Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles

ROUND THE HOUSE AND MIND THE DRESSER ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD606 

An outstanding and remarkable collection of Irish traditional music edited by Reg Hall. Round the House and Mind the Dresser could almost be described as “The other side of Irish traditional music” in that much of the recording of the music over the last eighty years or so has concentrated on a repertoire largely dominated by reels and jigs. On this record we have brought together a programme of polkas, slides, flings, hornpipes, the mazurka, waltzes and barndances – music of the country-house dances of rural Ireland and the dance halls of Irish-America.

About one third of the recordings are taken from superbly re-mastered 78s, made between 1925 and the 1950s while the balance comes from studio and live recordings from the 60s and 70s – and every one is a classic. An unusual and exiting repertoire played by some of the masters and mistresses of Irish Traditional Music including Michael Coleman, Johnny Doherty, Johnny O’Leary, Jimmy Power, Julia Clifford, The Flanagan Brothers, Hugh Gillespie, Paddy Killoran, Frank Quinn and many others.

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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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TSCD476 SHIRLEY COLLINS ~ THE SWEET PRIMEROSES

TSCD476 webShirley Collins’s sweet, self-effacing singing keeps her closer to the core of traditional song than many a more histrionic singer. Yet her work has been extraordinarily diverse: she has collaborated with the guitarist Davy Graham, the Incredible String Band, the Albion Country Band and her sister Dolly.

The limpid versions of Southern English songs on the 1965 The Sweet Primeroses album established Shirley Collins as a unique and influential voice on the folk scene.

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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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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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BOB FOX ~ BORROWED MOMENTS TSCD544

Described by Ralph McTell as “one of England’s best voices”, Bob Fox makes his first recording for Topic, and we’re delighted for him to be here. He is one of the hardest working performers in the country, playing more dates than almost anyone else. 

His exceptional voice and inspired guitar have a lightness of touch and a sureness of purpose that go straight to the heart of the song, be it traditional or contemporary.

• “Bob’s interpretations are nothing short of superb. He’s in great voice, and his arrangements showcase well his often unsung instrumental prowess.” Netrhythms
• “This return to acoustic form puts Fox’s gorgeous voice in a setting of Class A songs, which mine the peaks and troughs of the human condition and emerge sparkling with Fox’s sensitive vocal interpretations and adroit tune adaptations…. this album exudes class…startling, moving stuff.” BBC Radio2 reviews
• Folk Album of the Year BBC Radio: Folk Waves

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LAL WATERSON & OLIVER KNIGHT ~ A BED OF ROSES TSCD505

A Bed Of Roses was the second album from Lal Waterson and Oliver Knight. Another collection of luminous songs and riveting performances. Sadly, this was to be Lal Waterson’s last recording, completed just before before her death in 1998.

Mojo magazine has declared Lal Waterson “up with Nick Drake and Richard Thompson in the very front rank of English songwriters.

Lal Waterson vocals
Oliver Knight guitars
Maria Gilhooley vocals
Charles O’Connor fiddles
Jo Freya saxophone
Alice Kinloch trombone
Jody Stecher mandolin
Ray Cooper “Chopper” ‘cello

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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 >>


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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WORLD SERIES

The Topic World Series is widely praised as an important collection of the very best ethnographic recordings. Many releases have been made in conjunction with the International Music Collection of the British Library National Sound Archive.

Started in 1955, The British Library National Sound Archive is one of the largest in the world and now holds over a million discs, 175,000 tapes and many other sound and video recordings. Its aim is to collect, preserve and make accessible a comprehensive collection of music from all over the world. It covers thousands of styles and genres, both traditional and modern, from hundreds of countries.

International music has been a core collecting area for the NSA since its establishment and today the section is one of the largest and most wide-ranging in the world. One of the aims of the NSA is the wide dissemination of the music and information in its collections and the series of CDs produced in collaboration with Topic Records is a significant undertaking. For the most part the recordings are drawn from holdings of unpublished, unique field recordings, but they may also include reissues of 78rpm discs and LPs.

