Single Review: Erland and the Carnival – The Derby Ram

By on Wednesday, 15th September 2010 at 12:00 pm

Folk singer/guitarist Erland Cooper, multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong (Verve, Blur) and drummer David Nock, better known as Erland and the Carnival, is set to release a new single later this month called ‘The Derby Ram’. What started out as a jokey song about a massive (and fictional) sheep became a tune about the real life story of one 17-year old from Derby, Shaun Dykes, who jumped from the roof of a city centre car park in 2008. (I find this even more chilling now, weeks after the untimely death of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool‘s Charles Haddon at Pukkelpop.) The band insist that for ‘The Derby Ram’, all the townsfolk mentioned and were taken from an article about Dykes’s death in the Daily Telegraph.

Further, Cooper says, “it’s certainly pretty ugly subject matter but folk songs often tend to be, or perhaps just the ones I’m attracted to do. It doesn’t offer judgment, it just tells the story as it is, disturbing but true. And it’s my favourite song on the album”. Cooper’s voice sounds exactly how I imagined he would, a guitar-strumming bandolero. Sadly, in this YouTube video I discovered of the song being performed live at London Calling earlier this year, Cooper isn’t playing a guitar at all. Nevertheless, it’s a great performance.


Even though the song is set in Derby and is about an East Midlands youth’s senseless demise, it’s so upbeat, it makes me think of those great, expansive westerns filmed in the ’50s, complete with the self-confident, brisk backing tune. Or possibly Muse‘s epic video for ‘Knights of Cydonia’. “Have you ever been to Derby?” Cooper asks in a comfortably smooth voice, as producing effects cause his voice to echo over the scrappy guitar backing. I haven’t, but now I’m curious. I’m also quite excited to hear that the band is ‘planning a U.S. invasion’ in November. Just in time for my birthday!


‘The Derby Ram’ will be released on 20 September on Full Time Hobby. In addition to a UK tour starting next week, the band will be curating a special folk night at London’s Cecil Sharp House on the 26th of September to celebrate the release. Scheduled to perform along Erland and the Carnival are Alessi’s Ark and Duke Garwood, with more names to be announced; read more about it on the band’s Web site.

Tags: , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online for years to come!
Donate here.