Jump ahead to 2010 and I suddenly find out that the Tansads had play a series of reunion gigs which I’d missed the month before but I was able to share some of the excitement by watching a dvd of one of the concerts. It was out of these gigs that the nucleus of the band the Kettle brothers John, Bob and Andrew along with original keyboard player Lee Goulding and drummer Andy Jones decided to permanently reform but under the name Merry Hell, adding to this line up Virginia Kettle replacing Janet Anderson on vocals and bass player Andrew Dawson. Two well-crafted albums followed ‘BLINK… and you miss it’ in 2011 and ‘Head Full Of Magic, Shoes Full Of Rain’ in 2013.
And so to the 3rd album The Ghost in our house and other stories, there’s a change of bass player to Nick Davies for this record and the addition of Fiddler Neil McCartney and a guest slot from Gordon Giltrap of Heartsong fame, It has a more folky traditional feel than the previous two albums although that’s not to say this album doesn’t rock out because it does on such tracks as ‘Rage like Thunder’ a tail of left wing student politics and ‘Feed Your Soul’ a rallying call against the current government. You can tell the political leanings this band has and it’s not Conservative.
As is usual on a Merry Hell album there is always an old Tansad’s song and in this case it’s from the 1993 Up the Shirkers album ‘Reason to be’ . My preference is for this new version over the original tail of domestic bliss turned abuse as it has an edge that the original recording just doesn’t have. It’s hard to pick out any outstanding tracks because all 15 tracks on this cd are superb, so forgo a couple of Easter eggs, save your waistline and buy this cd as an Easter present for a loved one.
So where can I see this band you ask… well the band were booked to play at the New Earswick Folk hall last year but when I rang up for tickets the gig had had to be pulled which was a shame, they did play a support gig for 3 daft Monkeys in Leeds just before Christmas and will be playing The Exchange in Keighley on the 1st May and Barnsley Rock & Blues on the 19th of May but nothing in York in the foreseeable future.