TSCD904 FOLK MUSIC OF ALBANIA
TSCD905 FOLK MUSIC OF BULGARIA
TSCD906 FOLK MUSIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
TSCD907 FOLK MUSIC OF GREECE
TSCD908
FOLK MUSIC OF TURKEY
TSCD911 MUSIC FROM THE SHRINES OF AJMER & MUNDRA
TSCD912
MUSIC OF THE TATAR PEOPLE

TSCD914 GYPSY MUSIC FROM MACEDONIA & NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
TSCD917 ZANZIBAR: MUSIC OF CELEBRATION
TSCD918 HEALING, FEASTING & MAGICAL RITUAL: PAPUA NEW GUINEA
TSCD919 THE MOKEN: SEA GYPSIES OF THE ANDAMAN SEA
TSCD920 THE YEMEN TIHAMA: TRANCE & DANCE MUSIC FROM THE RED SEA COAST
TSCD922 DRUMMING & CHANTING IN GOD’S OWN COUNTRY: TEMPLE MUSIC OF KERALA
TSCD923 GUMBOOT GUITAR: ZULU STREET GUITAR MUSIC FROM SOUTH AFRICA
TSCD925 THE KING’S MUSICIANS: ROYALIST MUSIC OF BUGANDA-UGANDA
TSCD927
OUT OF CUBA: LATIN AMERICAN MUSIC TAKES AFRICA BY STORM
TSCD928 BLOWERS FROM THE BALKANS: CLASSIC HISTORIC RECORDINGS OF WIND INSTRUMENTS
TSCD929  SONGS FROM THE STEPPES : KAZAKH MUSIC TODAY
TSCD930 BAGPIPES OF GREECE
TSCD931 WOMEN OF EGYPT 1924-1931: PIONEERS OF STARDOM AND FAME
TSCD935D SONGS OF SURVIVAL – TRADITIONAL MUSIC OF GEORGIA
TSCD936 POETRY AND LANGUID CHARM- SWAHILI MUSIC FROM TANZANIA AND KENYA FROM THE LATE 1920s TO THE 1950s



JOHN TAMS ~ THE RECKONING TSCD551

John Tams is one of our finest musicians and singers and one of our greatest songwriters. He can sing traditional material wonderfully and, at the same time, has written some of our best songs ever. Harry Stone, otherwise known as Hearts of Coal, and the beautiful Hugh Stenson and Molly Green are just two of his songs that have entered the canon in the last few years.

On this album, John deals the tradition – reworking several classic songs – and then adds his own unmistakable originals to produce a landmark new album.

• Top 10 Folk Album of the Year 2005 Mojo
• ” An album that seems to grow in stature with every play – a poetic songwriter and singer of real character – a consummate reflection on an evocative, living tradition. An exceptional album. Album of the Month” ★★★★ Mojo
• “The true “Folk album of the year” is undeniably John Tams’ The Reckoning. A stunning collection of original and traditional material, the album defies easy categorisation. Outstanding” ★★★★ What’s On In London
• “Bitter Withy as arranged here is the best version I have ever heard. Brilliant.” fRoots
• “The new album, The Reckoning, is absolutely superb – one of the main folk happenings of the year.” Mike Harding BBC Radio 2
• “An absolutely fantastic album – I love Amelia, love Safe House, love it all, and the Bitter Withy is out of this world.” Linda Thompson
• “The Reckoning is a beautifully composed CD – masculine yet tender, full of integrity – so beautifully expressing things that should be said and felt. As for the Bitter Withy – it’s just wonderful – hypnotic, and moving forward in a quite extraordinary way; so steady – so compelling.” Shirley Collins

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JOHN TAMS ~ UNITY TSCD508

John Tams‘ debut Topic album, Unity is a collection of great beauty and emotional depth. Collaboration has always been central to his work and although a solo record, this release is no exception. Keith Angel, Andy Seward and Barry Coope, (of Coope, Boyes and Simpson) were joined by former Albion Band comrade Graeme Taylor and Alan Dunn from the Bob Geldof Band.
The legendary Linda Thompson also makes a rare appearance, on an album that may yet prove to be the pinnacle of this anthemic and commanding style of folk music.

“(Unity is) one of the very finest records of the last century. A timeless expression of stories, people and deep emotion…songs of rare quality performed exquisitely.” fROOTS
Awarded the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Album & Best Song Harry Stone

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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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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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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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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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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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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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TSCD389 MARTIN CARTHY ~ BECAUSE IT’S THERE

TSCD389 webHis musical thinking enriched by his experience in folk-rock pioneers Steeleye Span, Martin Carthy approached this 1979 album (produced by Ashley Hutchings) with fresh ideas and collaborators such as trumpeter Howard Evans and John Kirkpatrick on accordion and concertina.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
with
John Kirkpatrick accordion, concertina
Howard Evans trumpet
Bruce Rowlands drums

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PETER BELLAMY ~ BOTH SIDES THEN TSCD582

Peter Bellamy’s passions – from the great English traditional singers to the prisoners of Parchman Farm, the mountain music of the Appalachians, the Rolling Stones and especially the poems of Rudyard Kipling, were too wide-ranging to be tied to any one sort of music.

