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Anne Briggs

An Introduction To

    Anne Briggs has since been discovered by the present folk generation, male and female alike. Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby, Alasdair Roberts and Riley Walker, are among many who recognise Anne Briggs as an extraordinary, inspirational voice.

    Anne Briggs was born in Nottinghamshire in 1944 and began singing in local folk clubs in her teens. Her break came through the Centre 42 tour of 1962. This was a distinctly leftist group of artists, writers, actors and musicians whose lofty aim was to make arts and culture accessible to the masses. Local artists were invited to audition where Ewan MacColl first heard Briggs’ remarkable voice and persuaded her to join the tour. Briggs debut EP, The Hazards Of Love, was produced by Lloyd although Briggs never enjoyed recording and it was only though Lloyd’s coaxing that she contributed to his pioneering conceptual albums The Iron Muse and The Bird In The Bush. The first six, traditional, unaccompanied songs presented here are taken from these outstanding recordings made between 1963 and 1966 which display all the hallmarks of Anne Briggs artistry – pure, fluid and with flawless timing.

    It wasn’t until 1971 that Briggs eventually recorded her debut album for Topic. Anne Briggs (Topic LP 12T207) was again produced by Lloyd. Briggs draws almost exclusively from the classic repertoire of British folk, her performances are both pure and unusual. Famously, Briggs taught Jansch ‘Blackwater Side’, which he then made his own on his classic 1965 debut album; the next year his pivotal traditional album Jack Orion largely comprised songs he learnt from Briggs who helped him understand the structure of folk song. Briggs and Jansch also wrote a handful of songs together. One of these, ‘Go Your Way (My Love)’, was eventually recorded for her Topic album, as was her definitive treatment of ‘Blackwater Side’.

    June Tabor

    An Introduction To

      Not only one of Britain’s pre-eminent and impeccable traditional voices, June Tabor is quiet simply one of Britain’s greatest interpreters of popular song. Tabor has always made consistently exquisite records all graced by a pitch perfect voice that can be dark, romantic, poignant and angry according to the requirements of the song. This elegant introductory selection is drawn from Tabor’s albums for Topic recorded between her 1976 debut, Airs And Graces and 2011’s Ragged Kingdom which found her reuniting on record with the Oysterband for the first time in almost 30 years.

      The Warwick born and Oxford educated Tabor’s conversion to folk may have come in 1965 after seeing Martin Carthy on TV and hearing Anne Briggs’ inspiring Hazards of Love EP, but it was a further ten years before she sang professionally and even then, she still kept her job as a librarian, then restauranteur.

      June Tabor effortlessly mixes traditional and contemporary material, the former exemplified here by her early traditional recording of ‘While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping’ when she was still mastering the art of singing with accompaniment. The contemporary selections featured here include Eric Bogle’s classic antiwar piece ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ which Tabor had sung on her John Peel radio session debut in 1975 [Peel was a great fan and long-term supporter], Dan Penn and Chips Moman’s ‘The Dark End of the Street’ [with the Oysterband] and Maggie Holland’s anthemic ‘A Place Called England’. Significantly, this selection also focuses equally on June Tabor’s own compositions from her many Topic albums.

      Shirley Collins

      An Introduction To

        During the 1960s and ‘70s Shirley Collins was regarded by many as the first lady of folk music, the subsequent decades have only served to enhance that reputati on. Between 1955 and 1978 she recorded for the Folkways, Argo, Harvest and Topic labels. After the release of ‘For As Many As Will’ in 1978 she withdrew from performing and the music world aft er developing dysphonia. Shirley recently returned to recording after a very long hiatus and is still widely acknowledged as one of the finest singers and ambassadors to have emerged during the Folksong Revival of the 1960s.

        Few singers of the English folk revival have attempted as much on record as Collins – an extraordinary combination of fragility and power. “I like music to be fairly straightforward, simply embellished – the performance without histrionics allowing you to think about the song rather than telling you what to think.” Through an impressive series of experimental recordings Shirley established an extraordinarily sympathetic marriage of traditi onal songs handed down through generati ons of rural labouring people with ground breaking contemporary arrangements – recordings that have scarcely been equalled in subsequent decades. This collection draws together some of her most iconic recordings and will serve as an Introducti on to her very special catalogue of music.

        “Shirley Collins is without doubt one of England’s greatest cultural treasures.” Billy Bragg

        Martin Carthy

        Martin Carthy


          Martin Carthy's debut album on 180g vinyl, with optimized mastering specially for this 50th anniversary release. A classic first album, and one whose influence has continued to grow over the past fifty years.

          1965 saw the release of this groundbreaking LP, and heralded the arrival of a master folk singer and guitar player, with an uncredited appearance by his future longtime collaborator Dave Swarbrick on fiddle and mandolin.

          Eliza Carthy


          The daughter of guitarist / vocalist Martin Carthy and vocalist Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy has continued in her parents' footsteps and has become one of the leading lights of the new generation to carry on the folk tradition. She has almost assumed the mantle of Sandy Denny on her brilliant new album "Anglicana", her work again showcasing her ability to breathe new life into England's folk music. Eliza Carthy is one of the few people who can take this wonderful music and perform it in a totally convincing contemporary style - both true to its sources and firmly relevant to today's values. This is what traditional music in the twenty-first century is all about. A true triumph.

          Christine Collister

          Into The Light

          Christine Collister's "Into The Light" is her second solo album for Topic and finds her in great voice. More acoustic than her previous release, it's the closest album yet to capturing the live quality and personality of this outstanding singer. It's another mix of her own self-penned compositions and carefully chosen cover versions all of which highlight her resonant, warm vocal style.

          Various Artists

          Shining Bright -The Songs Of Lal And Mike Waterson

          In 1972 Mike and Lal Waterson released a magical album of their original songs, "Bright Phoebus" on Bill Leader's Trailer label. This collection of very English songwriting has long been acknowledged as a classic and one of the finest achievements of the British folk revival. "Shining Bright" was conceived to pay tribute To Mike and Lal's remarkable songs, and it draws upon the songs recorded for "Bright Phoebus", and on a further dozen songs written at the same time but not previously recorded. 15 new recordings by some of the folk world's finest performers, Norma Waterson, Dayteller, Maddy Prior, Richard Thompson, Eliza Carthy, Blue Murder, Dick Gaughan, Linda & Teddy Thompson, Helen Watson, Billy Bragg and The Blokes, Martin Carthy, Christy Moore, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, Christine Collister and Oliver Knight.

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