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ELIZA CARTHY Topic TSCD 482 Heat Light & Sound ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 55 mins, essential. It always seemed like too much to hope that Eliza, whom we met when she was ten, would be that prodigy that inherited voice and gift from both Mom (Norma Waterson) and Dad (Martin Carthy) and made of them a new and unique musical self. Well, eat my shorts, (to quote Frank's and my son Ben): Eliza's done it. This first solo album is a soaring, glorious triumph that gets some of its resonance from those good genes but is ablaze with her own genius. Her fiddle playing frolics around and through her singing, that aches as sweetly as Cleoma Falcon's. Mostly trad/arr E. Carthy -- bringing heat, light and sound to Cold Wet & Rainy Night, Blind Fiddler, Ten Thousand Miles, knockout versions of such splendid chunes as Cumberland Waltz, a couple of original songs, dynamite arrangements that draw on the skills of a clutch of musicians with some familiar-sounding last names, can it be that the folk revival really is being reborn? Eliza's cuz Olly Knight had a hand in this too. Please god let this spirit grow and flourish! (NSN)

 
ELIZA CARTHY Topic TSDCD 2001 Red Rice ● CD $22.98
2 CDs, 24 tracks, 108 mins, essential Two CD set from this brilliant young English performer who, on the evidence here, is the finest folk performer to emerge in England in the last few years. One disc is mostly traditional songs and tunes performed with acoustic arrangements and features some truly magnificent singing and playing by Eliza and her accompanying group. It's been a long time since I've heard such a moving performances as The American's Have Stolen My True Love Away and Benjamin Bowmaneer - the sort of singing that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. The other disc is different - a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs and tunes with more eclectic arrangements and use of electric and electronic instruments and varying rhythms. Most of it is very fine but the disc ends with a couple of bizarre instrumentals with extensive use of programmed electronic effects which seems to venture into avant gard music and is lost on me. But there is so much here that I find truly wonderful that this deserves an essential rating. It'll be interesting to see what direction Eliza takes in the future. (FS)

 
ELIZA CARTHY Topic TSCD 539 Anglicana ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, essential Superb new outing from the incredibly talented Ms Carthy. Except for one tune written as a birthday present for her father it's all traditional songs and tunes featuring spellbinding vocals and fiddle playing by her with various other musicians featured on vocal and/or instrumental backup. Her version of one of my favorite songs Just As The Tide was Flowing is worth the price of admission by itself.

  
ELIZA CARTHY & THE KINGS OF CALICUTT Topic TSCD 489 Eliza Carthy & The Kings Of Calicutt ● CD $15.98
Outstanding singer and fiddle player with her slightly electric band.

   
MARTIN CARTHY Topic 300 Crown Of Horn ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 53 mins, highly recommended 1976 classic album that first appeared on GAMA, now on CD. Martin Carthy is by now the doyen of the man-with-guitar folk troubadours, long the hardest-working man in (his part of) show-biz. But because he is the person he is -- as full of fire and joyous enthusiasm as he is of grand songs and tunes -- his repertoire is endlessly fresh, as seamless as the humdinger "trad plus a bit" ballads he's hammered out of his forebears' versions. This disc is the one that has his knockout Geordie, Willie's Lady, and that all-time classic which I'd here and now like to dedicate to wild wild women everywhere, Bonny Lass of Anglesey. Martin was at the height of his powers when these recordings were made, his pure tenor at his purest and his guitar blazing and drumming like the dancing feet of the above-mentioned Bonny Lass. Yesss! (NSN)

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic 340 Martin Carthy ● CD $15.98
14 tracks, 33 mins, recommended. Martin Carthy is justifiably one of the most popular, influential and respected figures on the English folk scene and has been for more than 25 years. A distinctive singer with an expressive nasal style he also developed a droning, percussive guitar style immensely suited to accompanying the traditional songs he specializes in. He is also a consummate researcher into finding good old songs and always credits his sources. This is a reissue of his first album, originally issued on Fontana in 1965 and reissued by Topic in 1977. Although yet to develop his distinctive guitar style and his voice not fully matured this album does not sound dated 28 years after its original release. On several tracks he is joined by an uncredited Dave Swarbrick on fiddle or mandolin. There are many fine performances including his version of Scarborough Fair that inspired the Simon & Garfunkel hit. It also includes the lovely and sad The Trees They Do Grow High, the humorous Lovely Joan, the powerful tale of sex and magic The Two Magicians with some wonderful Swarbrick fiddle, the grim Ewan MacColl/ Peggy Seeger composition Springhill Mine Disaster plus High Germany/ Sovay/ The Queen Of Hearts/ The Barley And The Rye/ The Handsome Cabin Boy, etc. CD sound is excellent and includes the original notes by Ian Campbell and Carthy. (FS)

