Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles

TSCD427 ALISTAIR ANDERSON ~ STEEL SKIES 

TSCD427 webScored for a group of musicians including fiddles, flutes, mandolins and Alistair Anderson’s concertina and Northumbrian smallpipes, Steel Skies is a magnificent suite of composed tunes with roots deep in the traditional music of the British Isles. The compositions take from the tradition but expand on it creating a rich and rewardingly-subtle whole. Originally released in 1982, this wonderful album has a justly sterling reputation among those who have heard it, calling out for a re-release on CD. Alistair Anderson’s mastery of the concertina is legendary, but it is the concept and the beauty of the music here that may take your breath away.

“This is new music but with its roots deep in the traditional music of the British Isles. The traditional musician takes old tunes and polishes them like gemstones, revealing new facets of the melodies at every turn. The vitality such musicians bring to their music has always been an inspiration to me, and Steel Skies is a personal response to this.” – Alistair Anderson.

“The range and balance of Anderson’s melodies take your breath away” fROOTS

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JUNE TABOR ~ ROSA MUNDI TSCD532

Any new album from a performer described by The Guardian as “one of the great singers of any genre” is an event in itself, but this time, June has chosen a programme of material reflecting her two great passions – music and the land. The material is drawn from an extraordinarily varied range of sources ranging from Tchaikovsky to Les Barker, from the 15th Century to the present day, from the esoteric to the beautifully simple. All centre on tales of the rose; whether sacred, secular or as a symbol of love.

Rosa Mundi, June Tabor’s celebration of the rose, re-enforces her standing as a singer of considerable importance with a startling ability to imbue material with clarity and exquisite beauty, using a voice that, over a thirty year period, has won her world-wide admiration and acclaim.

“the greatest folk singer currently working …. a set that both transcends its theme and makes complete sense of it” ★★★★ Q Magazine

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BRASS MONKEY ~ HEAD OF STEAM TSCD575

The original English powerhouse brass-meets-folk band returned with a new album for 2009.

• “..a swashbuckling selection of tunes and songs performed so invigoratingly……” fRoots
• “The tunes in particular take on a new life, as the brass dominates the guitar and Kirkpatrick’s excellent melodeon, but the songs are also wonderful.” Acoustic
• “Since the early 80s they have brought the emotional fervour and rhythmic fire of colliery bands to English dance music and traditional songs – their recordings are a delight. Mighty and joyful.” ★★★★ Songlines

Paul Archibald trumpets, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, chorus vocals
Martin Brinsford percussion, harmonica, saxophone, chorus vocals
Martin Carthy guitar, vocals
John Kirkpatrick button accordion, anglo concertina, melodeon, vocals
Roger Williams bass and tenor trombones, euphonium, chorus vocals

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TSCD464 BLOW THE MAN DOWN ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS

TSCD464 webSea songs and shanties
A treasure-chest of seafaring songs delivered by such fine inter-preters as Louis Killen, The Watersons, Bob Davenport, Ian Campbell and Cyril Tawney. The two dozen performances include some of the best-known of all British sea songs and shanties, evoking a long and turbulent history of shipwrecks and sea-battles, of tall ships and whalers and the men who sailed in them.

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FAREWELL, MY OWN DEAR NATIVE LAND: SONGS OF EXILE & EMIGRATION TSCD654

tscd654 webVolume 4 of The Voice of The People.
Songs of exile and emigration.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 PADDY TUNNEY voice: The Green Fields Of Canada
2 MARY ANN HAYNES voice: Erin’s Lovely Home
3 EDDIE BUTCHER voice: Killyclare
4 WALTER PARDON voice: Van Dieman’s Land
5 MARGARET BARRY voice & banjo: If You Ever Go Over To lreland
6 MICHAEL COLEMAN fiddie with piano: Farewell To lreland / Unidentified
7 GEORDIE HANNA voice: Brockagh Brae
8 CYRIL POACHER voice: Australia
9 WILLIE ROSS bagpipes: Leaving St. Kilda
10 PADDY TUNNEY voice: Craigie Hill
11 TOMMY McGRATH voice: She Lived Beside The Anner
12 WILLIE SCOTT voice: You Boys O’Callieburn
13 MARGARET BARRY & MICHAEL GORMAN voice, banjo & fiddle: Eileen McMahon
14 SARAH ANNE O’NEILL voice: Carrickmannon Lake
15 MICHAEL GROGAN accordeon: My Love She’s In America / Hand Me Down The Tackle
16 WILLIE CLANCY voice: Erin’s Lovely Lee
17 CHRIS WILLETT voice: The Old Miser
18 MARGARET BARRY & MACHAEL GORMAN voice, banjo & fiddle: Farewell, My Own Dear Native Land
19 SARAH ANNE O’NEILL voice: John Reilly
20 PADDY BREEN voice: Sweet Inishcara

Available now from:
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WE’VE RECEIVED ORDERS TO SAIL: JACKIE TAR AT SEA & ON SHORE TSCD662

tscd662 webVolume 12 of The Voice of The People.
Jackie Tar at sea and on shore.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

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DAVE SWARBRICK ~ RAGS, REELS & AIRS TSCD517 

A lost classic, first released in 1967 and immediately recognised as a recording landmark. Rags, Reels & Airs focuses solely on Dave Swarbrick and it finally gave him a chance to really stretch out and demonstrate his leading instrumental prowess. The result was a new era of English instrumental folk music and a new approach to folk music altogether.

Rags, Reels & Airs was produced by Joe Boyd, who would soon introduce Dave Swarbrick to Fairport Convention – the result of which was Liege & Lief and a whole new era for folk and rock music. Joe Boyd’s sleeve notes included this comment: ‘This record should provide ample evidence of the fact that Dave Swarbrick is doing perhaps the finest job of reconciling traditional instrumental styles with modern ideas and technique’.

Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin, 8-string fiddle
with
Martin Carthy guitar
Diz Disley guitar

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MARTIN SIMPSON ~ RIGHTEOUSNESS & HUMIDITY TSCD540

“The nearest thing this country has to Ry Cooder” The Big Issue.

Released in August 2003, this follow up to the award-winning album The Bramble Briar is a collection of new recordings, this time drawn from the American tradition and featuring his unequalled instrumental and vocal ability. As Martin says in his album notes, this record allows him to tip his hat to the music and people of the Southern US, and features a mix of traditional song and Martin’s own compositions. Alongside his singing, Martin plays acoustic guitar, ukulele, electric guitar, lap-steel, percussion, 5-string banjo and slide guitar. Much of the album was recorded in New Orleans and he is joined by a crack team of local musicians. Steeleye Span’s Rick Kemp features on some of the tracks recorded in the UK.

• “Martin Simpson demonstrates all over again that he is one of the great exponents of folk-blues guitar playing and his evocative vocal style fits the material perfectly.” The Scotsman
• “Martin Simpson is a guitarist of extraordinary accomplishment and versatility – creates the sound-world in which dramas are played out….instrumental brilliance” ★★★★ Songlines
• “16 wonderful and varied pieces – it is a hell of a musical experience – another stunning piece of work to cherish” Rogue Folk Magazine

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WHO’S THAT AT MY BED WINDOW?: SONGS OF LOVE AND AMOROUS ENCOUNTERS TSCD660

tscd660 webVolume 1o of The Voice of The People.
Songs of love and amorous encounters.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 BOB HART voice: Seventeen Come Sunday
2 FRED HEWETT voice: Three Maidens To Milking Did Go
3 JEANNIE ROBERTSON voice: When I Was Noo But Sixteen
4 POP MAYNARD voice: Rolling In The Dew
5 WILLIE SCOTT voice: The Bonnie Wee Tramping Lass
6 PADDY TUNNEY voice: The Old Petticoat
7 HARVEY NICHOLSON voice: The Copshawholm Butcher
8 JOHN REILLY voice: Adieu Unto All True Lovers
9 JIMMY McBEATH voice: The Bold English Navy
10 SARAH ANNE O’NEILL voice: Standing In Yon Flowery Garden
11 GEOFF LING voice: Died For Love
12 BELLE STEWART voice: Betsy Bell
13 JIM SWAIN voice: The Banks Of Sweet Mossing
14 FRANK QUINN voice & fiddle: The Tan Yard Side
15 PADDY BREEN voice: On The Banks Of The Silvery Tide
16 LIZZIE HIGGINS voice: The Banks Of Red Roses
17 JUMBO BRIGHTWELL voice: Blow The Candle Out
18 SARAH MAKEM voice: The Factory Girl
19 POP MAYNARD voice: The Seeds Of Love
20 PADDY TONNEY voice: Blackwaterside
21 JIMMY McBEATH voice: The Wind Blew The Lassie’s Plaidie Awa
22 FREDA PALMER voice: The Wandering Girl
23 PHOEBE SMITH voice: Captain Thunderball
24 WALTER PARDON voice: Let The Wind Blow High Or Low
25 MARGARET BARRY voice & banjo: She Moved Through The Fair

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



TSCD905 FOLK MUSIC OF BULGARIA

Lying between Europe and Asia, Bulgaria displays in its traditional music both the formal solidity of the West and the exotic colouring of the East. These recordings, mostly collected by A.L. Lloyd on trips in 1954 and 1963, are very diverse, including instrumental solos on the stringed tambura, dyudyuk (flute) and gadulka (fiddle), band music and songs for various functions. Especially captivating is the women’s singing, whether solo or in group polyphony.

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FAY HIELD ~ LOOKING GLASS TSCD573

Fay Hield has been singing traditional songs from an alarmingly early age. She was active in the lively music scene centred around the Famous Bacca Pipes Folk Club in Keighley, was instrumental in launching the Haworth Arts Festival and was part of a highly-regarded duo with Damien Barber. In 2001 she helped form The Witches Of Elswick – a female acapella quartet.

After a year or two off the folk radar, Fay returned to public view via occasional performances with partner Jon Boden. By this time she and Jon had fetched up on the moorland fringes of Sheffield. In 2009 a new concert line-up with Rob Harbron (English Acoustic Collective) and Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead) came into being, built around a striking repertoire of often obscure material drawn from rarely-thumbed collections. The Trio’s first outing, at the Oxford Festival in 2009, was flagged up approvingly by Acoustic Magazine as their Gig Of The Month, commenting: “….. Contained within a festival bursting at the seams with talent, this performance really stood out as one of the highlights.”

Some months ago Topic’s Tony Engle heard Fay’s new recordings. Her classic voice and the unusual selection of material quickly resulted in Topic’s first signing in a number of years.

Fay Hield’s debut solo CD Looking Glass is a spicy stew of songs and ballads, catches and caprices. The title track is a Peter Bellamy setting of a Rudyard Kipling poem. Instrumentation includes fiddles, concertina, nyckelharpa and guitar. The sound is at once crafty and nimble, airy and graceful, full of zest and nuance, sensitive to the tradition yet utterly distinctive. Fay leads with a voice whose rough edges are still thrillingly intact, and which goes straight to the living heart of the songs.

  • “Looking Glass is one of the best albums Topic has released for many years. I absolutely love it.” Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2
  • “An album of real depth and substance.” Colin Irwin, fRoots
  • “Hield is a rare talent.” ★★★★ Uncut
  • “There’s a real depth and richness to her singing.” ★★★★ Mojo
  • “Her strong voice, with soft, comforting northern tones delivered songs from the length and breadth of the country… Contained within a festival bursting at the seams with talent, this performance really stood out as one of the highlights.” Acoustic Magazine

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TSCD927 OUT OF CUBA: LATIN AMERICAN MUSIC TAKES AFRICA BY STORM

This HMV GV series is a catalogue of roughly 250 double sided 78rpm discs issued between 1933 and about 1958, comprising almost entirely Latin music, mainly from Cuba but also from Puerto Rico and Brazil. It drew on recordings originated by Gramaphone and Victor (hence the GV prefix). The series was aimed initially at the West African market, but subsequently reached and became very popular across the entire African continent, particularly in the Congos.

