Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles

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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 Voice Of The People

THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
THE TRADITIONAL MUSIC OF ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND & WALES

The first TWENTY volumes : TSCD651-670

harry cox web margaret barry web scan tester web


“My favourite sit-down-and-listen records”
Norma Waterson

This series makes available nearly 500 recordings of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh traditional music drawn from the archives of Topic Records and from private collections.

Compiled as thematic anthologies, each volume stands on its own, but the series as a whole presents an extensive and varied picture of traditional singing, instrumental music-making and dancing throughout the course of the 20th century. Many of the singers and musicians and their recorded performances presented here are classic, but the inclusion of some less well-known performers and genres broadens the horizon by offering glimpses at some little-known nooks and crannies of traditional music-making. This is the home-spun art and entertainment that enriched the lives of working people in pubs and cottages, in social clubs and village halls and on the street, and was made, in the words of one of the musicians in the series, “by people with dirt under their finger nails.”

Society has moved on, but the artistry of these singers and musicians and the emotional impact of their performances are timeless. The timbres and textures of the language and musical expression, the performance skills and techniques, the social values contained in both the material and the performers’ life stories, and the subtleties of meaning in the song texts could easily be lost sight of forever. The cultural voices of these farm workers and men on the buildings, the housewives, the shepherds and cowmen, the gardeners and estate workers, the miners and trawlermen, the dealers in scrap, the country policeman and the village postman, the chambermaid and the hospital nurse are therefore worthy of serious and prolonged attention. Their singing and music-making have made a striking and significant contribution to the cultural roots of these islands.

Best known as a dance musician, Reg Hall is a visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex and, in compiling and annotating this series, he has called on the experience of a long, personal involvement with traditional music-making and an academic historian’s view of its history and social context. His commentary pays tribute to the pioneer pen-and-paper folk-song-collectors of the Edwardian era and to those professionals in the early post-war years equipped with tape recorders. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise of a small number of enthusiasts, both professional and amateur, who recorded traditional music and broke new ground in discovery and evaluation, and this series owes a great deal to their creative efforts and co-operation.

Ever a critic of the concepts of ‘folk-song’ and ‘folk-dance’, Reg Hall challenges the ground rules of both movements and directs the emphasis in this presentation towards the lives of the performers and the communities and circumstances in which they performed. The songs and dance music had meaning and purpose for the singers and musicians, and the exploration of those realities, as far as we are able to understand them, is far more exciting than perpetuating the myths.

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JOHNNY HANDLE The Collier Lad TSDL270

Onetime member of the esteemed High Level Ranters, Johnny Handle is also a solo performer of great charm, humour and a wonderful songwriter. The Collier Lad mirrors many aspects of life in the North-east, from the lore of the miner to the lure of the Geordie streets.

Johnny Handle guitar, accordeon & piano with Alistair Anderson English concertina, Tommy Gilfellon Guitar and Colin Ross fiddle.

In Bye
1   The Collier Lad *
2   Dust
3   The Durham Big Meetin’ Day
4   The Old Man of the Village
5   The New Spotlight
6   Farewell to the Monty
7   Stottin’ Doon the Waal *
On Bank
8   The Day we went to the Coast
9   Schooldays
10  Is there Owt Secure?
11  The Old Pubs ±
12  Decorating
13  The Fearless Mariner
14  Danny’s *
* ably assisted by the rest of the High Level Ranters
± with Alistair Anderson, chorus

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TSDL283 VARIOUS ARTISTS ~ Holey Ha’penny

Classic recordings of Traditional Music from the North-East of England
This record serves as a documentary of the thriving North-Eastern country music tradition in the second half of the 20th century. A tradition that continues to this day. Holey Ha’Penny is chiefly drawn from the 1954 field recordings by Peter Kennedy, with the addition of the only known record of the famous Northumbrian piper Tom Clough.

