2020 Album Draft- Round 10 Pick 4- Run-Sew-Read selects- Mumford & Sons- Babel
This album belongs on my desert island, both for the songs and for the memories. Among my musician friends and family members, this band is either loved or disdained. Mostly it’s disdained by the musicians. But I’m not a musician. And I’ve got some really great memories of hearing these songs.
Maybe it’s because I was here, in row 8 in front of Ted the bass player.
Or here in the crowd of 80k, halfway back on the side of Ben on keyboards. (The previous night, I came face to face with Winston, the banjo player in the crowd waiting for The Stones to take the stage. With all of my willpower, I managed to restrain my inner geek, and simply managed a calm smile, and a, “Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow night.” He graciously smiled and said thank you.)
Then there is this song, that to my knowledge, they never played live after it came out on the album. The band members had famous actors portray them in the video. One of the actors is a legit banjo player; another is a fellow Kansan. And, I like the song, so I confess, this one is high on my list of overplayed favorites. Quite a few of those 80 million YouTube views were me.
About the concerts: After deciding in 2011 to check out their live show in an outdoor plaza concert in KC, I was wow’ed enough that I wanted to see them again. So in 2012, I got tickets when their Red Rocks shows were announced. Then they sort of started showing up where I was going to be, e.g., Glastonbury in 2013, nearby Guthrie, Okla, and then back to Kansas. In June 2013, the band cancelled a few shows on their tour for this album, when Ted, the bass player was stricken with an aneurysm. Really scary. But amazingly, he was recovered in time for Glastonbury at the end of the month.
All of these concerts took place before I ever heard them on the radio here in Wichita. I first recall hearing them on UK streaming radio, in 2010. Then four and a half years, and six concerts later, I was driving in my car in August 2014, and heard a snippet of ‘I Will Wait’, and then, “Hey Mumford and Sons fans, Wichita has an alternative station now!” Alternative? Okaaay….I don’t hear it. But I like the band, and I like alternative, so this radio station changing its format was a very welcome development.
While Babel is a studio album, I really prefer the good live videos of these songs on Youtube. They are at their best as a live outdoors band. Their more recent tours have been a lot of indoor arenas, which I can’t muster interest in. Maybe I’ll see them again sometime, provided it is where they belong–outdoors.
- Whispers in the Dark
- I Will Wait
- Holland Road
- Ghosts That We Knew
- Lover of the Light
- Lover’s Eyes
- Hopeless Wanderer
- Broken Crown
- Below My Feet
- Not With Haste
- For Those Below
- The Boxer (featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon)
- Where Are You Now
As for the bonus tracks, I was surprised at ‘The Boxer’. I thought it would be a lot better. But I do really enjoy ‘For Those Below’.