This CD provides a snapshot of what African musicians heard as they listened to the GV recordings on record, on the radio and live in local bars.

• “If you want to understand why so many African bands have been so influenced by Cuban music, look no further than this great album. Superbly compiled, the album has informative liner notes (a neat mix of erudition and vivid anecdote) coupled with photos of the period.” ★★★★ Songlines

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TSCD906 FOLK MUSIC OF YUGOSLAVIA

Visiting the Yugoslav republics of Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia and Macedonia, the collector Wolf Dietrich recorded these fascinating vocal solos and duets and tunes played on bagpipes, fiddles, flutes and clarinets. The raw part-singing of amateur village performers is of particular beauty.

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TSCD463 EWAN MacCOLL ~ THE REAL MacCOLL

TSCD463 webThis powerful compilation from MacColl’s many recordings made for the Topic label during the 1950s and ’60s gathers ballads and songs of nationhood, crime and punishment, mining and weaving. Many are traditional, but some are MacColl’s own compositions and include such widely known pieces as Dirty Old Town and The Gresford Disaster.

Ewan MacColl vocals
Peggy Seeger accompaniments

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MARTIN CARTHY ~ WAITING FOR ANGELS TSCD527

Waiting For Angels was a very long-awaited solo album from Martin Carthy, the previous one Signs of Life was six years before. This splendid album was produced by Eliza Carthy & Ben Ivitsky, sees Martin at the peak of his creativity and ability and the Carthy/Ivitsky production puts the music firmly in 21st century. Four of the tracks feature Martin solo, and on the remainder, he is marvellously and creatively backed by a number of great musicians. The album includes four instrumental tracks showcasing Martin’s unique skills – the title track itself is a Carthy composition. He also revisits the remarkable Famous Flower of Serving Men to produce the definitive version of this classic (his earlier recording was recorded back in 1972, nearly 30 years before.

• “A remarkable album” A Folk Album of the Year 2004 ★★★★ Mojo
• “Arguably the greatest English folk song performer, writer, collector end editor of them all….his guitar playing is stunning. The undisputed highlight is…Famous Flower of Serving Men.” Q Magazine
• “As much of a landmark as anything he did in ….the sixties and seventies…the key track is Famous Flower of Serving Men…you hang on for dear life to every word as the horrific story of infanticide, evil and bloody revenge unfolds…..plenty of outstanding guitar.” fROOTS

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TSCD467 BRASS MONKEY ~ THE COMPLETE BRASS MONKEY 

TSCD467 webThe group’s two ’80s albums, combined here, are full of fresh arrangements of traditional songs and tunes. ‘Brass Monkey was a great idea,’ said Martin Carthy. ‘A phenomenal experience.’ Q called it ‘the finest folk group of the 1980s.’

It should have been acknowledged in the booklet for this CD that the image used is an enlarged detail from “Stooking”, from “The Farmer’s Year” (1933, Collins & Co, London) by Clare Leighton, copyright Clare Leighton Estate.

Martin Carthy guitar, mandolin, vocals
John Kirkpatrick Anglo-concertina, melodeon, button accordion, vocals
Howard Evans trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals
Martin Brinsford c-melody saxophone, mouth-organ, percussion
Roger Williams trombone, vocals
Richard Cheetham trombone

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TSCD904 FOLK MUSIC OF ALBANIA

Albania’s turbulent past, with its patchwork history of occupation, has produced a traditional rural music of remarkable variety as well as great beauty. Unaccompanied heroic ballads, funeral laments and political and lyrical songs are interspersed with dance-tunes on various lutes, flutes and reed instruments and by small bands. Recorded in the field in 1965 by A.L.Lloyd.

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ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON ~ GIFT TSCD579


Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson are quite simply two of Britain’s finest exponents of traditional song. They have recorded independently and together on many occasions over the years. GIFT is the first duo release from this widely acclaimed mother and daughter.
With their rich, distinctive and authentic voices they have effortlessly engaged new audiences and admirers across the generations. Widely acknowledged leading lights of the folk scene with enviable international reputations, both have received numerous BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards during the past decade, and nominations for the prestigious Mercury Music Award.

GIFT is the album that their fans have been waiting for, and features an intriguing and powerful mix of traditional and contemporary songs. From traditional folk classics – Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Bunch of Thyme – through jazz-infused or Old Timey gems – Ukelele Lady, Prairie Lullaby – the album continues to enchant the listener. No matter what the origin, Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson bring all these songs to life with their great musicality and wonderfully compassionate voices.

Mojo Magazine has already declared GIFT to be “a classic” The album, produced at Panda Sound by Oliver Knight and Eliza Carthy, features a stellar supporting cast of friends and family, including Anne, Mike and Marry Waterson (vocals), Danny Thompson (double bass), Martin Simpson (banjo), Aidan Curran (guitar), Martin Carthy (guitar) and Roger Williams from Brass Monkey (trombone).

Poor Wayfaring Stranger : ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON by Topic Records

Eliza Carthy – “Eliza Carthy is one of the figureheads of the English folk revival…compelling” Evening Standard
Norma Waterson“Possibly the finest English singer alive today” Mojo

ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON’s splendid duo album GIFT scooped two awards at the prestigious 2011BBC Radio2 Folk Awards in London.

Album of the Year
Gift by ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON

Traditional Recording of the Year
Poor Wayfaring Stranger by ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON

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TSCD480 ENGLISH & SCOTTISH FOLK BALLADS ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS

TSCD480 webThe folk ballad,’ wrote A.L.Lloyd, ‘is a folk tale put into verse and set to music. Among British ballads are some of the oldest as well as greatest folksongs we have.’ His claim is trenchantly justified by this exceptional collection, as dramas of the distant past are restaged in vibrant performances by Ewan MacColl, Anne Briggs, Louis Killen, Mike Waterson, Norman Kennedy and Lloyd himself.

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RANTING & REELING: DANCE MUSIC OF THE NORTH OF ENGLAND TSCD669

tscd669 webVolume 19 of The Voice of The People.
Dance Music of the North of England.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 WILL ATKINSON mouth-organ: Hexham Races / The Stool Of Repentance
2 TOM HUNTER & BILLY BALLANTINE fiddle & piccolo: The Gilsland Hornpipe
3 NED PEARSON fiddle: Untitled Hornpipe. Untitled Polka
4 BILLY BALLANTINE piccolo: Bonny North Tyne
5 WILLY TAYLOR fiddle: The Braemar Gathering /J.D. Burgess
6 WILL ATKINSON mouth-organ: The Friendly Visit / The Greencastle / The Lass On The Strand
7 WILLY TAYLOR, JOE HUTTON & WILL ATKINSON fiddle, small pipes & rnouth-organ: Christie MacLeod / The Gallowglass Rant / Charlie Hunter
8 JIM RUTHERFORD fiddle: The Morpeth Rant
9 ARTHUR MARSHALL melodeon & THE LOFTUS SWORD DANCERS The Oyster Girl – lst Figure. The Lass Of Dallowgill – 2nd Figure.
10 WILLY TAYLOR fiddle: Willy Taylor’s Polka. There’s Nae Good Luck
11 WILLY TAYLOR accordeon: The Pop Along Polka
12 WILLY TAYLOR, JOE HUTTON & Will ATKINSON fiddle, small pipes & mouth-organ: Mrs. Jamieson’s Favourite / Parnell’s March
13 NED PEARSON fiddle: The Polka Mazurka. Paddle Your Own Canoe
14 WILL ATKINSON mouth-organ: Farewell To The Creeks
15 ADAM GRAY fiddle: Tom Hepple’s Polka. The Tow House Polka
16 ROB FORRESTER mouth-organ, with ALF ADAMSON’S BAND The Wild Rover / Copshawholm Fair / Yon Flowery Garden
17 WILL ATKINSON rnouth-organ: J.B.Milne / The New High Level
18 DAVIE ROGERSON fiddle: The Tenpenny Bit / The Rakes Of Kildare / I Lost My Love And I Care Not. Untitled Reel
19 BILLY BALLANTINE & JIMMY HUNTER piccolo & mouth-organ: Rosalie, The Prairie Flower. My Lodging / Blow The Wind Southerly
20 NED PEARSON fiddle: Corn-Rigs. Untitled Jig For The Sylph 1. Untitled Jig For The Sylph 2
21 WILL ATKINSON mouth-organ: Longueval
22 JAKE HUTTON, TOM HUNTER & BILLY BALLANTINE two fiddles & piccolo: The Kielder Schottische
23 BILLY BALLANTINE piccolo: The Sylph. Proudlock’s Hornpipe
24 NED PEARSON fiddle: The Highland Laddie. The Pin Reel The Cambo March
25 WILL ATKINSON mouth-organ: A.M.Shinnie / The Hogmaney Jig / Elizabeth Adair
26 DAVIE ROGERSON fiddle: Untitled Hornpipe. The Swallow’s Tail
27 THE CHEVIOT RANTERS band: The Ideal Schottische
28 WILLY TAYLOR, JOE HUTTON & WILL ATKINSON fiddle, small pipes & mouth-organ: Kelso Accordion And Fiddle Club / Linda McFarlane / The Scairlaveg

Available now from:
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MARTIN SIMPSON ~ TRUE STORIES TSCD578 

Everyone knows that Martin Simpson is one of the greatest guitarists in the world, combining immaculate technique with a highly musical sensitivity and sensibility.
Martin Simpson’s last album was a breakthrough, establishing him as a songwriter of real character and understanding as well as a master musician, propelling him to a new level in his career. Always energetic, always resourceful and never content to stand still, Martin continues to grow as an artist – musician and composer – putting his all into each new project, with the result that True Stories is his best album yet.

True Stories is evenly divided between traditional songs and tunes (English and American) and Martin’s original compositions. It ranges from solo guitar instrumentals to full band arrangements featuring some of the finest musicians anywhere: Danny Thompson on bass, Radiohead’s drummer Philip Selway, B J Cole on pedal steel, fiddle from Bellowhead’s frontman, Jon Boden and accordion from Andy Cutting …. and many others.

★★★★ Observer Music Magazine

“A very classy set” ★★★★ The Guardian

“True Stories is awash with things to admire and love.” Guitar & Bass Magazine

“Martin Simpson returns with an album that confidently walks a tightrope over the gulf between tradition and contemporary songwriting – this is folk at its finest” Sunday Mercury

“A very different animal to Prodigal Son, but in its own way, equally formidable. He sweeps from down’n’dirty to tender reflection in the blink of an eye” ★★★★ MOJO

“A guitar god in the US, Simpson has been blending folk and country blues for four decades. Danny Thompson and Radiohead’s Philip Selway are among his helpers on this tasty mix of trad and original material” ★★★ Q Magazine

“Featuring seven consummately crafted originals interspersed with six standards True Stories eclipses his 2007 masterpiece Prodigal Son in terms of execution and eclecticism” ★★★★★ The Australian

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TSCD908 FOLK MUSIC OF TURKEY

The village music of Turkey, collected by Wolf Dietrich in the ’60s and ’70s, includes pastoral airs on flutes, festival music on davul (drum) and zurna (oboe) and songs intricately accompanied on the saz and cumbus lutes. There are also examples of dance music on the bagpipe and kemence fiddle.