Tom Clough – Northumbrian Pipes        4.1.29
Jake Hutton – Fiddle, Bewcastle Fells, Cumberland 30.6.54
Tom Hunter – Fiddle, Bewcastle Fells, Cumberland 30.6.54
Billy Ballantine – Piccolo, Bewcastle Fells, Cumberland 30.6.54, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland 6.7.54 and Wark, Northumberland 29.6.54
Jimmy Hunter – Mouth organ, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland 6.7.54
Jim Rutherford – Fiddle, Otterburn, Northumberland 8.7.54
Ned Pearson – Fiddle, Cambo, Morpeth 16.6.54
Joe Hutton – Pipes, Stuart Shields, Otterburn, Northumberland 11.7.54
Adam Gray – Fiddle, Barden Mill, Northumberland 1.7.54
Willy Taylor – Melodeon, Warenford, Northumberland 7.6.54, Fiddle, Warenford, Northumberland 7.6.54
Bob Clark – Jews harp, Wltittingham, Northumberland 9.6.54
John Hepple – Pipes, Haltwhistle, Northumberland 1.7.54
George Hepple – Fiddle, Haltwhistle, Northumberland 1.7.54

1    Ho’ley Ha’Penny/Elsie Marley Tom Clough
2    The Gilsland Hornpipe Tom Hunter, Billy Ballantine
3    Morpeth Rant Jim Rutherford
4    Proudlocks Hompipe Billy Ballantine
5    Billy Ballantine’s Reel Billy Ballantine
6    Father’s Polka Ned Pearson
7    Schottische Ned Pearson
8    Varsoviana (Old and New) Ned Pearson
9    Highland Laddie  Ned Pearson
10   My Lodging is on Cold Ground/Bonnie Dundee Joe Hutton
11   Roxburgh Castle/Devil among the Tailors Joe Hutton
12   The Roman Wall Adam Gray
13   Tom Hepple’s Polka (The Girl with the Blue Dress On) Adam Gray
14   The Tow House Polka Adam Gray
15   The Kielder Schottische Jake Hutton, Tom Hunter, Billy Ballantine
16   The Keel Row (with variations) Tom Clough
17   Schottische Billy Ballantine, Jimmy Hunter
18   My Lodging’s on Cold Ground/Blow the Wind Southerly Billy Ballantine, Jimmy Hunter
19   Corn Rigs/The Manchester Hornpipe Bob Clark
20   The Linehope Lope Willy Taylor
21   Willy Taylor’s Polka Willy Taylor
22   Nae Good Luck – jig Willy Taylor
23   Whittingham Green Lane/Ward’s Brae John Hepple, George Hepple
24   Bonny North Tyne Billy Ballantine
25   Mosstrooper’s Polka Billy Ballantine
26   The Coquet Reel Billy Ballantine
27   Heel and Toe Polka Ned Pearson
28   The Pin Reel – jig Ned Pearson
29   Cambo March Ned Pearson
30   The Ferry Boat George Hepple
31   Malorca/Herd on the Hill/Devil among the Tailors John Hepple, George Hepple

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VARIOUS ARTISTS Devon Tradition TSDL349

An Antholoqy from Traditional Singers from Devon with Amy Birch, Phoebe Birch, Avice Clarke, Nobby Clarke, Joe Davies, Harold Gill, Charlie Hill, Brian Holland, Sophie Isaacs, Henry Mitchemore, Tom Orchard snr, Tom Orchard jnr, Bill Parnell, Bob Penfold, Nelson Penfold, George Roberts, Jim Sanders and Bob Small.

The Rev. S. Baring-Gould, who collected folksongs in the West country during the 1880s, wrote in his reminiscences that “the old fellows who had these songs were fast dying off, and their sons and grandsons despised the ballads and the tunes in the Gregorian modes and sang only the last vulgar music-hall ditties.” Many song hunters from that day to this have thought the same. Are they right? Well, this record of pieces recently collected in Baring-Gould’s own county of Devon gives some answers.