BOTH SIDES THEN – originally released in 1979 and generally considered to be his finest solo album – is a superb integration of his varied musical interests, drawing on English, Irish and Appalachian traditions. Working with close friends from The Young Tradition, The Watersons, Louis Killen and Dave Swarbrick, he explores the richness of traditional music. Peter Bellamy, who sadly died in 1991, left a remarkable body of recording which continues to inspire musicians around the world.

“Peter Bellamy’s finest hour” ★★★★★ Songlines
“Classic” Taplas

Peter Bellamy
with
Anthea Bellamy, Louis Killen, Bill Shute and Lisa Null, Dave Swarbrick, Royston Wood, Heather Wood and The Watersons

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TSCD922 DRUMMING & CHANTING IN GOD’S OWN COUNTRY: TEMPLE MUSIC OF KERALA

Cut off from the rest of the Indian mainland by the expansive Western Ghats mountain range, and open to the influences of the Arabian Sea via its 1000km coastline, the culture of the tiny Indian state of Kerala in the very south west of the country, is quite different from that of the rest of the Indian subcontinent.

In addition to the friendly people and the endless green of the countryside dotted with coconut trees, Kerala impresses through its man-made soundscape, largely centred around the ubiquitous Hindu temples. Derived from ancient forms and supplemented with performance and visual arts, brightened with elephant processions, special pujas (worshipping forms) and fancy shops, these events form the main leisure time attraction of the Hindu population.

The recordings on this CD, made in and around these between 1995 and 1997, demonstrate the vast range of performance genres. The huge percussion orchestra performances, the ancient styles of devotional singing, and the small music ensembles featuring rare traditional instruments like the huge C-shaped horn, the kombu, are some of these electrifying styles.

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IT FELL ON A DAY, A BONNY SUMMER DAY: BALLADS TSCD667

tscd667 webVolume 17 of The Voice of The People.
Ballads.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 LIZZIE HIGGINS voice: A Beggar Man
2 JOHN REILLY voice: Lord Baker
3 WALTER PARDON voice: Jack Hall
4 JOHN MacDONALD voice & accordeon: The Bonnie Hoose O’Airlie
5 MARY DELANEY voice: Buried In Kilkenny
6 WILLIE SCOTT voice: The Dowie Dens O’ Yarrow
7 PACKIE MANUS BYRNE (pictured) voice: Young Alvin
8 SHEILA STEWART voice with chorus: The Mountain Streams Where The Moorcocks Grow
9 ROBERT CINNAMOND voice: There Was A Lady Lived In The West
10 HARRY COX voice: In Worcester City
11 MARY DELANEY voice: What Put The Blood?
12 LIZZIE HIGGINS voice: Lady Mary Ann
13 JOHN REILLY voice: Once There Lived A Captain
14 JEANNIE ROBERTSON voice: The Gypsy Laddies
15 HARRY COX voice: Young Edmund
16 SARAH MAKEM voice: Barbara Allen

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



THE McPEAKE FAMILY ~ WILD MOUNTAIN THYME TSCD583

The McPeake Family’s Wild Mountain Thyme, also known as Will Ye Go Lassie, Go, is one of the most famous songs to emerge from the folk revival of the 1950s, being covered by an incredible variety of artists including Fotheringay, The Byrds, Mark Knopfler and Rod Stewart as well as Ewan MacColl, The Chieftains and Clancy Brothers.

Often containing as many as three generations, the Belfast born and bred McPeake Family played as far afield as Moscow and was a great favourite on the BBC. Their distinctive combination of uilleann pipes, harps and harmony vocals set a new standard for Irish music in the 1950s & 60s. Not content to showcase instrumental virtuosity, their warm ensemble sound brought out the depth of the songs making them one of the most loved Irish groups on the 1950s and early 60s.