Central & Southern Anatolia
1  Anamur yollan
2  Üç oyan havansi
Sirtindaki yeleği / Kara tren gelmez mi? / Üçayakhalay havasi
3  Üçayak, halay
4  Uzun hava
5  Silifke oyun havasi
6  Avşar beyler
7  Sarasy yollan
Black Sea area
8  Maçka horon havasi
9  Yüksek Hemşin
Eastern Anatolia
10  Şeyh Samil
11  Kōylü düğün havasi
12  Dadaloğlu nun Avşar türküsü

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



TSCD426 MARTIN CARTHY ~ OUT OF THE CUT

TSCD426 webAn updated Rigs of the Time and Jack Rowland‘s long story of magic metamorphosis are among the many arresting moments on this 1982 set, for which Martin Carthy is again joined by John Kirkpatrick and Howard Evans. Richard Thompson plays guitar on Old Horse.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
with
John Kirkpatrick accordion, concertina
Howard Evans trumpet, flugelhorn
Richard Thompson guitar

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FIRST I’M GOING TO SING YOU A DITTY: RURAL FUN & FROLICS TSCD657

tscd657 webVolume 7 of The Voice of The People.
Rural fun and frolics.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 JOHNNY DOUGHTY voice: Herrings’ Heads
2 TOMMY McGRATH voice with chorus: Burke’s Engine
3 SCAN TESTER concertina: Untitled Schottische
4 JIMMY McBEATH voice: You Canna Put It On To Sandy
5 ROSE MURPHY fiddle: Ladybower’s / The Sister
6 POP MAYNARD voice: Three Sons Of Rogues
7 MARY ANN CAROLAN voice: Young Bob Ridley
8 BOB CANN melodeon: Uncle George’s Hornpipe / Tommy Roberts’ Hornpipe
9 JOHN MacDONALD voice: The Ball O’Kerriemeer
10 TOM BROWN voice: Widdlecombe Fair
11 SAM BOND mouth-organ: Oh, The Hampshires Do Like Duff
12 MAURICE voice: A Nice Piece Of Irish Pig’s Head
13 CURLY McKAY & WILLIE KEMP piano-accordion, voice & trump: Glendarel Highlanders /Kenmure’s On And Awa’ /Lovat Scouts /Monymusk
14 MAGGY MURPHY Voice: Clinking O’er The Lea
15 SID STEER voice: The Derby Ram
16 MARTIN GORMAN voice with chorus: Old King Cole
17 BAMPTON MORRIS with JINKY WELLS fiddle & voice: Live Perforrnance – Banbury Bill
18 FRED JORDAN voice: Down The Road
19 JOHN REILLY voice: The Rosin Box
20 ELLEN O’DWYER concertina: The Stack Of Barley
21 HENRY MITCHELMORE voice: Most Beautiful Leg Of The Mallard
22 JIM WILSON voice with chorus: The Keyhole In The Door
23 PADDY BREEN voice & tin-whistle: The Blue Meadow
24 NED PEARSON fiddle & voice: The Varsoviana (original tune) / The Varsoviana (later tune)
25 ALBERT RICHARDSON voice: The Old Sow
26 NORA CLEARY voice: The Codfish
27 WILL & IAN POWRIE accordeon & fiddle: Stirling Militia / Ruthven House / Fairy Dance
28 CHARLIE WILLS voice with chorus: Up To The Rigs Of London Town
29 JIM & SEAMUS DONAGHUE tin-whistle & tambourine: The Pigeon On The Gate

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



THE BALLAD OF JOHN AXON TSCD801

A radio-ballad about the railwaymen of England by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

The first of the radio-ballads was inspired by a steam locomotive driver who died performing an act of heroism. It was based, like its successors, on many hours of tape-recorded testimonies and reminiscences, mixed into a continuous narrative interspersed with MacColl’s songs and Seeger’s music.

‘A generation from now, listeners will surely still be moved by this recording’ NEW STATESMAN

‘The Ballad of John Axton was ostensibly about the life and death of a train driver but, like ensuing ballads about the building of the M1, herring fishing and coal miners, it was really about the complex relationship between men and their professions.’ TIME OUT

‘No wonder it knocked England out that July evening.’ THE OBSERVER

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THEY ORDERED THEIR PINTS OF BEER & BOTTLES OF SHERRY : THE JOYS & CURSE OF DRINK TSCD663

tscd663 webVolume 13 of The Voice of The People.
The Joys & Curse of Drink.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

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MARTIN SIMPSON ~ THE BRAMBLE BRIAR TSCD513

Arguably the finest finger style acoustic guitarist on the planet, Martin Simpson returns to Topic Records after a break of almost fifteen years. Surprisingly, this is his first recording of exclusively English material – predominately traditional, completely English and totally outstanding. Martin Simpson’s guitar and vocals have never sounded better and classic traditional material is delivered in subtle and innovative ways.

• Best Album of the Year & Instrumentalist of the Year – BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2002
• Included in the Mojo Magazine “Top 10 Folk Albums of 2001”
• “a musical genius at the height of his powers” folk buzz
• “Simpson is a master of acoustic guitar styles. His supreme musicianship raises this CD of predominantly traditional and exclusively English songs to new heights.” Daily Telegraph

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BRASS MONKEY ~ FLAME OF FIRE TSCD550 

Their best album so far. Brass Monkey return with their “Deep English” sound, and have never sounded better. Flame of Fire sees the band performing with a new intensity.
• “Anyone who shares a love of traditional music or enjoys being intrigued and pleasantly surprised should seek this album out. This is a great, sophisticated album which may confuse some pop music sensibilities. Long may Brass Monkey play with such subversive brilliance.” Morning Star
• “There is no doubt that Brass Monkey is one of the most important bands to appear in the world of folk music – top quality interpretations of English music – excellent.” The Living Tradition
• “An album of big tunes – it sparks powerful emotions.” fRoots magazine
• “If you like any form of brass-band music, from classical to New Orleans jazz, Brass Monkey’s uniquely English variant is guaranteed” Dirty Linen

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COME ALL MY LADS THAT FOLLOW THE PLOUGH: THE LIFE OF RURAL WORKING MEN & WOMEN TSCD655

Volume 5 of The Voice of The People.
The Life of Rural Working Men & Women.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 MARY ANN HAYNES voice: Hopping Down In Kent
2 JOE HEANEY voice: The Rocks Of Bawn
3 DAVIE STEWART voice: The Tarves Rant
4 SAM LARNER voice: The Pleasant Month Of May
5 BOB FORRESTER voice: Copshawholm Fair
6 POP MAYNARD voice: The Weaver’s Daughter
7 JINKY WELLS fiddle & voice: The Maid Of The Mill
8 STRAIGHTY FLANAGAN voice: The Grazer Tribe
9 JOHN MacDONALD voice & accordeon: The Mains O’Fogieloan
10 FRED JORDAN voice: We’re All Jolly Fellows As Follow The Plough
11 BOB HART voice: The Farmer’s Servant
12 DAVIE STEWART voice: I am a Miller To My Trade
13 HOCKEY FELTWELL voice: Four Horses
14 JIMMY MCBEATH voice: Nicky Tams
15 PADDY TUNNEY voice: The Lark In The Morning
16 LIZZIE HIGGINS voice: Lovely Molly
17 PADDY BEADES voice with fiddle & piano-accordion: The Bonnie Labouring Boy
18 JIMMY McREATH voice: The Barnyards O’Delgaty
19 HARRY UPTON voice: The Rich Lady Gay
20 TOM LENINAN voice: The Cranbally Farmer
21 WILLIE KEMP & CURLY MacKAY voice & piano-accordion: Wi’ Ma Big Kilmarnock Bonnet
22 WILLIE SCOTT voice: The Lads That Was Reared Among Heather
23 EDDIE BUTCHER voice: Tossing The Hay
24 JOHN MacDONALD voice: Sleepytoon
25 THE HYDE BROTHERS melodeons: Back O’ The Haggart

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



HARRY COX ~ THE BONNY LABOURING BOY TSCD512D 

Harry Cox is, simply, the most important and the finest among the great English traditional singers. This release brings together 54 tracks from recordings made between 1945 and 1970 to produce a 2 CD set. Combined with a 60 page booklet containing a detailed biography, extensive notes and song texts, the result is over 2 hours of previously unissued recordings.

see also THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

  • “The quality of the repertoire and the standard of the singing are quite breathtaking. Even amongst the high standards that Topic have been setting in their recent releases of traditional music, this is outstanding” – FRoots Magazine
  • “Should be owned by anyone who professes an interest in English traditional song” – The Living Tradition Magazine
  • “an awesome 54-track compilation of one of the greatest traditional singers of them all – essential” Colin Irwin/Mojo
  • “A truly worthy testament to Harry’s remarkable, majestic…style…. superb quality of the remastering” Rock’n’Reel

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TSCD918 HEALING, FEASTING & MAGICAL RITUAL: PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Songs and dances of hunting, war, work, totemistic ritual, cannibalism, myth, initiation, courtship, rain-making, funerals, magical healing, shark catching and marathon feasting, recorded in remote coastal and inland villages in five far-flung regions of Papua New Guinea, to the north of Australia. One of the world’s most mysterious countries, whose long, wide rivers are home to hundreds of different Melanesian cultures and languages.
These full-throated songs with their vibrant and often complex accompanimental drumming patterns show the richness and variety of the cultural traditions and beliefs of the communities of Papua New Guinea.

“… intense microtonal harmonies that are really arresting” Sing Out

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LINDA THOMPSON ~ FASHIONABLY LATE TSCD821

Time Magazine has said “Linda Thompson may be rock’s best woman singer”, and anybody with an interest in contemporary music would expect that description to be expanded to include folk music. Although Linda hasn’t made a recording for seventeen years, the pure, fragile beauty of her voice hasn’t deserted her – indeed, time has only increased the emotional quality of her performance. This is a remarkable comeback, featuring nine songs either written or co-written by Linda. The tenth, Evona Darling, is from the pen and free spirit of Lal Waterson.

• “Album of the year” Financial Times
• “The voice has never sounded more exquisite” ★★★★ Q magazine
• “Top 50 best album of the year” Mojo
• “Exquisite – now for the comeback concert.” ★★★★ The Guardian
• “Folk album of the year” Daily Telegraph
• “A long overdue gem from one of Rock & Roll’s finest voices. The real queen of Britain returns after a seventeen-year silence – with this record of magnificent anguish – the triumph is Linda’s alone” Rolling Stone
• “A superb collection rendered with consummate style and imagination – studded with brilliant individual performances. A marvelous return, impossible to recommend too highly” The Independent
• BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2003: Best Original Song (“No Telling”)
• “Fashionably Late is a gem that grows with each play. Linda’s voice is as wondrous as we remember it…Linda’s effortlessly supple vocals add colour and emotional depth to a sharply observed, highly melodic set of songs – highlights abound. A beautifully realised return to the musical spotlight” Get Rhythm

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TSCD488 WATERSON:CARTHY ~ COMMON TONGUE

TSCD488 web‘This is deliberately an album of English music,’ writes Martin Carthy in his notes. ‘It is neither possible nor desirable to set up musical border checkpoints anywhere. However, there is that elusive and ever changing thing called identity.’ Assisted by members of Eliza Carthy’s band and the voices of other members of the family, Waterson:Carthy sing and play such timeless English anthems as Claudy Banks and Hares in the Old Plantation, ending with a stirring performance of the hymn Stars in My Crown, dedicated to the English playwright Dennis Potter.