1 The Exmoor Ram Nobby Clarke
2 The Molecatcher Amy Birch
3 When I Was a Young Man Bob Small
4 Tuning Brian Holland (melodeon), Tom Orchard snr (vocal), Tom Orchard jnr (dancing) and Bob Penfold (vocal)
5 Barbara Allen George Roberts
6 Head-a-nodding Avice Clarke
7 The Thrashing Machine Joe Davies
8 Sweet Willie Sophie Isaacs
9 Navvy Boots Bill Parnell
10 The Leg o’ the Mallard Henry Mitchemore
11 Royal Comrade Amy Birch
12 Three Men Went a-Hunting Charlie Hill
13 The Farmer in Leicester Nelson Penfold
14 Tuning Tom Orchard snr (vocal & melodeon) and Tom Orchard jnr (melodeon)
15 Seven Nights Drunk Harold Gill
16 The Fremington Great Meat Pie Phoebe Birch
17 Up the Green Meadows Amy Birch
18 Rattling Irish Boy Bob Penfold
19 Mortal Unlucky Old Chap Jim Sanders

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The HIGH LEVEL RANTERS NORTHUMBERLAND FOR EVER TSDL186

The debut album from the mighty HIGH LEVEL RANTERS is a tremendous collection of dance and song from the North East of England. The Ranters were a group of Northeastern musicians whose regular meeting-place was the Bridge Inn under the shadow of Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s High Level Bridge (hence their, conceivably punning, name). They comprise Johnny Handle (accordion and sundry other sonorous engines), Colin Ross and Foster Charlton (both fiddlers doubling on small-pipes), Alistair Anderson (concertina), Tom Gilfellon (guitar);

1 Shew’s the way to Wallington /The Peacock Followed the Hen Band
2 The Sandgate Girl’s Lament / Elsie Marley Johnny Handle acc Band
3 Bellingham Boat / Lambskinnet Band
4 Adam Buckham Johnny Handle acc Band
5 Meggy’s Foot Concertina Guitar Jews Harp
6 The Lads of North Tyne / The Redesdale Hornpipe Band
7 The Hexhamshire Lass Tom Gilfellon acc Band
8 The Breakdown / Blanchland Races Band
9 The Lads of Alnwick / Lamshaw’s Fancy Band
10 Byker Hill Tom Gilfellon acc Band
11 Whinham’s Reel / Nancy Band
12 Because he was a Bonny Lad / Salmon Tails up the Water /
Sweet Hesleyside
Small-pipe Duet
13 Dance to Your Daddy Band featuring fiddle duet
14 Billy Boy Tom Gilfellon acc Band
15 Nae Guid Luck Aboot the Hoose Concertina solo
16 Mi’ Laddie sits ower late up Johnny Handle acc Jews Harp
17 The Keel Row / Kafoozalum / The Washing Day Band

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purpose + grace


Guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson will release his new album on Monday September 5th.
purpose + grace

takes its very apposite title from the great American songwriter Yip Harburg (composer of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, ‘Brother Can You Spare A Dime’ and ‘Only A Paper Moon’)
“I am one of the last of a small tribe of troubadours who still believe that life is a beautiful and exciting journey with a purpose and grace well worth singing about.”

This album marks a bold and confident step for Simpson. Building upon the strengths of Prodigal Son and True Stories, like a movie producer, he conceived the whole project over a number of months and then invited some of his favourite musicians to bring their stellar talents to the recording sessions. Jon Boden, B J Cole, Dick Gaughan, Fay Hield, Will Pound, June Tabor and Richard Thompson join Martin’s regular band – Andy Cutting, Andy Seward and Keith Angel – on an exemplary series of performances. The material shifts from Anglo-American ballads, Scots and English traditional songs to new compositions from Bruce Springsteen, Richard Thompson, the aforementioned Yip Harburg and Martin Simpson.