“The combination of harp with harmony vocals, traded between three generations, and uilleann pipes was unique” Songlines

The McPeake Family uilleann pipes, harp and harmony singing

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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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TSCD931 WOMEN OF EGYPT 1924-1931: PIONEERS OF STARDOM AND FAME

A CD compilation of fantastic Arab women, stars of Egyptian theatre and song who recorded in the nineteen twenties and early thirties. Taken from original 78rpm recordings of the time and remastered to the highest standards, this collection features among others the legendary Umm Kulthum.

Between 1890 and 1920, theatres and European-style cabarets sprang up all over Egypt. Performers flocked there from all over the Arab world and from Europe. Isadora Duncan, Pavlova and Mistinguette included Cairo in their world tours. At their peak, the most famous female Arabic women singers were earning as much, if not more, than their male counterparts. The 1920s was the heyday of this music and its recordings and these performers can be seen as having struck a blow for the emancipation of women. The Wall Street crash and the associated economic downturn marked the end of the recording industries’ boom years, leaving us a legacy of remarkable performances of immense power.

Winner of The German Critics’ Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik). The award was inaugurated in 1963 to set the “most rigorous standards for supreme achievement” in the field of recording.

• “A fascinating variety of vocal styles covering the spectrum from Upper-Egyptian to quintessential Paris.” ★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
• “A painstakingly compiled and copiously annotated compendium of sixteen rare sides. One can’t help but compare the rare recording to its equivalents in American Appalachian and country blues music of the time, except for one primary difference – those genres arose from rural life, these Egyptian sounds very much emanate from urban – and urbane – society. Saniyyah Hassaneyn’s “Ataftu Wardah Hamra” (I Plucked a Red Rose) – a vocal so burdened by the weight of the world that Bessie Smith or Billie Holliday could easily have made it their own.” All Music Guide
• “Enormously evocative, these recordings open the door to a cast of larger than life characters.” fROOTS
• “The breadth of styles present on the compilation is remarkable. – an essential addition to both university library collections and private collections of Arab music.” Ethnomusicology

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MIKE WATERSON ~ MIKE WATERSON TSCD516 

The Watersons, the most influential and best loved English vocal group of its day, disbanded in the late 1960s only to reform again in 1973. In 1975, they released their finest recorded work, For Pence And Spicy Ale (TSCD574). Fired up and full of music, Mike Waterson stepped out of the shadows of The Watersons to record his only solo album. Upon its release in 1977, Melody Maker, which was the most popular music paper of the time, wrote of the album, “Almost every track emerges as an epic…no song defeats him…a monumental work”..
Regarded as one of the best singers to emerge from the English folk song revival, Mike Waterson’s voice is known to all those who are familiar with The Watersons. Here, however, the focus is on Mike alone and he brings depths to his material not possible on group projects.”
This reissue includes two extra tracks from the 1966 Watersons album, A Yorkshire Garland.

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ON THE EDGE TSCD806 

A radio-ballad about the teenagers in England and Scotland by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

Just as groups like The Beatles were about to redefine youth culture, the radio-ballad team produced this powerfully revealing account of the lives and dreams of British teenagers. MacColl harked back to the ancient song-form of the quest ballad to create a match with the frankness and sincerity of the young people interviewed.

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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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TSCD474 MARGARET BARRY & MICHAEL GORMAN ~ HER MANTLE SO GREEN

TSCD474 webWith her flamboyant delivery and idiosyncratic banjo-playing Margaret Barry brought the art of the street-singer into the pubs and clubs of Irish London in the 1950s and ’60s, frequently accompanied by the fiddler Michael Gorman.

‘To be confronted with a past so recent, so arrestingly singular and so irrecoverable catches alike the heart and the imagination.’– Mojo

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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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TSCD495 BOLD SPORTSMEN ALL ~ EWAN MacCOLL, A.L. LLOYD, ROY HARRIS

TSCD495 webGamblers and sporting blades
These songs of sport and betting evoke a packed landscape of hunts and racecourses, boxing rings and football pitches, cockfighting pits, card tables and poolrooms, in boisterous renditions by Ewan MacColl, A.L.Lloyd and Roy Harris.