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TSCD912 MUSIC OF THE TATAR PEOPLE

The music of the Tatar people of the Central Volga region of Russia is an important link, according to the collector Laszlo Vikar, in the vast east-west chain that connects the musics of China and Hungary. In these unique field recordings, made by Vikar as assistant to the composer and musicologist Zoltan Kodaly, Tatars sing and play flute, jew’s harp and fiddle.

Recorded by Laszio Vikar

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THE TRAVELLING PEOPLE TSCD808

A radio-ballad about Britain’s nomadic peoples by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

The last of the radio-ballads deals with gypsies, tinkers and the rest of Britain’s travellers – ‘people talking about what it means to be a tenth-rate citizen in a civilised land.’ MacColl’s song The Travelling People was so true to their lives that it was taken up by travellers and absorbed into their repertoire.

‘The final episode, The Travelling People, had MacColl at the peak of his lyrical intonation.’ DAVE HENDERSON, Q

‘The Radio-Ballads are, in the literal sense of the word, wonderful ….. they changed the course of broadcasting history. What makes them so important now is that, at their best, they tell you things you don’t forget. The Travelling People is even more powerful than it was in 1964’ GILLIAN REYNOLDS, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

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JOHN TAMS ~ Home TSCD533

Home is the follow-up to John Tams’ award-winning Unity and reasserts the claim that there is no greater writer of English songs on the current folk scene. John Tams’ writing and performance grows with each new project and he and the band assembled for the previous album are now a fully integrated unit producing a new contender for “album of the year”.

“Understated drama…… sensitive arrangements – quality stuff” fROOTS
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BILLY BENNETT ~ ALMOST A GENTLEMAN TSCD780 

SONGS & RECITATIONS BY THE GREAT MUSIC HALL COMEDIAN

Years before Monty Python, a red-nosed comedian in disreputable tails and an improbable moustache created a world all his own. With his spoofs of well-loved poems, raucous street-corner singing and surreal narratives of life in the saveloy-and-gin class, Billy Bennett brought a spirit of daring and rebellion to English music hall and variety stages in the 1920s and ’30s.

“Billy Bennett will live in the annals of the music-hall. Nobody who saw him is likely to forget that rubicund, unaesthetic countenance, that black, plastered moustache, that dreadful dinner jacket, that well-used dickey and seedy collar, the too-short trousers, the hobnailed boots, the continual perspiration which was the outward and visible sign of a mind struggling for expression – these things will not be forgotten… Let it be said of Billy Bennett that he raised every night in the week to the level of Saturday night.” from James Agate’s Sunday Times obituary

Billy Bennett can now be seen as a street-wise surrealist and his remarkable humour shines as bright today as it did then. The CD is remastered to the highest standard from the best condition original 78-rpm discs.

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ANNE BRIGGS ~ A COLLECTION TSCD504

Anne Briggs, a free spirit of the 1960s, was also one of the most distinctive and influential singers on the folk scene.
‘If I hadn’t heard her,’ says June Tabor, ‘I’d have probably done something entirely different.’
‘She was,’ writes Colin Harper in his accompanying biographical essay, ‘as the best of the music itself was, sexy, wild, mysterious, otherworldly and vulnerable all at the same time.’

A Collection gathers scattered tracks from rare compilations together with her eponymous Topic album of 1971.

Anne Briggs vocal, guitar (13 & 16), bouzouki (15 & 21)
with
Johnny Moynihan bouzouki (15)
Ray Fisher vocal (12)

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WALTER PARDON ~ A WORLD WITHOUT HORSES TSCD514 

Walter Pardon was one of England’s great traditional singers. He lived all his life in the cottage where he was born in 1914 in the village of Knapton, Norfolk and spent all his working life as a carpenter. In 1974, a tape of his singing was received by the singer Peter Bellamy and this led to him being recognised as an outstanding singer of remarkable style and repertory. He was subsequently recorded extensively for a number of LPs on the Leader, Topic and Home Made Music labels and appeared in folk-clubs and festivals including the one held at the Smithsonian Institute of Folklife in Washington, DC in 1976.

He appears in the series The Voice Of The People but this is the first full length CD to be made available and features classic traditional repertoire from one of the true masters of the craft.

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TOPIC70 VARIOUS ARTISTS ~ THREE SCORE & TEN

TOPIC70 packshot webTHREE SCORE AND TEN is seven CDs in a ten by ten inch hardback book, with dust jacket containing 108 profusely illustrated, full colour pages with a narrative portrait of Topic from 1939 to the present day. Also included separately is a complete discography of every Topic release from 1939 to the newest releases in 2009.

There are 144 tracks that cover all aspects of Topic’s recording history in 7 themed CDs with many rare tracks never before on CD. The extensive text gives a detailed recording and social history with profiles of the essential recordings, principle artists and key personages. The many hundreds of illustrations are a revelation in themselves, anchoring the whole project with photos of the artists, album sleeves, advertising leaflets, snapshots and memorabilia.

A quote from page 92 of Three Score and Ten sums it all up pretty nicely:

“From its first release in 1939 and it’s origins in the Workers’ Music Association through the folk revival to the present day Topic Records has always endeavoured to make classic and definitive recordings of traditional music available to the public; a catalogue of records to inform and inspire the listener.” Since the 1950s, Topic has stood virtually alone in continuing to make recordings of traditional music and the tradition based music of the British Isles.

The aims and objects of the Workers’ Music Association (as published in 1944) still stand as a fair description of the ambitions of Topic Records in 2009:
- To present to the people their rich musical inheritance
- To utilise fully the stimulating power of music to inspire people
- To stimulate the composition of music appropriate to our time
- To foster and further the art of music on the principle that true art can move the people
- to work for the betterment of society

.

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CHRISTINE COLLISTER ~ AN EQUAL LOVE TSCD1001

Quite simply: one of England’s greatest voices has now made the ultimate recording. An Equal Love demonstrates Christine’s growth as both a singer and a songwriter – half the album is written by her. “Collister’s effect is transfixing” – fROOTS.

“….her finest hour. She combines amazing vocal control with emotional authority….the title track is one of the most affecting vocals she’s yet committed to record” fROOTS

“..true edge of the seat stuff.. a classy package that transcends generic branding.. a superb release, for which Christine’s stop-you-dead version of Moon River is the perfect closer.” Traditional Music Maker

“She is absolutely fearless tackling very thorny material. Her artistic restlessness is exciting. Strong recommendation” Sing Out

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TSCD358 JACKIE DALY ~ MUSIC FROM SLIABH LUACHRA 

TSCD358 webReleased in 1977, Jackie Daly’s remarkable debut of music from the Sliabh Luachra, the mountainous border between Cork and Kerry, has long been recognised as an important landmark recording.

It captured Daly at the peak of his powers and helped to re-establish the accordion as an important instrument in Irish music.

From this impressive beginning, Jackie went on to play with the cream of Ireland’s musicians in such seminal groups as De Danann and Patrick Street and build a reputation as “the” Irish button accordion player – in other words the best in the world.
“Essential” Taplas
“It is a key recording – it’s a no-messing, consistently charming work” Stirrings

Jackie Daly accordion, single reed accordion, Anglo concertina

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THE WATERSONS ~ FOR PENCE AND SPICY ALE TSCD574 

for pence and spicy ale introduced the “new” Watersons of the 1970s – when Martin Carthy joined the group. Two music papers judged it Folk Album of the Year in 1975 and, for many, it is the best album that The Watersons have ever produced. Topic has re-mastered the recordings from the original tapes to produce unparalleled sound quality, and re-packaged it in a handsome digipak. Between the opening song “Country Life” and the closing “The Good Old Way” are some of the most stirring performances ever committed to record.

  • This is the pinnacle of their prolific career – a wonderful collection of passionate solo voices and inspired harmonies. Ageless songs + sharp sense of adventure = certified genius. All time classic album.” HMV Choice
  • “A staggering album – the luminous power and rich texture of their acapella voices unmatched in English Folk Singing. This is traditional folk music elevated to the highest art. The finest, most fragrant flowering of the English Folk tradition in the past 50 years.” HMV Choice
  • “This classic album of British Folk Music sounds as fresh and astringently beautiful today as it did in 1975, when it was originally released…the harmonies they produce are sharply beautiful. The Watersons’ many fans will be thrilled to see this album newly available on CD with its tracklisting in the original running order – ESSENTIAL” All Music Guide
  • “This reissue of a classic album is a must-have” Dirty Linen More Details >>


THE BIG HEWER ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD804

A radio-ballad about Britain’s coal miners by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

The Big Hewer – ‘a poetic documentary with worker heroes,’ as The Times called it – charts the lives of Britain’s coal miners, in the Northeast, East Midlands and South Wales.

‘In The Big Hewer, about coal mining and The Fight Game, about boxing, the radio-ballads find men titanic enough to live up to their pretensions. Listening to these two, you can really believe that there were giants in those days.’ THE INDEPENDENT

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TROUBLES THEY ARE BUT FEW: DANCE TUNES & DITTIES TSCD664

tscd664 webVolume 14 of The Voice of The People.
Dance Tunes & Ditties.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.
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TSCD928 BLOWERS FROM THE BALKANS: CLASSIC HISTORIC RECORDINGS OF WIND INSTRUMENTS

Blowers from the Balkans presents a remarkable collection of historic recordings from virtuoso players of wind instruments from the countries that make up the Balkans – Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and the newly independent parts of the former Yugoslavia. The recordings were made over a period spanning from the 1906 through to the mid 1940s. All have been re-mastered to the highest standards to produce outstanding sound quality. 

The featured instruments include clarinets (and related reed instruments), panpipes, bagpipe and flutes with a variety of backings and the package is completed with detailed notes from the compiler Risto Pekka Pennanen as well as historic photographs.

• “An indispensable historical record – transfer to a high standard – sleeve notes of quite remarkable accuracy and historical interest. Highly recommended.” fRoots magazine
• “It’s 1927 in Chicago, Louis Armstrong is recording his classic hot 7 tracks – at the same time in New York the obscure Romanian, Joan Hartegan, has almots the same instrumentation laying down Invertita dela Chicago….the transfers are expertly done” SongLines
• “Sound quality is impressive, and the music seems to have been selected with an ear for strongly melodic tunes.” Dirty Linen

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TSCD345 MARTIN CARTHY ~ LANDFALL

TSCD345 webMartin Carthy’s 1971 solo album tunnels further than its predecessors into contemporary song, coming up with memorable performances of Dave Goulder’s January Man John Kirkpatrick’s Dust To Dust and David Ackles’ His Name is Andrew.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar

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TO CATCH A FINE BUCK WAS MY DELIGHT: SONGS OF HUNTING & POACHING TSCD668

Volume 18 of The Voice of The People.
Songs of hunting and poaching.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 BOB ROBERTS voice: While Gamekeepers Were Sleeping
2 GEORDIE HANNA voice: On Yonder Hill There Sits A Hare
3 WILLIE SCOTT voice: The Irthing Water Hounds
4 JOSEPH TAYLOR voice: The White Hare
5 JIMMY KNIGHTS voice: Out With My Gun In The Morning
6 BIG JOHN MAGUIRE voice: The Huntsman’s Horn
7 HARRY BURGESS voice: The Hungry Fox
8 WIGGY SMITH voice: The Oakham Poachers
9 FELIX DORAN uilleann pipes & voice: The Fox Hunt
10 JASPER SMITH voice: Thornymoor Park
11 PHILIP McDERMOTT voice: The Fair Of Rosslea
12 POP MAYNARD voice: Williarn Taylor
13 WILLIE SCOTT voice: The Kielder Hunt
14 WIGGY SMITH voice: Hares In The Old Plantation
15 JACK ELLIOTT voice: Champion He Was A Dandy
16 PHILIP McDERMOTT voice: The Reaping Of The Rushes Green
17 HARRY BRAZIL voice: Bold Keeper
18 CHARLIE WILLS voice: The House That Jack Built
19 WALTER PARDON voice: The Poachers’ Fate
20 JIMMY HALPIN voice: Killafole Boasters
21 GEORGE TREMAIN melodeon: The Huntsman’s Chorus

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



TSCD341 MARTIN CARTHY with DAVE SWARBRICK ~ SECOND ALBUM

TSCD341 webDave Swarbrick’s increased contribution on this 1966 album was a signal that he and Carthy were rapidly forming folk music’s most potent collaboration, creating a clean, sharp sound that would be honed over the next three albums.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

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TSCD923 GUMBOOT GUITAR: ZULU STREET GUITAR MUSIC FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Remarkable rootsy guitar from the streets of Durban.
The guitar probably arrived in South Sfrica with Portuguese or Arab sailors back in the 16th century, but it only started to enter vernacular African traditions in the late 19th century. The discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa at that time brought large numbers of African workers from all parts of the country – all looking for new forms of expression and relaxation. Music previously played on Zulu musical bows was transferred in the new urban environment to the guitar and often concertina and violin too. the music was called maskanda. 