Central to the whole project is a new Simpson composition based upon the words of Banjo Bill Cornett of Hindman, Kentucky, from a 1958 home recording. Cornett makes a heartfelt exposition of the beauty and purpose of traditional music-making: “This is Banjo Bill Cornett, I’m at home today, thirteenth day of February 1958. Here by myself, nobody but me around and that’s when I usually play the banjo and sing and whatever. My children grew up, and they fell for this rock’n’roll music – honky tonk music whatever you might call it. I don’t like that and I catch them all gone, my wife gone and then I carry on to suit my own self and I’m a making this record to give somebody – I don’t know who I’ll give this recording to, I want to give it to someone who will keep it and if there’s any people after I’m gone who’d like to hear my carrying on as far as my singing and banjo playing is concerned, I’d like them to keep it.”

MARTIN SIMPSON
purpose + grace
TSCD584

track list:
1     The Sheffield Apprentice
2     Bold General Wolfe
3     Brothers Under The Bridge
4     Little Liza Jane
5     Brother Can You Spare A Dime
6     Jamie Foyers
7     In The Pines
8     Strange Affair
9     Banjo Bill
10    Barbry Allen
11    Don’t Put Your Banjo In The Shed Mr Waterson
12    Bad Girl’s Lament
13    Lakes Of Ponchartrain

Martin’s album is reviewed by Robin Denselow, Sam Lee and Julian May on the new weekly ProperMusic.Com Podcast. The podcast may be downloaded free : http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/propermusic.com-podcast/id463436857
or listened to: http://soundcloud.com/proper-music-distribution/proper-music-mix-final/s-QUqpQ

Little Liza Jane : MARTIN SIMPSON by Topic Records

Brothers Under The Bridge : MARTIN SIMPSON by Topic Records


with thanks to Ian Anderson at fRoots

“Simpson can seemingly do no wrong at the moment, his Indian summer turning into an extended heatwave on yet another brave and sometimes daring album… (purpose + grace) is an album of infinite range and moods and yet again must rank up there among his very best.” Colin Irwin, fRoots

Sadly, the great Mike Waterson, one of the finest singers of the folk revival died on June 22nd. Martin had composed a tune in honour of Mike and his banjo – “Sometime in the early 1970s I visited Hull to see the Watersons at their home, and I was greatly taken by an old fretless banjo they had – I coveted it a great deal actually! Almost 35 years later I did a gig with Mike, Martin Carthy and Chris Parkinson at Skipton Cattle Market. I asked Mike about the banjo, which he informed me was languishing in his shed. He told me I could have it if I got it fixed up. My friend Barry Murphy has painstakingly restored it to playing condition, straightening the warped neck, making new friction pegs and replacing the old split head. The first time I played it I started to write the tune for Mike – Don’t Put Your Banjo In The Shed Mr Waterson.”

For details of Martin Simpson’s forthcoming gigs please visit: www.martinsimpson.com

“I am a big fan of Martin’s playing. Perhaps the highest praise I could give is to say that he never stops getting better!” Richard Thompson

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

TSCD936 POETRY AND LANGUID CHARM- SWAHILI MUSIC FROM TANZANIA AND KENYA FROM THE LATE 1920s TO THE 1950s

As recorded music developed in the early part of the 20th century, there was more and more pressure on commercial record labels to capitalise on indigenous music in Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean. This was not some sort of altruistic exercise, rather a market that was open to exploitation. On the East African coast, site of the present day Tanzania and Kenya, there was a “gold rush” fever in the 1930s to record the local music stars.

The music recorded was mostly “taarab”, sung poetry accompanied by an ensemble that played with both traditional African rhythms with Arabic influences and used Arabic and Indian instruments. This exciting music is being here released on CD for the first time, and has been remastered to produce outstanding sound quality from the original 78 rpm recordings.

“Drawn from the extraordinary collection of original recordings at the National Sound Archive, this project, overseen by Dr Janet Topp-Fargion, is, quite simply, a delight from the first second to the last. Wonderfully readable and enlightening notes, historic illustrations and full recording details, this new release presents an engaging portrait of its targeted time and place. The packaging and sound quality are faultless, the programme both enlightening and entertaining, and there’s almost nothing else like it available. Need any more hints?” fRoots

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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 >> Read more