Bellowhead
 Bellowhead website

The Guardian 1000 Albums to hear before you die..
The Observer Best 15 Albums of 2006 alongside Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Arctic Monkeys, The Killers.
Mojo Best Folk Album 2006
fRoots Best Album 2006
Songlines Magazine Best 10 Albums of 2006
The Sun Best Folk Album of the Year 2007

In detail:

Songlines Magazin "... the most significant recording of traditional English music since 'Liege & Lief' " -

Mojo "Folk Album of the Month" - Having taken the festival scene by the scruff of its neck over the past couple of years, Bellowhead, now a modest 11 piece, at last deliver a startling debut album amid a blaze of brass, outlandish showmanship and cracking songs and tunes. They take outrageous but enthralling liberties with some of folk's hardy veterans, turning Rigs of the Time into a knockabout show tune, Flash Company into an unruly homage to Tom Waits, and Death and the Lady into a Victorian melodrama. But from the rampaging vocals of Jon Boden to Gideon Juckes' growling, slightly scary sousaphone, they sweep all before them into a heady mix of great tunes, innovative arrangements, rampant imagination and brazen front. Several leaps on the form the min-album EP Onymous, it gobbles up fresh territory without a backwards glance. Extraordinary'.

Folk Roots "... They don't do anything by halves, this lot. Incredibly, given their awards, headlining festival appearances, cover features and reputation as the best live roots band in the land, this is the first proper Bellowhead album. The 5-track E.P.Onymous set out their stall in thrilling manner in 2004 and we've been gagging for the full montague ever since. Wild, joyous, perverse, bold, crazed, full-blooded, intricate, fearless, funny, epic and mostly BIG. Bellowhead don't disappoint. ... Fearlessly produced (by Ben Mandelson and Rob Keyloch) and beautifully packaged, it feels like a great album with a gorgeous booklet offering chapter and verse on the history and genesis of the mainly traditional material ..."

BBC, London "Naughty but nice … Having won Best Live act at the BBC Folk Awards great things were expected from Bellowhead and they deliver on this ambitious project. They must be in it for the love of the music because with 11 in the band there's not going to be much to go around once they bought a few rounds ... Folk underpins the 13 tracks but there's big band, strings and a touch of funk that makes Steeleye Span sound plain ordinary. It certainly makes you want to catch them live. 4/5."

Evening Standard, London " ... This is the biggest, brashest and brassiest folk CD of the year. The debut album from Bellowhead, the hottest new band on the English folk scene... ."

The Guardian, London "Jon Boden is almost too clever for his own good. Not content with shaking up the English folk scene in that rousing duo Spiers and Boden, and recording an album of his own songs, he now acts as wildly theatrical singer, fiddler and even arranger for the 11-piece Bellowhead, who set out to rework traditional material with a line-up that includes cello, percussion, and a four-piece brass section including sousaphone.
Anyone who has seen them on the festival circuit will know they are a great dance band, famous for their blend of jigs and reels, in which John Spiers' sturdy melodeon is matched against the jazz-influenced brass. Their debut album concentrates on their adventurous, if uneven, selection of ballads. They range from the lively shanty Fire Marengo and gently entertaining Courting Too Slow to the extraordinary opener, Rigs of the Time, in which Boden is almost toppled by the rapid-fire arrangement. As for the deliberately slurred and drunken Flash Company, that should be saved for the live shows, where Bellowhead are heard at their best."

New Classics (www.new-classics.co.uk) " ... Burlesque is the long-awaited debut CD from Bellowhead, an exciting 11-piece band who won the BBC Radio 2 folk award for Best Live Act in 2005. The band's first gig at the first Oxford festival in April 2004 was a great success and the band has continued to acquire an enthusiastic following with their dynamic live performances around the country. Their music is traditional but arranged an played in a unique way with a classy lineup that includes John Spiers, Jon Boden, Benji Kirkpatrick, Paul Sartin, Rachael McShane and Giles Lewin, together with the percussion of Pete Flood and the brass quartet of Andy Mellon, Gideon Juckes, Justin Thurgur and Brendan Kelly .... Traditional music is transformed into something new by arrangements that are decidedly adventurous. Occasionally, as with Flash Company, the performance verges on the eccentric but overall this is an album that will add to the band's growing army of fans."