Musicians played for their own enjoyment, but they also joined miners’ gumboot dance teams to accompany this exhilarating genre. Often lacking in formal performance areas, most of this music-making traditionally takes place on the streets of single-sex hostel compounds. These recordings from 1988 and 1996 feature musicians and gumboot players who live in one such hostel outside Durban.

• “Exciting, rough and ready grooves “ BBC Radio 2 World Music Reviews
• “This is the real deal, street music played by people who work hard all day and play at night or on the weekend. The real roots of South Africa umbaquanga music are right here. There’s a variety of sound on Gumboot Guitar as far as instruments are concerned: on gumboot-dominated tunes, the guitar plays rhythmic chords with a very percussive attack. A pounding beat is also belted out by an accordion or concertina on most tunes…powerful.” Worlddiscoveries.net

Recordings by Janet Topp Fargion & Albert Nene.

11  Kam and kossetina (comb and concertina)
2  Blanket’s guitar solo
3  Ma wenobba (Mother and Father)
4  Gumboot 1993
5  Guitar and kossetina
6  Gumboot
7  Ibhanoyi (Aeroplane)
8  Gumboot 1996
9  Albert Nene’s guitar solo -part 1
10  Albert Nene’s guitar solo -part 2



EWAN MacCOLL ~ BALLADS: MURDER, INTRIGUE, LOVE, DISCORD TSCD576D

The great traditional ballads are storytelling at its dark, urgent best and the greatest exponent of this folk art was Ewan MacColl. Traditional narrative ballads are at the centre of the British Folk Tradition. They told stories which helped define the English and Scottish national characters; stories about murder and intrigue, love and discord on both the epic and domestic scale, but stories that told us about ourselves.
Ewan MacColl was the folk revival’s greatest proponent of the ballad; ballads were central to his conception of the folk revival and at the core of his recordings and performances. His commitment showed in his performances, where the story was everything. No one who ever witnessed him performing one of the great ballads live will ever forget it. Ballads: Murder, Intrigue, Love, Discord is a great selection of performances originally released in 1956 and never before on CD. This beautiful double CD is lovingly remastered and packaged in a slipcase with a 64 page booklet with extensive notes and full texts of all the songs.
• “An unmissable collection celebrating the man’s interpretative genius★★★★ Uncut
• “Majestic – the intensity, power, drive and drama of these performances are undiminished” ★★★★★ Songlines
•  ★★★★★ Record Collector
• “This lovingly compiled double disc of previously unreleased [on CD] material, with its richly detailed booklet, provides both a fascinating archive and an authentic naked plunge into the deep wellspring of traditional song” Acoustic

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TSCD300 MARTIN CARTHY ~ CROWN OF HORN

TSCD300 webThough on its first release in 1976 Crown of Horn attracted attention with its unpredictable elements, such as Leon Rosselson’s mordant song Palaces of Gold, the album can now be seen as a logical stage in Carthy’s development, as well as a further bold demonstration of his creative approach to traditional song.

“Martin Carthy has the ability to make singing sound easy – he tells stories to tunes, sometimes unaccompanied, and Crown of Horn shows the master of English folk song at his best.” Songlines

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar

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TSCD924 EWE DRUMMING FROM GHANA ~ The Soup Which Is Sweet Draws The Chairs In Closer

The Ewe people of Ghana and Togo are renowned for their polyrhymic drumming and beautiful call and response singing. Travelling through this region, one is struck by the way in which they have preserved their traditional music alongside the new cultural ideas brought by globalisation.

The Dzigbordi group is a community dance drumming group that people of all agescan join. On this CD they perform several classic dances from the Ewe repertoire. For this recording they chose a secluded courtyard outside the town, resulting in a crystal clear sound that showcases the drums and the songs.

Recorded by James Burns.

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TSCD360 JUNE TABOR ~ ASHES & DIAMONDS

TSCD360 webAccompanied, as on Airs and Graces, by Nic Jones (guitar), Tony Hall (melodeon) and other notable players, Tabor again blends striking revisions of traditional songs with new pieces by Eric Bogle No Man’s Land, Now I’m Easy and Dave Goulder The Easter Tree.

June Tabor vocals
with
Tony Hall melodeon
Nic Jones guitar & fiddle
Jon Gillaspie keyboards
Nigel Pegrum drums
Doug Morter electric guitar

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JUNE TABOR ~ A QUIET EYE TSCD510

A Quiet Eye features June Tabor backed by members of the Creative Jazz Orchestra. Not a jazz album this, however, but June in her finest voice with a selection of predominantly English material from both traditional and contemporary sources in settings ranging from solo to full ensemble with brass, reeds and strings.

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TSCD343 MARTIN CARTHY with DAVE SWARBRICK ~ BUT TWO CAME BY

TSCD343 webMartin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick continue their bold and virtuosic transformation of traditional songs and melodies on this 1968 set, adding a memorable treatment of Sidney Carter’s Lord of the Dance.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

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TSCD469 ALY BAIN & TOM ANDERSON ~ THE SILVER BOW

TSCD469 webTom Anderson MBE, fiddler, composer, folklorist and teacher, was a profoundly influential figure in Shetland music. He and Aly Bain, with Trevor Hunter and Davie Tulloch, spanning three generations of music-making in the islands, play fiddle duets and quartets in the distinctive Shetland idiom.

Tom Anderson fiddle
Aly Bain fiddle
with
Trevor Hunter fiddle
Davie Tulloch fiddle
Violet Tulloch piano
Willie Johnson guitar

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OLIVER KNIGHT ~ MYSTERIOUS DAY TSCD528 

Mysterious Day is Oliver Knight‘s first solo project and, in truly typical fashion, it is a collaboration with others. The vocals on the album are handled by Christine Collister, Eliza Carthy, Norma Waterson, Maria Gilhooley, John Tams and Barry Coope and additional instrumentation is provided by Chris Parkinson (piano & harmonica), Jo Freya (sax), Alice Kinloch (tuba) and Andy Cutting (melodeon). A long time in gestation, the album continues in the family “tradition” of highly original English composition which, although owing much to the folk tradition, is not beholden to it. He has written all the material except for Evona, written by Lal Waterson, Once In a Blue Moon, co-written with Lal Waterson and the traditional Go From My Window, arranged with Eliza Carthy. As well as producing and engineering the album, Oliver Knight played all guitars and arranged all the music.
Mysterious Day shows Oliver Knight to be a genuinely original songwriter whose style could be compared with that of Nick Drake.
“It’s hard to pick out a track that isn’t a highlight…a really refreshing album…File under fantastic” BBC Radio 2

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TSCD309 PADRAIG O’KEEFE, DENIS MURPHY, JULIA CLIFFORD ~ KERRY FIDDLES

TSCD309 webThree notable figures in the annals of Irish fiddling, Padraig O’Keefe, Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford, play fiddle solos, duets and trios in an exceptional collection of music chiefly from the Sliabh Luachra (Kerry/Cork) region of Ireland.
A classic collection of Irish traditional dance music

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CHRISTINE COLLISTER ~ INTO THE LIGHT TSCD1002

Christine’s second solo album for Topic finds her great voice in even better form, if that is possible. Into the Light is the closest thing yet to capturing the live quality and personality of this outstanding singer. Its style is more acoustic than “An Equal Love” and again, it features her unique songwriting skills alongside a selection of specially chosen covers of classic contemporary song.

“Christine’s soulfully smoky and superbly controlled vocal work reigns supreme”. Folk Roundabout

“Into the Light is a subtle grower of a recording, that reflects the maturity of its creator and her own creativity, that, right now, is liberal and assured. A quite beautiful step forward.” fROOTS

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THE COPPER FAMILY ~ COME WRITE ME DOWN (Early Recordings) TSCD534

The Copper Family of Rottingdean in Sussex has roots in traditional song that are at least two hundred years old. Their rare southern English harmony is presented at its most outstanding in these classic performances from the 1950s and early ’60s. Bob and Ron Copper came to prominence outside their immediate local environment when recordings of the duo were released during the early part of the folk revival. These newly remastered recordings are included here in their entirety. In addition, earlier recordings involving Bob and Ron’s fathers – Jim and John – are available for the first time. There are three songs which feature the full quartet.

The special packaging includes a 60-page booklet of extensive history, biography and social context as well as a 36-page booklet of song texts. Both booklets also contain historic photographs.



  • “inspirational … a testament to the strength of songs that have endured so long and the spirit at the heart of their survival … the whole package (is) a lesson in quality” fRoots Magazine
  • “Topic Records reputation a the great UK folk label is further enhanced by the release of (this) wonderfully packaged collection of early recordings of the legendary Copper Family. More than just a record…both an historical document and a vital part of the living tradition of English folksong” Get Rhythm magazine
  • “Resonates with a weird primitivism” Sunday Times
  • “These robust mournful songs of life’s travails and treasures have a directness and authenticity that puts most rock music to shame”Mojo
  • “Make sure to buy three copies of this CD: one for yourself to play and play all day; one to give as a present to the person who means most to you; and one to bury in the garden for the Martians when they land, to show them us Human Race were capable of real excellence. …the first booklet contains the lyrics to the songs, but with the added bonus of deeply interesting notes by Steve Roud on every one of the songs. This booklet in itself would put most CD booklets in the shade. But then, even THIS is trumped by the second booklet: a 58 page “beaut” consisting of extensive notes…it is genuinely a compulsive page turner. As for the CD content…it is all sublime.” Musical Traditions magazine
  • “These extraordinary songs breathe life into a tradition that stretches back to the Napoleonic Wars and beyond. They are the aural equivalent of remote viewing on to a vanished world. There are seafaring ballads, aching laments and songs of farewell, drinking songs alongside more ancient ballads.” The Guardian

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PAST MASTERS OF IRISH FIDDLE MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD605

The fiddle occupies pride of place within Irish traditional music and this collection features the great players from the golden age of recording between 1922 and 1951. These virtuoso stylists are featured in solo, small group and various band combinations performing both classic repertoire and little known pieces. The CD has been re-mastered to the highest standards and is accompanied by in depth notes.
Edited by Reg Hall

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THE WATERSONS ~ FROST AND FIRE TSCD563

The original classic album recorded in 1965 is now released in a re-designed package with extra photographs and with unbeatable remastered sound quality that makes it feel as though the group is in the room with you.
Seasons of anxiety, seasons of joy. The common people had their rites of propitiation and triumph, older than the rituals of the church and closer bound to their daily lives. This album takes us through a year’s calendar, displaying songs that accompanied these ceremonies, season by season.
The Watersons perform in the original classic lineup – Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson and John Harrison.