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic TSCD 341 Second Album ● CD $15.98
13 tracks, 39 mins, essential. Another superb collection of traditional songs from Britain's finest accompanied on many tracks by Dave Swarbrick on fiddle or mandolin. Martin's scond album, it was originally issued by Fontana in 1966 and reissued by Topic in 1977. Martin's voice and guitar playing had strengthened since his first album as had Swarbrick's playing. There are some exceptional songs here - including Two Butchers/ Farewell Nancy, the moving Lord Franklin/ Lowlands Of Holland/ Box On Her Head Brave Wolfe and my favorite Newlyn Town which has more energy than most electric bands. Excellent CD sound and notes on all the songs by Martin. (FS)

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic 345 Landfall ● CD $15.98

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic TSCD 389 Because It's There ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 41 mins., recommended. Though not considered one of Martin's classics, this 1979 album is still a generous helping of wonderful Carthy storytelling and solid guitar work. Martin brackets most of the album between two settings of Gilbert O'Sullivan's thoughtful piece Nothing Rhymed, nicely unifying the bracketed trad ballads of love, cruelty, mystic wonder, and sly fun. Then, after tying the rest together, Martin delivers a stunning, long ballad Death of Young Andrew, to leave the whole affair with a chilling echo. Mostly it's just Martin's voice and guitar, though he also steps out on mandolin and has John Kirkpatrick on squeezeboxes on five tracks and Howard Evans on a touch of Brass Monkey trumpet for color. You'll want to sit and listen top to bottom to the carefully paced stories, broken up by a Morris tune or two. (DC)

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic 418 Sweet Wivelsfield ● CD $15.98

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic 426 Out Of The Cut ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, 44 mins, recommended First out in 1982, this Carthy opus features his Brass Monkey pals John Kirkpatrick and Howard Evans on several tracks and some faraway, ringing Richard Thompson on one, though the most scorching songs are the ones delivered solo. These are the British ballads dished up in Carthy's uniquely hypnotic and angular style, disarmingly direct, with fragmentary chords wrenched from the guitar. Reynard the Fox and Rufford Park Poachers are prime, nearly perfect Carthy, while guitarists may tear their hair out trying to learn Molly Oxford from this recordingan amazing old dance tune. The whole is a bit slow, subdued, occasionally sedate, with Carthy always clear and in control. Meditative and haunting, these ballads will stay with you. (DC)

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic TSCD 452 Right Of Passage ● CD $15.98
 

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic TSCD 503 Signs Of Life ● CD $15.98
Fabulous new album from this British folk giant. In addition to the expected traditional songs there some surprising, but very effective, versions of some songs of more recent vintage including The Bee-Gees New York Mine Disaster, 1941 and Elvis's Heartbreak Hotel! Daughter Eliza provides superb fiddle back up on several tracks.

 
MARTIN CARTHY Topic TSCD 750 A Collection ● CD $13.98
Wonderful, budget priced, collection featuring 12 songs drawn from Martin's first six albums recorded for Fontana between 1965 and 1971 - The Trees They Do Grow High/ The Bloody Gardener/ Seven Yellow Gypsies/ Scarborough Fair/ Davy Lowston/ Polly On The Shore, etc. Dave Swarbricks lends his fiddle accompaniment on three of the tracks.

 
MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK Green Linnet GLCD 3052 Life And Limb ● CD $14.98
Simply wonderful! Back in the mid/ late 60s the combination of Martin Carthy's vocals and guitars and Dave Swarbrick's fiddle was a joyous and unique one of the British folk scene. Although this is their first recording together in more than 20 years you would never know. The perform together with an empathy that is almost uncanny. Both performers have progressed greatly as musicians but their individual egos do not get in the way and Swarbrick's occasional tendency to get flashy is held in check here. The songs and tunes, mostly traditional includes new versions of songs they had recorded before (Sovay/ Byker Hill) with new arrangements, songs they had not recorded together before (The Begging Song/ Bows Of London a wonderful reworking of "Two Sisters" /Oh Dear Oh and others), a Carthy original (A Question Of Sport) and some gorgeous instrumental sets. Although recorded live, the sound has a studio quality to it with all the vocal and instrumental resonances intact. Reunions do not always work but this one is 100% successful. Highly recommended! (FS)

