The 11th studio album by The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican. 


The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican’s new album ‘Rugh & Ryf’ may have grandiose visions above its station to become (like it’s real-world original counterpart, Fairport Convention’s 'Liege & Lief') “the most important [comedy]folk-rock album of all time”, but their 11th studio outing is a culmination of two years of lockdowns, upwards of 1150 shows over the last 16 years, the musicianship of brothers-from-other-mothers Scott, Björn and Alan, expertly crafted parodies and an to attention to detail that aims to set them apart from any of the contemporaries in their field.


Some would argue that the Doonicans are an act best served live, gracing the stages of many of the country’s best-known festivals, but they always aim to ensure that, although laughter is always given headline status, their studio albums show-off the other strings to their bows… an opportunity for them to quite literally wig-out and add the many subtle layers of instrumentation that can’t be undertaken by just six hands in the arena of festivals, and that, beyond their comedy capers, that they really can play.


As all Doonicans studio albums are loosely themed around their perfect pastiches of classic album covers, Rugh & Ryf (pronounced ‘rock & reef’ and Middle English for ‘Rough & Ready’) takes its inspiration from Fairport Convention’s 1969 classic 'Liege & Lief' (Middle English for ‘Loyal & Ready’). Do the original band mind that these Barnsley Tykes are taking-off their most celebrated work in the most tongue-in-cheek way? On the contrary, the surviving members of the original Liege & Lief line-up all approved, with former Fairport virtuoso Richard Thompson emailing them to say, “it’s nice to be asked…as they say, imitation is the sincerest whatsit”. This is cemented by guest appearances from Fairport’s Dave Pegg on bass, and a former FC drummer (who asked to be credited as ‘Arthur Beetlaite’ or ‘AB’ to his friends), whose presence make the opening track, a parody of Fairport's perennial 'Matty Groves' all the more groove laden and authentic.


Although produced by the band in their respective home studios over lockdown and beyond, both mixing and mastering is handled deftly for a seventh consecutive studio release by “the 5th Doonican”, Joel Howe. Subjects on this collection, try not to repeat themes on previous albums, as the band are all too aware of a need to constantly reinvent their stage show and to keep their anarchic brand of comedy fresh for each festival season.

Rugh & Ryf (CD ALBUM)