  • “Quite without parallel amongst British group singing” English Dance and Song
  • “Frost and Fire contains all the urgency of talented young people determined to record songs from a seemingly dying tradition. The results sound as fresh today as any recent Waterson:Carthy offering.” Morning Star
  • “The Watersons’ first album was released in 1965. It remains a revelation” ★★★★ Songlines
  • “These venerable releases shine in their newly remastered form.” Dirty Linen

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AS ME & MY LOVE SAT COURTING: SONGS OF LOVE, COURTSHIP & MARRIAGE TSCD 665

tscd665 webVolume 15 of The Voice of The People.
Songs of Love, Courtship & Marriage.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 BILL KIMBER concertina: Haste To The Wedding
2 BELLE STEWART voice: Queen Among The Heather
3 JIMMY HALPIN voice: Johnny Harte
4 POP MAYNARD voice The Aylesbury Girl
5 MARGARET BARRY & MICHAEL GORMAN voice, banjo & fiddle: The Half-Door
6 LOUIE FULLER voice: Green Grow The Laurels
7 JOHN REILLY voice: Old Carathee
8 DIDDY COOK voice, with chairman & chorus: The Blackbird
9 JAMESY McCARTHY voice: Coochie Coochie Coo Go Way
10 WALTER PARDON voice: I Wish, I Wish
11 JANE TURRIFF voice & piano: What Can A Young Lassie Dae Wi’ An Auld Man?
12 PADDY TUNNEY voice: Johnny, Lovely Johnny
13 MARY ANN CONNELLY voice: Lurgan Stream
14 MICHAEL GORMAN & MARGARET BARRY fiddle & banjo: I’ll Marry And I Won’t Be A Nun
15 WALTER PARDON voice: One Cold Morning In December
16 LIZ JEFFERIES voice: Rosemary Lane
17 ROBERT CINNAMOND voice: It Was Early, Early All In A Spring
18 STANLEY ROBERTSON voice with chorus: Moorlough Maggie
19 STEPHEN BALDWIN fiddle: Just As The Tide Was Flowing
20 PADDY TUNNEY voice: The Wearing Of The Britches
21 HARRY BURGESS voice: A Week Before Easter
22 JIMMY McBEATH voice: I’m A Stranger In This Country
23 BOB BRADER voice: The Banks Of Sweet Dundee
24 TOM LENINAN voice: Sixteen Years, Mama
25 PADDY TUNNEY voice: Bonny Tavern Green

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



WATERSON:CARTHY ~ BROKEN GROUND TSCD509 

The great family tradition returns to record their third album, this time as a four piece, with Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy and Liza Carthy joined by Saul Rose on melodeons and voice. The extended line-up results in a jewel of an album. Stand out tracks are Raggle Taggle Gipsies featuring Liza, The Bay of Biscay featuring Norma, the staggering instrumentals and Martin’s Bald Headed End of the Broom with New Orleans marching band added for good measure.

Norma Waterson vocals, triangle
Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Eliza Carthy vocals, fiddle, viola
Saul Rose vocals, melodeon
Ben Ivitsky low whistle
+ The Phoenix New Orleans Parade Band

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SAM LARNER ~ NOW IS THE TIME FOR FISHING TSCD511

Sam Larner was born in 1878 in the village of Winterton in Norfolk. For most of his life he was a fisherman and developed his repertoire and style from the locality and his workmates. Now Is The Time For Fishing was originally recorded on location in 1958, ’59 & ’60 by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger and released in 1961, this record has come to be regarded as one of the most important recordings of an English traditional singer ever made. Alongside classic traditional repertoire, the CD features songs associated with the fishing industry as well as sea-lore and rhymes.

see also THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

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TSCD920 THE YEMEN TIHAMA: TRANCE & DANCE MUSIC FROM THE RED SEA COAST

The ferocious heat on Tihama, the Red sea coastal plain of Yemen, is matched in its intensity by the tibbal music, an Afro-Arabian amalgam that features lyres, reeds and, particularly, virtuoso drumming. Its practitioners are largely drawn from the akhdam, an outcast group with a reputation for sorcery, who bring passion, skill and stamina to performances which accompany acrobatic dancing and ceremonial trance.

“..uncompromising and raw music with a rhythmic intensity that will have you either transfixed or running from the room.” Songlines

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THE WATERSONS ~ GREEN FIELDS TSCD500

Another masterful performance by the latter-day Watersons. Again, an original album by the full group has been supplemented with solo tracks by Mike and solo and duet tracks by Norma and Lal. In keeping with its title, the album focuses on songs of country life like While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping, We’ll All Go a-Hunting Today and The Brave Ploughboy.

Lal Waterson, Mike Waterson, Norma Waterson & Martin Carthy vocals

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TSCD751 The Voice of the People

TSCD751The Voice of the People is a tremendous collection of Traditional Music recordings from the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales. The series runs to 20 CDs and presents an extensive and varied picture of traditional singing, instrumental music-making and dancing throughout the course of the 20th century.

This specially priced twenty-track introduction to the Voice of the People series features a track from each of the original 20 albums together with an introductory note.

• “Great music in really vital – and absolutely unique – performances. An indispensable resource for anyone genuinely interested in traditional folk songs and their performance” NetRhythms

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TSCD930 VARIOUS ARTISTS ~ BAGPIPES OF GREECE

An exciting collection of authentic Greek bagpipes recorded across the entire country over the last thirty years or more. Many of the musicians are shepherds and peasants and have been recorded in their homes or local environments. Recordings and notes by the noted ethnomusicologist Wolf Dietrich.

Currently, Greece appears to have no bagpipe revival (perhaps due to the lack of bagpipe makers) so these recordings chronicle a rare traditional culture.

• “There is some beautiful, flawlessly recorded material here – a well-edited labour of love” ★★★ Songlines
• “A labour of love and a work of true scholarship. Highly recommended.” fRoots

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TSCD432 JUNE TABOR ~ ABYSSINIANS

TSCD432 webJune Tabor’s vocal artistry is especially vividly captured in this 1983 album, produced by Andrew Cronshaw. It opens with a song by Lal & Mike Waterson, closes with one by Joni Mitchell and takes in on the way the African-American spiritual Lay This Body Down.

June Tabor vocals
with
Dave Bristow keyboards
Martin Simpson guitar
Ric Saunders violin

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THE FIGHT GAME TSCD807

A radio-ballad about boxers by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

Part documentary, part allegory, The Fight Game takes the listener into the gladiatorial arena of professional boxing.

‘In The Big Hewer, about coal mining and The Fight Game, about boxing, the radio-ballads find men titanic enough to live up to their pretensions. Listening to these two, you can really believe that there were giants in those days.’ THE INDEPENDENT

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SONG OF A ROAD TSCD802

A radio-ballad about the building of the M1 Motorway by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

The second of the remarkable Radio Ballads Song of a Road tells the story of the making of the M1, Britain’s first motorway. The road building was a suitably iconic and newsworthy project for Parker, MacColl and Seeger to develop their ground-breaking radio techniques. Among the songs MacColl created for this radio-ballad was Hot Asphalt.

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TSCD494 ELIZA CARTHY ~ RICE

TSCD494 webOn Rice Eliza Carthy looks afresh at British – and other – traditional musics.
‘If this is the future of British folk music, it is in good hands.’ – Mojo
‘Audaciously Brilliant.’ – The Observer
Album of the Year – Folk Roots
Nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize Album of the Year

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TSCD489 ELIZA CARTHY & THE KINGS OF CALICUTT

TSCD489 webThe Kings of Calicutt join Eliza Carthy in a buoyant selection of songs and tunes.
‘The ideas are incessant, the technique superb and the energy irresistible.’ – Folk Roots

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PAST MASTERS OF IRISH DANCE MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD604

This album serves as a complementary release to TSCD602 Irish Dance Music It is a collection of early recordings (1923-49) of some of the greatest Irish traditional musicians ever to set foot in the recording studio. As well as solos from pipes and accordion there are duets, small groups and ceilidh bands. The album is accompanied by detailed historical notes and biographies, and has been re-mastered from rare original recordings to the highest standards.

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MARTIN CARTY & DAVE SWARBRICK ~ STRAWS IN THE WIND TSCD556

The legendary, ground-breaking duo in a startlingly intense reunion on this 2006 album. All the old skills are demonstrated with a new collection of traditional songs and instrumentals. Their experienced approach to their art lacks none of the fervour of their early days, and brings a maturity born of many years living with the music that is an integral part of their beings.

• “Intense and demanding, this is hard core traditional music. Sublime fiddle playing and the passionate delivery of evocative old songs by their ablest interpretor.” Telegraph
• “The super-duo are back together after 14 years.” ★★★★ The Guardian
• “Swarbrick is an absolute revelation here, as instinctively sympathetic and wickedly inspirational as he ever was. It’s like they were a couple of twenty somethings again. To hear Swarb bowing with such soul and tenderness and dynamism too is an unconditional joy.” fRoots

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TSCD410 JUNE TABOR with MARTIN SIMPSON ~ A CUT ABOVE

TSCD410 webThis album glows with the very special energy of a natural musical partnership, as June Tabor’s bold steps are faultlessly tracked by guitarist Martin Simpson. As well as compositions by Richard Thompson, Bill Caddick and other contemporary writers, Tabor offers a song in French, Le Roi Renaud.

June Tabor vocals
with
Martin Simpson guitar
Ric Saunders violin
Dave Bristow keyboards
Jon Davie bass

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TSCD411 NIC JONES ~ PENGUIN EGGS

TSCD411 webThis mature work of a brilliant song-interpreter and guitarist, packed with fresh songs and novel settings, is rendered all the more valuable by the scarcity of his recordings. When Bob Dylan appropriated his arrangement of Canadee-I-O, it was just one sign of Jones’ status among musicians as well as lay listeners.
“Penguin Eggs may be the best British acoustic folk album ever made” Stuart Maconie, BBC Radio 2

“This is simply the most committed folk music ever recorded. Jones’ guitar playing is diamond-hard while his vocals hit both head and heart. A written in stone masterpiece from a true folk icon.” All time classic album HMV Choice

“Penguin Eggs should be in every folkie’s music collection. It is one of those rare, nearly perfect recordings.” Celtic Heritage

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ELIZA CARTHY ~ ANGLICANA TSCD539

Eliza Carthy’s triumphant return to Topic Records after a period recording for Warner Brothers. Anglicana was nominated for BBC Radio 3 World Music Album of the Year and is a great new traditional album re-affirming her as one of the most important artists of her generation. As the title suggests, Anglicana is an expression of Englishness (as Eliza feels it), “with people who were around at the time, no border checkpoints, nobody pushed out, just what it is”.
It is built on the solid foundations of the traditional music of the country of her birth. There is no question that she has absorbed much of the great qualities of that tradition, but she is not interested in producing pastiche or sterile re-construction. She 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!