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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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TSCD419 DICK GAUGHAN ~ HANDFUL OF EARTH

TSCD419 webThis mixture of love songs, odes of parting and political commentaries such as Worker’s Song and World Turned Upside Down is Gaughan’s most complex and emotionally penetrating album, and has come to be recognised as a masterwork.
• “Album of the Decade.” Folk Roots
• “By turns defiant, inspired, hopeful and downright angry, this is a genuine benchmark album, adorned by Gaughan’s passionate and fearsome guitar.” All time classic album HMV Choice

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COME LET US BUY THE LICENSE: SONGS OF COURTSHIP & MARRIAGE TSCD651

tscd651 webVolume 1 of The Voice of The People.
Songs of courtship and marriage.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 SARAH MAKEM voice: I Courted A Wee Girl
2 GEOFF LING voice: The Green Bushe
3 MARY ANN HAYNES voice: Lovely Johnny
4 TOMMY McGRATH voice: The Colleen From Coolbaun
5 POP MAYNARD voice: Our Captain Calls All Hands
6 WILLIE CLANCY voice: The Song Of The Riddles
7 JIMMY McBEATH voice: The Bonnie Lass O’Fyvie
8 PADDY TUNNEY voice: The Old Man Rocking The Cradle
9 HARRY COX voice: The Bold Fisherman
10 ROSE MURPHY fiddle: The Lonely Maid
11 JOE HEANEY voice: Who Are You, My Pretty Fair Maid?
12 JACK NORRIS voice & accordeon: The Gown Of Green
13 BELLE STEWART voice: The Bonnie Wee Lassie Fae Gouroch
14 PHIL TANNER voice: The Sweet Primroses
15 EDDIE BUTCHER voice: David’s Flowery Vale
16 TURP BROWN voice: Abroad As 1 Was Walking
17 MARGARET BARRY voice & banjo: The Blarney Stone
18 WALTER PARDON voice: Peggy Benn
19 MARTIN GORMAN voice with chorus: The Little Drummer
20 JOSEPH TAYLOR voice: The Gypsy Girl
21 JIMMY McBEATH voice: Bound To Be A Row
22 MICHO RUSSELL voice: Nora Daly
23 PADDY TUNNEY voice: When A Man’s In Love He Feels No Cold
24 JEANNIE ROBERTSON voice with chorus: An Old Man Come Courting Me

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



TSCD485 DEEP LANCASHIRE ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS

TSCD485 webFolk music from industrial NW England from the Oldham Tinkers, Harry Boardman, Mike Harding etc.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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O’ER HIS GRAVE THE GRASS GREW GREEN: TRAGIC BALLADS TSCD653

tscd653 webVolume 3 of The Voice of The People.
Tragic Ballads.

An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 PACKIE MANUS BYRNE voice: The Holland Handkerchief
2 FRED JORDAN voice: The Bonny Boy
3 PADDY TUNNEY voice: What Put The Blood?
4 JOSEPH TAYLOR voice: Worcester City
5 LIZ JEFFERIES voice: Willie, The Bold Sailor Boy
6 STANLEY ROBERTSON voice: The Clattering Of The Clyde Waters
7 GEORDIE HANNA voice: Young Edmund In The Lowlands Low
8 FRED HEWETT voice: The Prickle Holly-Bush
9 JOHN MacDONALD voice & accordeon: Lord Ronald
10 JUMBO BRIGHTWELL voice: Newry Town
11 BEN BUTCHER voice: Cruel Lincoln
12 FREDA PALMER voice: Maria Marten
13 LIZZIE HIGGINS voice: The Cruel Mother
14 PADDY TUNNEY voice: Lady Margaret
15 JOHN REILLY voice: The Well Below The Valley
16 JOHN MacDONALD voice: The Dewie Dens Of Yarrow
17 PHOEBE SMITH voice: Molly Vaughan
18 ENOS WHITE voice: George Collins
19 BELLE STEWART voice: The Two Brothers
20 SCAN TESTER voice: The Lakes Of Coalflin
21 NORA CLEARY voice: Willie-O

Available now from:
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MARTIN SIMPSON ~ PRODIGAL SON TSCD567

With Prodigal Son Martin Simpson has made what is undoubtedly his finest recording to date. The album reflects the full breadth of his creativity, drawing on both British and American traditions as well as including several of his own outstanding compositions.
Many of Martin’s good friends and favourite artists appear with him on the album, including Jackson Browne who adds a perfect harmony vocal to Martin’s beautiful version of Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927. Kate Rusby and Kellie While sing sublime harmonies on two of the tracks – Never Any Good [Martin’s song for his father] and Batchelor’s Hall. The album is further enhanced by Danny Thompson on bass, Andy Cutting on accordion, Alistair Anderson on concertina and Northumbrian pipes and Barry Philips on cello.

