Tales from the Black Meadow is a collection of folklore, poems and music based around the strange occurrences and disappearances that occur on and around a place located high on the North York Moors called the Black Meadow, The piece also contains a long lost BBC documentary which tells the tale of a folklorist, Professor Roger Mullins, who mysteriously disappeared in 1972 whilst researching the folklore of the area.
Chris Lambert’s folk tales feature floating orbs, black dogs, shape- shifting figures, vanishings and a mysterious fog. They combine tales of the supernatural with elements of Forteana and a hint of HP Lovecraft. Kev Oyston’s atmospheric soundtrack provides the perfect accompaniment to the tales. His music is haunting and beautifully paced, evoking the spirit of the Radiophonic Workshop or perhaps a lost James Bernard soundtrack.
Tales from the Black Meadow is an ambitious venture; Lambert and Oyston have carefully crafted a pseudo-mythology. The piece has a lost in time quality which evokes memories of Hammer films such as The Wicker Man and 70’s TV shows such as Tales of the Unexpected and The Children of the Stones.
I read the book before I had properly listened to the CD version and initially felt a little disappointed. The tales are short and, unlike many folk tales, are written in quite a matter of fact manner. I felt that the tales may have been given a more genuine air if they had been infused with a little of the existing North Yorkshire folklore and a smattering of dialect. That said, my initial disappointment was dispelled when I heard the work as a whole and understood that this is a piece that is meant to be read aloud, the received pronunciation of the narrator combined with the wonderful soundtrack completely transforms the written word into a very enjoyable, timeless piece of audio theatre.
The album of music and the recently unearthed Radio 4 documentary from 1978 are available here:
The book ‘Tales from the Black Meadow’ is found here >
Kev Oyston/The Soulless Party will be playing at this event on the 15th of November.