• “Brilliant updating of the English folk tradition .. proper music, not museum art – her voice has never sounded fuller” ★★★★★ The Independent
• “Surely the best album of its type so far this century” fROOTS
• “faultless” www.Amazon.co.uk
Best folk album of the year Mojo

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JUNE TABOR ~ AT THE WOOD’S HEART TSCD557

This is the June Tabor album – from the opening track, a magisterial reading of The Banks of Sweet Primeroses, through Anna McGarrigle’s Heart Like A Wheel and her in-concert showstopper, Duke Ellington’s Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me. June has also chosen a new song from the pen of one of her favourite English songwriters – Bill Caddick’s The Cloud Factory.
The inspiration for June’s choice of songs was the particular group of musicians she brought together for her BBC4 Sessions concert in 2004. “Obviously I was already aware of the strong character of each musician’s playing, but what I was not prepared for was the impact of the ensemble as a whole, as well as the undreamed of textures and colours of new permutations within the group”. The effect is remarkable, and June’s voice and performance have moved into even more impressive new territory.

• “No one else has come close to Tabor’s clarity and strength of expression. Her instinct and training make every phrase count.” The Daily Telegraph
• “From the opening notes…you realise you are in safe hands… coaxes unimagined sensations out of traditional tunes and performs elegant arrangements of new ones” ★★★★ The Sunday Times
• “To describe June Tabor as simply a folk singer is to ignore her achievements – and this new album proves she is one of our finest interpreters of songs of almost any kind. The starting point is traditional material, but her treatment of The Banks of the Sweet Primroses shows how she makes a song her own with her story-telling. A Chaucer song is followed by an exquisite, pained treatment of Anna McGarrigle’s Heart Like A Wheel, while the traditional Oh! Alas I Am in Love leads in to a drifting Duke Ellington ballad. A thoughtful, personal album”. ★★★★ The Guardian
• “She’s a national treasure” The Independent on Sunday
• “At the Wood’s Heart finds the powers in enthralling form. That sinuous, melancholy voice still does ‘dark’ impeccably – but always verdant, always human.”  ★★★★ The Observer

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TSCD340 MARTIN CARTHY ~ Martin Carthy

TSCD340 webFirst released in 1965 Martin Carthy is the debut album from the most creative folksong interpreter of his generation. His singing and guitar-playing have been imitated wherever the revival has reached, across North America and Europe no less than in Britain.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

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TSCD496 A.L. LLOYD ENGLISH DRINKING SONGS

TSCD496 webA L ‘Bert’ Lloyd occupied a unique position in the folksong revival of the 1950s and ’60s. He was a musicologist with an international reputation, who wrote on the social history of British folk music and broadcast many series on traditional musics of the world. A learned and kindly mentor to younger singers, he was himself a performer of great charm, who united in his performances a scholar’s respect for text and a singer’s instinct for expression.

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TSCD452 MARTIN CARTHY ~ RIGHT OF PASSAGE

TSCD452 webOn Right Of Passage from 1988, Carthy draws tunes from Quebec, Brittany and Mozart, songs from Leon Rosselson and Mike Waterson and poems from e.e.cummings and an anonymous 17th-century pamphleteer into a surprising but successful union of old and new, traditional and individual.

• “An absorbing album, rich in detail and character.” Sounds

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
with
John Kirkpatrick one-row melodeon , button accordeon
Chris Wood fiddle
Dave Swarbrick fiddle

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THE RADIO BALLADS

A UNIQUE PROJECT IN THE HISTORY OF BOTH BRITISH FOLK MUSIC AND BRITISH RADIO
devised by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger
“… the work of a team of singers, songwriters, technicians, instrumentalists and others who were consciously attempting to apply the techniques of folk creation to one part of the mass media radio.

Devised by Ewan MacColl, radio producer Charles Parker and Peggy Seeger, the Radio-Ballads set out to crystallise in words and music the experience of different ways of life – the words being supplied not by actors but by the real occupants of those lives and jobs, whether miners, fishermen, boxers or teenagers. The eight programmes were first broadcast by the BBC between 1958 and 1964. Six of them were subsequently issued on LP but have been unavailable since the early ’80s. Song of a Road and The Body Blow have never hitherto been issued in any format. ‘The radio-ballads,’ wrote a reviewer at the time, ‘are about the way we live now, attempting to give this life the quality of epic – “to make”, as the documentary film-maker John Grierson once said, “the everyday significant.”‘ The social historian Eric Hobsbawm, writing as Francis Newton in the New Statesman, called them ‘The most valuable products of the British folk-music movement‘.

Ewan MacColl scripts, song lyrics & music
Peggy Seeger orchestration & music direction
Charles Parker production

For a generation of musicians, broadcasters and media writers, the term radio-ballad is an icon, a benchmark, a milestone. When they were first broadcast, our daily lives revolved much more around the wireless than nowadays, even though network television was by then already well established, and for many listeners the cultural impact was profound and enduring.

For today’s listening public, the term radio-ballad may no longer carry that weight of meaning, but these programmes are as entertaining and stimulating as when they were first created. Perhaps this series of CD re-issues will help to put into context so much that followed in both radio and television and will find new resonance among older and younger listeners alike.

The series was originally transmitted on the BBC Home Service as follows:
The Ballad of John Axon 2 July 1958
Song of a Road 5 November 1959
Singing the Fishing 16 August 1960
The Big Hewer 18 August 1961
The Body Blow 27 March 1962
On the Edge 13 February 1963
The Fight Game 3 July 1963
The Travelling People 17 April 1964
Parker had recognised almost immediately that there was a ready-made audience for LP versions. Even before John Axon was broadcast, he was conducting a memo-writing campaign aimed at the BBC mandarins responsible for what were then called ‘transcription rights’, insisting that, with the co-operation of MacColl and Seeger, the necessary contractual formula could be found to make commercial release possible.Immediately after The Ballad of John Axon was first broadcast, letters started arriving at the BBC requesting that the programme be repeated, which it was, on 5 August l958. Several of the programmes were repeated one or more times on the Home Service after their first broadcast, during the period up to l964. Singing the Fishing, which won the Prix d’Italia in October 1960, was also re-broadcast on the BBC Home Service and later on Radio 4 a number of times. More significantly, there were quite a lot of people – particularly teachers – who wrote to Charles Parker singing the praises of the radio- ballad format as a learning resource and enquiring whether copies could be made for educational use. Parker was particularly inundated with requests for LP or tape copies of On the Edge, soon after its first transmission. Letters were also received from listeners who found the texture of some of the programmes sometimes so rich that they missed much of them in a single hearing, and felt frustrated.

THE BALLAD OF JOHN AXON TSCD801
SONG OF A ROAD TSCD802
SINGING THE FISHING TSCD803
THE BIG HEWER TSCD804
THE BODY BLOW TSCD805
ON THE EDGE TSCD806
THE FIGHT GAME TSCD807
THE TRAVELLING PEOPLE TSCD808

A 16 page full colour booklet describing the series and its background in detail is available separately and at no charge.



TSCD919 THE MOKEN: SEA GYPSIES OF THE ANDAMAN SEA

The Sea Gypsies of the Andaman Sea have been sailing up and down the west coast of the Malay Peninsula for hundreds of years. Traditionally living on their Kabang (self contained houseboats) and trading sea slugs, pearls, shells and bird’s nests for life’s necessities, many sea gypsies have now begun to settle permanently, and abandon their nomadic culture. Some like the Moken, continue to move between the islands, their ocean territory becoming ever more threatened by expanding tourism in Thailand and political repression in Myanmar. The Moken’s music collected on this CD, recorded on a deserted beach between surf and jungle, is wild and unpredicatable, full of warmth and drama and yet as detached from our world as their hard, uncertain sea-faring lifestyle.

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THERE IS A MAN UPON THE FARM : WORKING MEN & WOMEN IN SONG TSCD670

tscd670 webVolume 20 of The Voice of the People.
Working men and women in song.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 BELLE STEWART voice: TheOvergate
2 PADDY TUNNEY voice: The Wee Weaver
3 FRED JORDAN voice: We Shepherds Are The Best Of Men
4 THE BELHAVEL TRIO fiddle, uilleann pipes & accordeon: The Job Of Journeywork
5 TED LAURENCE voice: The Flies Are On The Tummits
6 JIMMY MCBEATH voice: Come All You Tramps And Hawkers
7 JUMBO BRIGHTWELL voice: Muddley Barracks
8 WILLIE SCOTT voice: The Shepherd’s Song
9 JACK ELLIOTT voice with chorus: In The Bar-Room
10 SEAN MAC DONNCHADNA voice: An Spailpin Finach (The Migrant Labourer)
11 JAMESY McCARTHY voice: Come To The Hiring
12 JOHN MacDONALD voice & accordeon: The Wandering Shepherd Laddie
13 HARRY HOLMAN voice: There Was A Poor Thresherman
14 BIG JOHN MAGUIRE voice: The Neatly Thatched Cabin
15 JACK ELLIOTT voice with chorus: The Banks Of The Dee
16 MARY ANN CAROLAN voice: My Father’s A Hedger And Ditcher
17 POP MAYNARD voice: Ground For The Floor
18 JIMMY McBEATH voice: Airlin’s Fine Braes
19 MARY ANN HAYNES voice: The Little Ball Of Yarn
20 PADDY & JIMMY HALPIN voices: To Reap And Mow The Hay
21 TOM WILLETT voice: The Roaming Journeyman
22 WILLIE SCOTT voice: When The Kye Comes Hame
23 BELLE STEWART voice: The Berry Fields O’Blair

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP, AMAZON, ITUNES and on SPOTIFY



TSCD935D SONGS OF SURVIVAL – TRADITIONAL MUSIC OF GEORGIA

Georgia lies to the south of Russia, bordered by the Black Sea to the west and by Turkey and Armenia in the south and Azerbaijan in the east. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Georgia is a small, very mountainous and poor country with a population of under five million but with a rich and ancient cultural life, mainly centering around music. Considering itself European, Georgia is at the crossroads of the east and west, a Christian country influenced by its Muslim neighbours.

Songs of Survival is a comprehensive survey of the traditional music of Georgia with well over two hours of mostly vocal music celebrating the three part polyphonies that lie at the heart of its musical life. There is a 28 page illustrated booklet with copious background notes as well as notes on the songs and performances – hymns, carols, lullabies, work songs, wrestling music, wedding songs, healing songs, city songs. Georgia’s male polyphony is one of the musical wonders of the world. Both archaic and modernist, and melding influences from east and west.

Winner of the German Critic’s Award [Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik] inaugurated in 1963 to set the ‘most rigorous standards for the achievement in the field of recording’.
• “The Georgians are probably the most musical people of earth: these recordings give a wonderful snapshot of a society in which many musicians would give their right arm to live. Here, the division between professional and amateur becomes meaningless – such is the commitment of the professional and the skill of the amateur. Everywhere we find their staggeringly beautiful three-part vocal polyphony – whether in a wedding song, lullaby or richly dissonant religious chant” Gavin Bryars
• “It’s important in that it’s the first collection to try to give an overview of Georgian music – there’s a huge variety here, making this a very good introduction to the world of Georgian music.” fRoots
• “Georgian music, with its other-worldly polyphonic singing style, is justly famous for its clashing dissonances and impressive sound, but recordings are few and far between. Highlights include the female choir Mzetamze, the Kesane Quartet and Georgian Voices – on disc two, there are wonderful hymn-like songs of St Panteleimon Chanters with strange unpredictable harmonies” ★★★★ Songlines
• “The CD is full of wonderful improvised polyphony. The soul of these songs arise from the fact that the performers feel the pinch of hard necessity, and sing of strong emotions that go beyond the personal. For these people “keeping it real” isn’t a problem: it’s a condition of life.” The Telegraph

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ASHLEY HUTCHINGS & VARIOUS ARTISTS ~ STREET CRIES TSCD535

A collection of dark traditional songs reset in the present day by Ashley Hutchings. Sung by Coope, Boyes & Simpson, Steve Knightley, Cara Dillon, Dick Gaughan, Helen Watson, Vin Garbutt, Judy Dunlop, Dave Burland, Kathryn Roberts with Equation, John Tams, June Tabor, Pete Morton and Nasreen Shah.
An outstanding new album conceived and produced by one of the most significant creators in the folk music field. Traditional music has always changed and adapted to fit and respond to the society that it reflects. Ashley Hutchings has re-written a dozen traditional songs and set them in the present day – don’t be alarmed, the experiment has worked beautifully and the results may well pass into tradition themselves.
Each song is based on a traditional work and has retained the original tune – only the words have been changed. A cast of major contemporary interpreters of traditional song was chosen, song by song, and each has contributed mightily – producing a program of outstanding performance. In addition to that, the sensitive arrangements and backings have enhanced the whole project still further – producing an album that is both adventurous and highly enjoyable.