 
MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK Green Linnet GLCD 3075 Skin And Bone ● CD $14.98
14 tracks, 57 min., essential. Now available domestically. All lovers of balladry - any kind of balladry - should hear how these two consummately intuitive masters play off each other as if sharing the same central nervous system. Nothing remains to be said about Carthy's hypnotic approach to ballads, how he makes them breathe, how his guitar punctuation adds unique fire and life to them. And under Swarbrick's fingers the fiddle cries and exults with the full range of human emotion. The repertoire on this new release is fascinating - filled with unhappy love, violence, incest, and surprises. Swarbrick steps out in front for a few instrumentals, and the two deliver exciting new readings of the racing classic Skewbald and the slow and stately Clyde's Water. Get this CD. It doesn't get any better than this. (DC)

 
MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK Topic TSCD 342 Byker Hill ● CD $15.98
Reissue of Carthy & Swarbrick's third album originally issued on Fontana in 1967 and the album where the talents of these two remarkable musicians coalesce into a musical oneness. Some of the most exciting and chilling performances here are those where Martin's vocals are accompanied only by Swarbrick's fiddle. Such songs as The Fowler/ The Bloody Gardener /Our Captain Cried All Hands achieve a remarkable intensity with this arrangements. In contrast such risque pieces as Gentleman Soldier and The Barley Straw all benefit from Swarbrick's sprightly fiddle. Other songs feature both fiddle and Carthy's guitar including the title song with it's unusual rhythms and the stunning version of John Barleycorn. Other songs are performed unaccompanied or with guitar accompaniment only and all are superb. 13 of the 14 songs are traditional - the one exception being Bertolt Brecht's moving The Wife Of the Soldier. Remastering is superb and there are detailed notes on the songs by Martin and A.L. Lloyd and more general notes on the album by Ken Hunt. Highly recommended. (FS)

 
MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK Topic TSCD 343 But Two Came By ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 40 mins, essential. Yes, I know - I'm rating nearly all these Carthy album reissues as essential but I really do believe they are! Martin is not only a brilliant performer but he shows impeccable taste in his choice of songs and arrangements. Once again, on this 1968 album, he is accompanied by Dave Swarbrick on fiddle and mandolin on about half the cuts - the fiddle playing on Jack Orion is simply ecstatic. This album marked the first appearance of contemporary songs in Martin's recordings - Sidney Carter's powerful Lord Of the Dance and Leon Rosselson's grim Brass Band Music. This album also includes a version of one of the bloodiest of all murder ballads - Long Lankin - it's like something out of a horror movie - "There's blood in the kitchen/ There's blood in the hall/ There's blood in the bower where my lady did fall"! Other songs include Ship In Distress/ Matt Hyland/ Poor Murdered Woman/ Streets Of Forbes, etc. Not to be missed! (FS)

 
MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK Topic TSCD 344 Prince Heathen ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 45 mins, essential Another Carthy/ Swarbrick classic now on CD. This 1969 album was the last collaboration by the duo prior to their recent reunion and is possibly their best. It is a superb album in every respect and is highlighted by a stunning version of the grisly title ballad. It also features another long murder ballad - Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard. There is a beautiful version of Polly On The Shore plus Arthur McBride And The Sergeant/ Died For Love/ Reynardine/ The Wren, etc. Not to be missed! (FS)

 
SHIRLEY & DOLLY COLLINS Fledg'ling 3019 For As Many As Will ● CD $15.98
Reissue of 1978 Topic album

 
SHIRLEY COLLINS Fledg'ling 3023 Adieu To Old England ● CD $15.98
15 tracks, mins, highly recommended. Another superb Shirley Collins Topic album reissued on CD. This one is from 1974 and, in addition to cuts accompanied by the spine chilling sound of sister Dolly's flute organ there are other accompaniments featuring members of the Etchingham Steam Band and The Albion Band in varying combinations - Terry Potter/ mouth organ, John Watcham/ concertina, Bill Molan/ melodeon, vocals & percussion, Ian Holder/ accordian, Geoff Singleton/ fiddle & vocal, Simon Nicol/ guitar and others. The songs are all English traditional and often uncommon ones - Down By The Seaside/ Adieu To Old England (a beautiful acapella performances)/ I Sing Of A Maiden That Is Makeless/ The Ram Of Derbish Town/ Horkstow Grange/ Spaniards Cry/ One Night As I Lay On My Bed (Bob Stewart adds some beautiful plucked psaltery playing to this one) / Coronation Jig, etc. (FS)