  • “A modern masterpiece. This remarkable collection of fifteen songs and tunes which, by any measure, is the best album that Simpson has recorded to date – he has produced a near-flawless folk masterpiece.” Sydney Morning Herald
  • “Prodigal Son is a triumph” Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3 Late Junction
  • “The [album] has range, a relaxed mastery and emotional depth – this is roots music at its richest.
” ★★★★★ The List
  • “A quiet masterpiece. There are classic English ballads, excursions into Americana and a clutch of open-hearted originals- resulting in an album of easy elegance.” ★★★★ Observer Music Monthly

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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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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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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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TSCD344 MARTIN CARTHY with DAVE SWARBRICK ~ PRINCE HEATHEN

TSCD344 webIn this 1969 album Martin Carthy focuses on traditional songs, producing powerful readings such as the title track and his lengthy retelling of the ballad Little Musgrave & Lady Barnard.

“One of the best albums anyone’s ever done” Folk Roots

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

1  Arthur McBride & the Sergeant
2  Salisbury Plain
3  Polly on the Shore
4  The Rainbow
5  Died for Love
6  Staines Morris
7  Reynardine
8  Seven Yellow Gypsies
9  Little Musgrave & Lady Barnard
10  Prince Heathen
11  The Wren

Available now from:
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Enter your name and email address to download MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICKÂ Prince Heathen pdf booklet

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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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MELODEON GREATS ~ VARIOUS ARTISTS TSCD601 

A collection of melodeon masterpieces
Amidst the popular singers and military bands in the catalogues of early British record companies like Imperial, Invicta and Guardsman were a number of remarkable melodeon players with a mature command of traditional repertoire. Carefully transferred from largely acoustic recordings going back to 1909, these performances by Scots and Northern English musicians are a hidden treasury of traditional styles. Compiled, with detailed notes, by the traditional music historian Keith Chandler.

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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



WATERSON:CARTHY ~ A DARK LIGHT TSCD536

Another outstanding collection from Waterson:Carthy England’s leading folk group.
The core trio of Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson & Eliza Carthy are joined by new member Tim van Eyken on vocals and melodeons. Also contributing to the album are Martin Simpson on guitar, Ben Ivitsky on fiddle and Barnaby Stradling on acoustic bass guitar.
A Dark Light, first released in 2002, reflects the influence on the group of some of the great singers from the tradition, and therefore features a selection including songs from The Copper Family, Packie Byrne, Seamus Ennis and Sam Larner.

• “This great album…bringing a creative continuity to some of the great source material of the folk revival” BBC Radio 2 folk reviews

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TIM VAN EYKEN ~ STIFFS LOVERS HOLYMEN THIEVES TSCD565

Collecting together a band of like-minded musicians in Nancy Kerr, Oliver Knight, Pete Flood and Colin Fletcher, Tim has produced an astonishingly impressive debut album from the band – Van Eyken.
It’s a “band album” in the best sense, with remarkable, imaginative and contemporary arrangements of electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, accordion, bass and drums that still maintain the essential integrity and gritty reality of the traditional songs and tunes, pacing it firmly in the future, firmly from the past and … firmly of today. This is the first Topic album by this exceptionally assured singer and musician. The production by Tim and Oliver Knight sets new standards for the presentation of contemporary/traditional folk music in England.
.

  • “An album full of thought, variety and surprises … but a real sense of history and tradition is its essential heartbeat.” fRoots
  • “Tim van Eyken delivers a clarion call for tradition – a triumph.” The Observer Review
  • “What makes this set special are the arrangements and inspired instrumental work. The variety is remarkable, from the gently textured wash of guitar and fiddle on Bold Fisherman to the spitting drums on Fair Ellen of Ratcliffe or the carefully uneasy lend of brooding and jaunty styles on the bleak story of Babes in the Wood. It’s been a great year for the new folk scene, and this fresh, compelling album is one of the high points.” ★★★★ The Guardian
  • “…quietly radical … van Eyken – at his best – encourages the songs to speak for themselves, and finds that they still have plenty to say.” ★★★★ CD of the Week Sunday Times

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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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JOE HEANEY ~ THE ROAD FROM CONNEMARA TSCD518D 

One of the world’s greatest ever traditional singers is celebrated on this magnificent double CD of previously unissued material recorded by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1964, when Joe Heaney was at the height of his powers. 39 tracks and a 60 page booklet, which includes a full transcript as well as detailed notes on the man, his songs and his tradition

“These superb recordings…..exceptional liner note essays…the presentation of both Gaelic and English songs makes the collection accessible and essential for anyone seeking to get a little closer to the roots of a unique man whose legacy is well captured by this release” Sing Out Magazine

Joe Heaney vocal

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TSCD450 SILLY SISTERS ~ NO MORE TO THE DANCE

The inspired collaboration of Maddy Prior and June Tabor, two of the most individual singers in folk music, is enhanced by musicians such as the Breton guitarist Dan Ar Braz, ex-Steeleye Span bass guitarist Rick Kemp and producer Andrew Cronshaw.

June Tabor and Maddy Prior vocals
with
Dan Ar Braz
guitar
Huw Warren keyboards
Jim Sutherland percussion
Rick Kemp bass guitar
Andrew Cronshaw Chinese flutes, whistles, bombarde, concertina
Sileas (Pasty Seddon & Mary MacMaster) clarsachs
Bernard O’Neill cello
Paul James soprano saxophone, half-long bagpipes
Nigel Eaton hurdy gurdy
Mark Emerson violin

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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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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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A STORY I’M JUST ABOUT TO TELL: LOCAL EVENTS & NATIONAL ISSUES TSCD658

tscd658 webVolume 8 of The Voice of The People.
Local Events & National Issues.
An anthology edited by REG HALL.

1 JOHN MacDONALD accordeon: Majuba Hill
2 BOB HART voice: A Broadside
3 MARGARET BARRY & MICHAEL GORMAN voice, banjo & fiddle: The Wild Colonial Boy
4 JOE HEANEY voice: The Wife Of The Bold Tenant Farmer
5 DAVIE STEWART voice & accordeon: MacPherson’s Rant
6 MARTIN HOWLEY voice: The Young Horseman
7 JOHN MacDONALD voice & accordeon: The Haughs O’Cromdale
8 ROBERT CINNAMOND voice: The Aghalee Heroes
9 SHEILA STEWART voice: Young Jimmy Foyers
10 TOM COSTELLO voice: A Grand Conversation On Napoleon
11 LUCY FARR fiddle: The Glen Of Aherlow
12 JOSEPH TAYLOR voice: Creeping Jane
13 FREDDY McKAY voice: Skibbereen
14 WILLIE SCOTT voice: Bloody Waterloo
15 TOMMY McGRATH voice: Down In The Town Of Old Bantry
16 DAVIE STEWART voice & accordeon: Boulavogue
17 BERNARD O’SULLIVAN & TOMMY McMAHON concertinas: Bonaparte’s Retreat
18 SARAH MAKEM voice: The Wind That Shakes The Barley
19 JASPER SMITH voice: Hartlake Bridge
20 JOE HEANEY voice: Morrissey And The Russian Sailor
21 CYRIL POACHER voice: The Bonny Bunch O’Roses
22 MAY BRADLEY voice: Calvery
23 STRAIGHTY FLANAGAN voice: Michael Power
24 MARGARET BARRY voice & banjo: The Bold Fenian Men

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



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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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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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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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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TSCD430 MARTIN SIMPSON ~ THE COLLECTION

TSCD430 webThis collection, drawn from Martin Simpson’s three earliest Topic albums, finds him working both solo and with other musicians in a variety of inventive settings.

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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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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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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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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



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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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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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



JUNE TABOR ~ AN ECHO OF HOOVES TSCD543

June Tabor makes the ultimate album for all discerning folk fans, featuring a programme made up exclusively of the great traditional folk ballads – story telling at its dark, urgent best. June’s regular trio of accompanists (Huw Warren – piano, cello; Mark Emerson – violin, viola; Tim Harries – double bass) are joined by Martin Simpson, guitar and Kathryn Tickell, Northumbrian pipes).

• Best Folk Album of the Year ★★★★★ Mojo
• “June’s best album for years…sheer majesty…a return to the very heart of what she does best.” FROOTS
• “Outstanding…the year’s finest folk record” The Sunday Times
• “her richly expressive delivery probes deeply into tragic and often violent scenarios.” ★★★★ The Scotsman
• “Folk album of the month” “In one dramatic, spine chilling album (June Tabor) blows all else out of the water…this is the storyteller’s art and the full achievement of this majestic album. A stunner.
” ★★★★★ Mojo
• “This year’s finest traditional album.” The Guardian
• “I doubt if I will ever hear a better recording.” The Canberra Times

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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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