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BRASS MONKEY ~ GOING & STAYING TSCD531 

Another fine recording from this unique powerhouse band. “Going and Staying” features the band’s Deep English sound. Unique instrumentation and their approach to folk music give Brass Monkey an instantly recognisable sound and presence. For many of the tracks, the lineup expands to a six-piece featuring an extended brass section.

• “If there is a British folk supergroup these days, it’s surely this unusual band” The Guardian
• “…a vitality about the whole thing … lending majesty and a refreshingly different landscape on which to place these … songs” fRoots
• “The arrangements and playing are inventive and alive – played in a unique style which is eminently listenable” Get Rhythm

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MARTIN SIMPSON ~ KIND LETTERS TSCD553

Martin Simpson says of this release, echoing the words of the writer Kazuo Ishiguo, “Traditional music is a treasure chest waiting to be opened”, and he was never more aware of the beauty and the value of the contents of that hoard than in the process of making this recording. Kind Letters is a kind of follow-up to the his award-winning 2001 release The Bramble Briar (TSCD513) in that he has chosen songs largely from the English repertoire – some of which have been with him for as long as he can remember.
Martin’s unequalled talents on guitar, banjo and vocals are joined by a host of outstanding musical accompanists including Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Chris Parkinson and members of the celebrated Irish group, Danu.

• Top 10 Folk/World Album of the Year 2005 Record Collector
• “Simpson is one of the UK’s finest folk musicians, and his unique gift is to bring to bear the kind of fluid forward motion usually associated with American acoustic music on the more strident shapes of British traditional song. Kind Letters is full of spectacular moments.★★★★ Sunday Times
• “Although it’s his guitar virtuosity that’s frequently lauded, it’s as an interpreter of song that Martin Simpson really scores. Simpson delivers narratives with colour and conviction. Fittingly be-gonged several times at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Martin Simpson is taking his place, not just as a hero for guitar-besotted acolytes but as one of the national treasures of English traditional music.” BBC Radio 2 Folk & Acoustic Reviews
“He (Martin) has surely scarcely been in such a rich vein of form as he is now. The last couple of albums were both special…but with Danu – as well as Chris Parkinson, James Fagan and Nancy Kerr – co-opted as a backing band, this takes it somewhere else again. It’s a tender, emotional, profoundly moving album that portrays the immense reach of traditional balladry.” fROOTS
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TSCD298 JUNE TABOR ~ AIRS & GRACES

TSCD298 webIn this impressive debut Tabor tackles not only the traditional stories of Reynardine and the Plains of Waterloo but the harrowing narrative of Eric Bogle’s World War I song The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, in what is now recognised as its definitive version
‘She has the rare gift of releasing the innermost warmth and light of the old songs’ – DAILY TELEGRAPH

June Tabor vocals
with
Nic Jones guitar & fiddle
Jon Gillaspie keyboards

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SINGING THE FISHING ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD803

A radio-ballad about Britain’s herring fishing communities by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

Britain’s herring fishing communities are the subject of this, perhaps the best-remembered and most widely heard of all the radio-ballads. It was broadcast in more than 80 countries, and won the 1960 Prix d’Italia for radio documentary. Several of MacColl’s songs for Singing The Fishing quickly entered the repertoire of a generation of folk singers.

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ENGLISH COUNTRY MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD607

Billy Cooper (1883), Walter Bulwer (1888) and Daisy Bulwer (c.1892) were active musicians in rural Norfolk for over half a century. These recordings, made together with visiting friends in the Bulwers’ cottage in the village of Shipdham, capture the style, vitality and robustness of the music they played for dancing in pubs and at Saturday night hops and wedding parties. Earlier editions of English Country Music appeared in 1965 and 1976. This third edition is re-mastered and contains new notes and many additional recordings.

“Unreservedly recommended” – fRoots magazine

“… right at the core of English identity” – Songlines Magazine

“The playing is wonderfully without affectation and superfluous ornamentation is left in the dooryard. English Country Music is a treasure chest packed with 27 selections of homemade music when the music was used as simple country entertainment. A gem!”
Sing Out magazine

Walter Bulwer fiddle & mandolin-banjo
Billy Cooper dulcimer
Reg Hall melodeon & fiddle
Daisy Bulwer piano
Mervyn Plunkett drums (snare, home-made tenor & tambourine)
Russell Wortley pipe & tabor
Scan Tester Anglo-German concertina
**** Hawkins banjo

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REG HALL

Reg HallBorn in 1933, Reg Hall has been a quietly important stalwart and historian of traditional music for wee over fifty years. Best known as a dance musician, Reg has had a long, personal involvement with traditional music-making and has played Irish music and English country music with most of the finest traditional musicians. For many years he accompanied Michael Gorman and later Jimmy Power in London pub sessions. Reg has played for the Bampton Morris for the past fifty years and was with the Padstow Blue Ribbon ‘Obby ‘Oss for forty years. He formed The Rakes with Michael Plunkett and Paul Gross in 1956, playing for dances and finding time to back Bob Davenport in concert and on record.

Though holding down a day job as a probabtion officer, Reg managed to both participate in the music performance and to document it in extraordinary detail. Reg’s enthusiastic contribution and his pioneering work documenting and encouraging traditional music has not always been widely acknowledged. Both an historian and a musician, he brings a rare understanding and insight to his writing and playing. His association with Topic Records began in 1963 when he wrote the sleeve notes for the Irish Pipe & Fiddle Tunes ep, two years later he collaborated with Bill Leader on The Paddy In The Smoke recording and has compiled and annotated many significant recordings, culminating in The Voice of the People series in 1999. He was awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance And Song Society in 1987, a doctorate in history from Sussex University in 1994 and the Gradam Cheoil musician’s award from the Gaelic television company TG4 early in 2009.

MICHAEL GORMAN ~ THE SLIGO CHAMPION TSCD525D

THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

IRISH DANCE MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD602

PADDY IN THE SMOKE ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD603

PAST MASTERS OF IRISH DANCE MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD604

PAST MASTERS OF IRISH FIDDLE MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD605

ROUND THE HOUSE AND MIND THE DRESSER ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS  TSCD606

ENGLISH COUNTRY MUSIC ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD607



TSCD917 ZANZIBAR: MUSIC OF CELEBRATION

Taarab is the most common style of music performed at weddings on the island of Zanzibar – a unique blend of musical elements from the Middle East, India and the West, combined with, to varying degrees, local African musical practices. It is an essential ingredient of most celebrations. And when Zanzibaris are not playing taarab, they are playing maulidi. Although this is primarily a sober religious performance style (celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammed) it is also becoming common at wedding celebrations, albeit in a more extrovert guise. Here, recited chapters of the Koran are interspersed with kasida (hymns) accompanied on several tuned frame drums. These recordings, made at actual celebrations and in rehearsal for big events, give us a glimpse of the ethnic, religious, and gender composition of this Indian Ocean island culture.

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LAL & NORMA WATERSON ~ A TRUE HEARTED GIRL TSCD507

In 1977 Lal and Norma Waterson, as a side project, recorded A True Hearted Girl – an album of solos, duos and trios (with Lal’s daughter Maria). Lal and Norma varied the tried and true vision of The Watersons on this outing, by only using female voices and in different combinations. This gives the album a different ambience and depth to The Watersons.

Highlights of A True Hearted Girl include The Flowers of the Forest, I Wish I Never Had and Grace Darling. This CD reissue includes two extra tracks; one from the 1966 Watersons album, A Yorkshire Garland, and a rare 1998 live recording of The Waterdaughters (Lal, Norma, Maria & Eliza Carthy).

Lal Waterson, Norma Waterson, Maria Waterson, Eliza Carthy vocals
with
Jim Eldon flute, whistle
Peta Webb fiddle
Rod Stradling melodeon
Tony Engle Anglo-concertina

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STEVE ASHLEY ~ TIME AND TIDE TSCD569 

Steve Ashley’s second release for Topic is a landmark in British folk song writing. On strong winds and rising tides, he takes us on a remarkable journey – over the cliffs and into the heart of the woods and towns of England. These are stirring songs that engage with many realities of life in 2007, including global warming and the continuing Trident missile threat. Rich in poetry and strong melodies, they once again demonstrate Steve’s deep regard for our folk traditions.
Time and Tide also resonates with his earliest recorded work, reuniting him with orchestral arranger Robert Kirby (Robert and Steve first recorded together on Steve’s 1974 classic debut album Stroll On). Among other musicians participating in support are Fairport’s Chris Leslie, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol, plus Robin Williamson and Decameron’s Dik Cadbury.
With 15 new songs delivered with candour, humour and hope for the future, the innovative, challenging and compassionate Time and Tide waits for no one.

  • “If British singer-songwriterdom is to enjoy a renaissance…then it is right and proper that Steve Ashley should be at the forefront…a distinctively English style….alluring tunes and deft lyrics” fRoots
  • “On his new set the gentle, sturdy melodies are matched with a rare blend of emotion and anger. Ashley may not be prolific but his songs are worth the wait.” The Guardian
  • “Uniformly excellent” Net Rhythms

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TSCD750 MARTIN CARTHY ~ A COLLECTION

tscd751 webDrawn from Martin’s first six albums (TSCD340-345) this specially priced collection is the perfect introduction to this unique figure and his early recording career.

1  The Trees They Do Grow High
2  Lord Franklin
3  The Bloody Gardener
4  Poor Murdered Woman
5  Seven Yellow Gypsies
6  The Bold Poachers
7  Scarborough Fair
8  Lowlands of Holland
9  Davy Lowston
10  Streets of Forbes
11  Polly on the Shore
12  Cold Haily Windy Night

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

Available now from:
TOPIC SHOP and AMAZON



TSCD126 LOUIS KILLEN ~ BALLADS & BROADSIDES

TSCD126 webLouis Killen is a hard-core, unadulterated folksinger whose passionate delivery is matched by a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of the songs and the working people who made them. Born in Gateshead in Co. Durham, he was noted for his love of sea songs, as well as the industrial and rural folk songs of his native North East of England. Released in 1965, Ballads and Broadsides was the first full album by a solo folk singer and was, and still is, hugely influential. A great album full of great performances it was, sadly, to be the only album he recorded for Topic Records as he left Britain within a couple of years for a new life in the USA.

“An absolute beauty” fRoots
★★★★ Record Collector
“Classic” Taplas
“A master balladeer already in complete control of his formidable range of skills.” Stirrings

Louis Killen vocal, concertina

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