idealist, humourist and fine guitarist - local singer Bill Prince is all these, and all are evident here. The term "wordsmith" is over-used, but Bill's words never fight for space - they all deserve to be there, such is the strength and economy of his songwriting. Dunblane and the title song Peace And Freedom are short and to the point - and even the epic Don't Call Me Tommy Atkins is no longer than it needs to be. Recently written, The Temple Of Heaven is an acutely observed comment on China and its many paradoxes.

African-inspired The People Will Be Free shows off Bill's rhythmic guitar work, but his styles vary from blues to DADGAD tunes, with a confidence born of experience.

This also applies to his singing - conversational and sometimes off the beat - with an occasional joke thrown in, if not always successfully.

Bill also shows off his talent as a traditional singer, with 6 of the 16 tracks completely unaccompanied, and ballads such as The Young Squire Of Denes and Six Pretty Maids, from Shropshire farmer Bill Smith.

The cleverness of this album lies in its variety and complete lack of unnecessary adornment, maintaining interest and enabling it to be listened to, rather than just heard.
   ~ Mike Blair
   © Unicorn Magazine. Used by permission.

The opening track"None Of My Business" cleverly explores why people turn a blind eye to important events through ignorance and propaganda until it becomes too personal. A good song with a catchy accompaniment and I could imagine the likes of Roy Bailey singing this as well.
   ~ Jan Strapp
   © Shire Folk Magazine. Used by permission.

Comments from happy customers, most of whom are friends I've never met.

"Peace and Freedom" is a lovely album. Got my copy yesterday and have played it right through a couple of times. Keep returning to "Dunblane" and "None of My Business" and the "Miss Forbes Farewell" set. The Dunblane song is a courageous piece of writing and is very moving. I wholly approve of Parson Bell's treatment also. The whole album is beautifully presented and delivered and is a credit to you Mr Prince.
    ~ A M, Scotland

Meanwhile, I'm having trouble getting past track 2 ("Once I Courted a Damsel") which is, for want of a less cliched term, just glorious. Billy's measured guitar accompaniment seems to hold back the song's deep emotion (no criticism - that's just what it should do!), but his willowy vocal finds a way to express it in spades nonetheless. It's a bloody marvel
    ~ R S, Victoria, Australia

I have to say it's been a pleasure listening to it. A right fine effort Billy.
    ~ J M S, Texas USA

The nominations for the R2 Folk awards 'Album of the Year' category are as follows;

Lightweights & Gentlemen by Lau
Prodigal Son by Martin Simpson
The Bairns by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset
The Imagined Village by The Imagined Village

Peace and Freedom wouldn't be out of place amongst that lot. I almost wish Billy wasn't a mate, then I could speak completely objectively, but I like the fact he is a mate and I like the fact the album is this bloody good.

I don't know how it works for you lot, but for me, when I hear a new record, I tend to really like one or two standout tracks, and others get a bit overlooked but when you come back to them later, they reveal themselves as hidden gems. Well I've had so much new music recently, I haven't got to the second stage yet, but the standout tracks so far are 'Once More' , 'Don't Call me Tommy Atkins' and 'Once I Courted A Damsel' - I also adore the melody to 'The Young Squire Of Denes'.

Billy, you can be proud of this, mate.

    ~ R G, Brighton

Thank You Billy for the great music. The album flows together really well from beginning to end
    ~ M H, Minnesota USA

I must say it is very much worth every penny and better than the new Springsteen as well. (I know I have that too - and I'm a huge Springsteen fan)

It's got everything, great guitar work, great A Cappella singing, tunes, songs, deep emotional content and Billy's wit and wisdom!! I think Don't Call Me Tommy Atkins ranks right up there with Seeger's Big Muddy!!

    ~ J S, New Hampshire USA

Just wanted to say a belated WELL DONE regarding your album. (I) think you've done a fantastic job! Some lovely tunes and thoughtful lyrics - a winning combination in my book. Particularly loved the wee instrumental jig, and the magical song about your trip to China - what a wonderful image of you guys dancing and twirling in the Temple of Heaven....

Nice one Bill. Keep up the good work.

    ~ M W, Bedford

"None of my Business" perfectly captures the famous Pastor X (grrr... my memory!) (Niemoeller) comment about how totalitarianism took Germany in its iron grip while ordinary people looked on. I loved the pause before the last line... it really emphasises the "There must be some mistake".

"Don't Call me T.A" - As someone has said already, WWI songs are instantly powerful. It is true that WWII was the more morally justified conflict, but maybe that's why it has never inspired literature of the quality the earlier conflict has. Perhaps WWI still fascinates us because it was the most "splendid" example of a futile war ever. I think you captured the spirit of the times so well in that song that I swear I could hear a Colliery Brass band playing in the background, even though it is unaccompanied! Liked the fact that you don't end on the chorus. Cut short, like so many lives then. (Short being a relative term for such a long song)

I have already told you that "Dunblane" brings tears to my eyes. It is such a perfect combination of the narration of a public tragedy and a very private tragedy (your sudden loss of faith). A lot happens in those few verses. One of the best songs you have ever written, surely?

"Politician Blues" - now wouldn't it have been great if Cream had done this instead of using Pete Brown's mystifying non-committal lyrics on "Politician".

"Peace & Freedom" Another classic in the "protest" mode. A good one to go out on.

    ~ B A, Catalonia

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