 
SHIRLEY COLLINS Topic TSCD 476 The Sweet Primeroses ● CD $15.98
20 tracks, 63 minutes, highly recommended. Shirley Collins is one of England's finest interpreters of English traditional song. Though not a technically accomplished singer, her breathy vulnerable style brings a convincing sincerity to everything she does. This CD features all of Topic 170 originally issued in 1967 along with the four track E.P. "Heroes In Love" from 1963. On a number of the songs she is accompanied by her sister Dolly on portative organ which provides a beautiful and haunting backdrop to Shirley's vocals, other tracks feature Shirley accompanying herself on guitar or banjo and a few are unaccompanied. A couple of cuts feature a chorus that were not allowed to be identified on the original album though it is pretty obvious who they were - the Young Tradition. Songs include some of the cornerstones of English folk song such as as All Things Are Quite Silent/ Polly Vaughan/ Streets Of Derry/ George Collins/ False True Love/ Spencer The Rover/ Rambleaway and one of my all time favorites - The Sweet Primroses - a lovely song under any circumstances but the combination of Shirley's vocals and Dolly organ playing are mesmerizing and never fails to send a shiver down my spine. Almost as good is the chilling Cruel Mother where Shirley's limited banjo playing and the chorus lends the song an eerie ambience. CD sound is excellent. Booklet includes original introduction by A.L. Lloyd and notes on all the songs by Shirley. (FS)

 
LEE COLLINSON Fledg'ling 3003 Slip The Driver A Fiver ● CD $16.98
10 tracks, 43 mins., recommended. Meet a new face on the British folk scene who attacks his guitar a la Martin Simpson. He burns through high-octane numbers like Never Been to Texas and Me and Billy the Kid backed by a sleek band featuring Christine Collister on harmonies behind his youthful, unmannered tenor. Lee has a taste for highly melodic songs. Those most likely to get stuck in your head from this CD may be David Whiffen's Driving Wheel and Terry Allen's Beautiful Waitress, though Lee snaps and slides his way through all with equal confidence. Lord Mayor's March has an early Jansch tang about it. But overall, Lee's playing will remind you of Martin Simpson's, and he's one of the rare players who can stand up to the comparison at all. But his voice is his own and the British scene is richer for it. (DC)

 
CHRISTINE COLLISTER Fledg'ling 3010 Blue Aconite ● CD $16.98

 
CHRISTINE COLLISTER Green Linnet GLCD 3106 Live! ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 59 mins., good. Taken from a live concert in the Isle of Man in May 1994, Christine blasts her way through 14 songs and an encore with the help of Rory McFarlane on bass and vocal harmonies and Howard Lees on guitar and vocal harmonies. Christine is so cranked up throughout this set it's a little unnerving, though with her choice of material it's hard to do it any other way. Opening with Rickie Lee Jones' Last Chance Texaco, she covers T-Bone Burnett's The Bird That I Held in My Hand, kd lang's Outside Myself, and Randy Newman's Guilty with torchy conviction. Her one original in the set, Starting All Over is a rare moment of controlled passion. For the rest, this songer gives everything to every song, finishing up with a bow to Bonnie Raitt on Love Me Like a Man. (DC)

 
THE COPPER FAMILY Topic TSCD 534 Come Write Me Down - The Early Recordings ● CD $19.98
28 tracks, essential
The Copper Family of Rottingdean on the Sussex coast have maintained a tradition of harmony singing for something like 200 years and have been incredibly influential on the English folk scene. Their style of harmony singing was to inspire groups like The Watersons, Young Tradition, Swan Arcade and others and the versions of the songs they preserved have become staples of the folk movement throughout the world - Spencer The Rover/ Thousands Or More/ Banks Of Sweet Primeroses/ Shepherd Of The Down/ Sportsmen Arouse/ Hard Times Of Old England/ Claudy Banks/ Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy and others - many of them dealing with rural life in England. The first recordings of the Coppers were made around 1950 and the recordings here were made between the early 50s and early 60s and features brothers Jim & John, Jim's son Bob and John's son Ron. They perform in various groupings as well as an occasional solo and the results are beautifully moving and compelling. The CD is accompanied by two booklets - a 60 page booklet with details of the life, times and music of the Coppers and a 36 page booklet with a detailed discussion of the recordings on the CD - each illustrated with vintage photos. Now in his late 80s Bob Copper continues to lead members of his family in continuing the tradition of the Copper Family. This is music that is both beautiful and important. (FS)

 

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