This single-CD reissue pairs two blaxploitation soundtracks by different artists: 1975's Cornbread, Earl and Me, composed by Donald Byrd and performed by the Blackbyrds, and 1973's The Dynamite Brothers, composed and performed by Charles Earland. Cornbread, Earl and Me, which featured the movie debut of Larry Fishburne, is serviceable, routine soul-jazz background film music, varying between funk-jazz-rock vamps (such as the Sly Stone-styled instrumental workout "The One-Eye Two-Step"), snazzy jazzy bits for action scenes, and sentimental orchestrated interludes. There are also occasional vocal numbers in a pedestrian mid-'70s soul-jazz-rock mode, such as "The Cornbread Theme."
Twenty-one years ago, June Tabor and Oysterband got together to record what is now recognised as an English folk-rock classic. It wasn't exclusively a folk album, though there were some traditional tracks, but rather an eclectic, powerful reworking of anything from Lou Reed to Shane McGowan. Now, at long last, comes the followup that so many of us have been asking for, and it's no disappointment. The energy is still there, along with the desire to startle and experiment, but so is a new maturity and emotional depth, and even greater variety. The traditional songs include Bonnie Bunch of Roses, in which the stomping backing is never allowed to overshadow Tabor's no-nonsense storytelling; then there's a glorious melodeon and fiddle-backed treatment of Fountains Flowing, that song of parting and grief, and there's delicate, unaccompanied vocal harmony singing on the Scottish lament (When I Was No But) Sweet Sixteen. The contemporary songs range from a fiddle-backed stomp through Dylan's Seven Curses, through to a thoughtful, gutsy reworking of PJ Harvey's That Was My Veil, and a pained, acoustic version of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart.