Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles

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SARAH MAKEM : THE HEART IS TRUE TSCD674

The first complete CD devoted to the influential Northern Irish Traditional singer Sarah Makem.

The Heart Is True is selected and presented by Rod Stradling from classic recordings made in the 1950s and 1960s.

1. As I Roved Out
2. The Banks of Red Roses
3. Barbara Allen
4. The Butcher Boy
5. The Canny Ould Lad
6. Caroline & the Sailor
7. Derry Gaol
8. The Factory Girl
9. Our Ship She’s Ready
10. It Was in the Month of January
11. Jackets Green
12. The Jolly Thresher
13. The Laurel Wear
14. Robert Burns and his Highland Mary
15. Mary of Kilmore
16. A Servant in her Master’s Garden
17. I Courted a Wee Girl

Available now from:
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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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SHEILA STEWART ~ FROM THE HEART OF THE TRADITION TSCD515

In her own words, Sheila Stewart is probably the last in the line of a rich oral tradition of song, story and Scots Traveller culture. She is also one of the greatest singers of traditional song. From The Heart Of The Tradition was recorded by Doc Rowe in 1999 and captures her at the height of her powers.

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FOUR NEW VOICE OF THE PEOPLE VOLUMES (2012)

Drawn from recordings made during the 1950s and 60s these four volumes capture the music making of working people. 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 “by people with dirt under their finger nails.” This is music that has been largely ignored by the vagaries of the commercial recording industry. The emphasis in the presentation of this series has been weighted towards the social lives and values of the performers.

Series Editor Reg Hall has chosen individual experts to select and compile these four volumes – Shirley Collins, Steve Roud and Rod Stradling.

TSCD671 YOU NEVER HEARD SO SWEET : Songs by Southern English Traditional Singers.
Selected and presented by Shirley Collins from classic recordings made in the 1950s by Peter Kennedy and Bob Copper
TSCD672D I’M A ROMANY RAI : Songs by Southern English Gypsy Traditional Singers.

Selected and presented by Shirley Collins from classic recordings made in the 1950s by Peter Kennedy
TSCD673T  GOOD PEOPLE, TAKE WARNING : Ballads by British and Irish Traditional Singers.
Selected and presented by Steve Roud from classic recordings made in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s
TSCD674  SARAH MAKEM : The Heart Is True

Classic recordings of this important Northern Irish Traditional singer selected and presented by Rod Stradling

“Topic’s original 20-volume The Voice Of The People series in 1998 provided a plethora of superb material for UK folk’s productive new wave to gorge on. Now, courtesy of another goldmine of 1950s field recordings salvaged largely from the late collector Peter Kennedy’s archive, Reg Hall, Shirley Collins, Steve Roud and Rod Stradling have compiled a cracking new series with detailed, illuminating booklets shining a revelatory light on Britain and Ireland’s ‘old music’. Hopefully it will inspire future generations… Magnificent” ★★★★ Colin Irwin, MOJO

“The Voice Of The People is the most important and rewarding series of British folk song recordings ever issued.” fRoots Magazine

★★★★★ Songlines    ★★★★★ Record Collector   ★★★★ Q   ★★★★ MOJO

Martin Simpson – Trails & Tribulations

Martin Simpson - Trails & Tribulations

World renowned guitarist, singer and songwriter Martin Simpson releases his 20th solo album in 40 years ‘Trails & Tribulations’ on September 1st 2017 via Topic Records. The brand-new studio album, his first new solo work since 2013’s widely praised ‘Vagrant Stanzas’, will be available in standard and deluxe CD, digital download and standard vinyl (the latter through Vinyl 180).

 
“‘Trails & Tribulations’ is a collection of songs about nature, about travels and about real life stories. There are traditional songs, poems and contemporary songs by great writers, and songs that I had to write because nobody else knew what I wanted to say. I travel, I learn songs, I write and try to get better at the skills required for me to do my job. I look at the world as I pass by, on the road, out of the train window, or as I stop and pay close attention to the square foot under my nose. There is so much to see and to hear and to inspire and to try and understand. I had a huge amount of fun playing and recording these songs, using different instruments, different noises, old friends and new ones, all of whom brought so much to the mix.”
Martin Simpson, April 2017.

Produced and engineered by Andy Bell, ‘Trails & Tribulations’ features some of Martin’s most inventive playing yet, showcasing his virtuosity on a variety of instruments including acoustic guitars, resonator guitars, Weissenbown lap steel guitar, electric guitars, 5 string banjo, ukulele – and voice.

Guest musicians on the new album are: Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitars), Toby Kearney (drums and percussion), Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (diatonic accordion and melodeon), John Smith (electric guitar and backing vocals), Helen Bell (strings), Amy Newhouse-Smith (backing vocals) and his daughter Molly Simpson on vocals.

Martin will tour extensively this year, including a headline set at Cambridge Folk Festival in the summer and London’s Kings Place in autumn, following the release of ‘Trails & Tribulations’. Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling array of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable 31 nods. A true master of his art.

Exclusive versions of Trails & Tribulations, which include a signed print of a handwritten guitar tab, plus Trails & Tribulations branded guitar pick are available now from Martin’s shop.

You can also buy from Amazon, iTunes and all good record shops, the album is also available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music

Trails & Tribulations tracklisting (standard edition):
1. Blues Run The Game
2. Bones & Feathers
3. Thomas Drew
4. East Kentucky
5. Katherine Of Aragon Interlude
6. A Ballad For Katherine Of Aragon
7. Maps
8. St. James Hospital
9. Jasper’s/Dancing Shoes
10. Ridgeway
11. Rufford Park Poachers
12. Reynardine Interlude
13. Reynardine

Deluxe Edition CD2 Bonus Tracks:
1. Joshua Gone Barbados
2. Dillard Chandler
3. Willy O Winsbury
4. Heartbreak Hotel
5. Blues Run The Game Interlude
6. Blues Run The Game (Radio Edit)

MARTIN & ELIZA CARTHY ~ The Moral of the Elephant TSCD587

UnknownSTOP PRESS: The Moral of the Elephant is nominated for Folk Album of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

The Award is decided by public vote, every vote counts and you can cast your vote by visiting the Folk Awards website before midnight on February 13th: cast your vote here

2014 fROOTS Critics Poll Album of the Year

It’s nearly 50 years since Martin Carthy recorded his iconic, eponymous first album and more than 20 years since his daughter Eliza Carthy’s recording debut. Throughout their respective careers both have toured and recorded with many others (Eliza shared the bill with her acclaimed mother, Norma Waterson, on their award-winning ‘Gift’ album in 2010) but finally, this trail-blazing dad and daughter have made their first ever duo album, The Moral of the Elephant which will be released on  Monday 2nd June 2014.

Two tracks were released on a 7″ vinyl single for Record Store Day 2014 – Happiness, which was written by Nick Drake’s Mum, Molly, is one of a number recorded at home by her in the 1950s and only recently unearthed. It’s the first time this wistful song has been covered by a major recording artist. Meanwhile, The Queen of Hearts is a new version of a song which Martin first recorded on his debut album in 1965.

“This album is coal, not fireworks. It burns with the slow, deep flame which is the mark of timelessness.” Stirrings

“This is a magnificent album, bridging the generation gap and reminding the listener just how vital and pertinent folk music can be.” Record Collector

The full album features 11 (mostly) traditional music tracks, including The Elephant, on which the title of the album is based. It’s an interpretation of a setting of the 19th poem by John Godfrey Saxe, which itself is an adaptation of an ancient Indian parable.

Produced by Oliver Knight with Martin and Eliza, the duo reinterpret and revisit a number of songs on this stunning new album.  Bonny Moorhen  is about a fight between starving lead miners and a gang representing the landowners. Martin learnt The Grand Conversation on Napoleon from the Vaughan Williams collection at Cecil Sharp House, the home of the English Folk Dance & Song Society. This was one of many songs by the English proclaiming their love of Napoleon who they hoped would rescue them from poverty. Monkey Hair is a song by late Michael Marra about a Scottish minister’s wife who doesn’t want any more children as her husband keeps sending them off to war to be killed. Fittingly, several of the songs on The Moral of the Elephant take the form of conversation between parent and child.

Track List :
Her Servant Man
Happiness
Blackwell Merry Night
Queen Caraboo
Grand Conversation on Napoleon
The Elephant
Waking Dreams
Bonny Moorhen
The Queen of Hearts
Monkey Hair

Here’s a short video where Martin and Eliza describe making the album and the material recorded:

Buy The Moral of the Elephant now from:
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LINDA THOMPSON ~ Won’t Be Long Now TSCD822

The arrival of a new recording from Linda Thompson is always a cause for celebration. That the new album is as good as Won’t Be Long Now is really quite remarkable.

Won’t Be Long Now – her first album in six years -  was recorded in the UK and America with a rich array of contributing musicians. While it’s undoubtedly a family affair, featuring a duet with former husband Richard Thompson, regular contributions from their children Teddy and Kami, and grandson Zak Hobbs, Won’t Be Long Now also reflects Linda’s folk beginnings. This new album includes appearances by many alumni of the British folk scene, including John Kirkpatrick, Dave Swarbrick, Martin and Eliza Carthy, as well as American musicians like David Mansfield, Amy Helm, Sam Amidon, Jenni Muldaur and Tony Trischka, among others.

Linda Thompson has an ancient voice, wilting, wounded and wise. She sings with the conviction of an eyewitness of thieves, beggars, drunks, street urchins and circus freaks, spurned lovers and murdering swine, centuries-gone. The album is perhaps best summed-up by these wise words from MOJO: “The cover image of Thompson’s back as she stares at the horizon across a flat sea precisely represents the bulk of Won’t Be Long Now’s 11 songs. Men leaving by sea, women waiting, deceived and disappointed. Beautifully sung, often bleak and harking back in sombre mood to 1974’s Withered And Died.”

“Longstanding dysphonia problems make any Linda Thompson sighting precious. The fact that, now substantially beyond the full flush of youth, she can still make an album that makes your heart wobble fretfully is extraordinary… Kleenex is a must” Colin Irwin, fRoots

“It’s apparent how undimmed Thompson’s talent is, especially in the sheer confident power of her vocal performance. Long may she continue.” Record Collector

…and in the opinion of those fine people at Uncut magazine: “Folk-rock grande dame, still damned grand”

Track list:
1    Love’s For Babies & Fools
2    Never Put To Sea Boys
3    If I Were A Bluebird
4    As Fast As My Feet
5    Father Son Ballad
6    Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience
7    Mr Tams
8    Paddy’s Lamentation
9    Never The Bride
10  Blue Bleezin’ Blind Drunk
11  It Won’t Be Long Now

TSCD822 : CD and DL
Buy now from:
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12TS822 : LP
Buy now from:
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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

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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BOB DAVENPORT ~ THE COMMON STONE TSCD552

A new album of traditional and original songs by one of the all time great voices of the English folk scene. Renowned on both sides of the Atlantic for his uncompromising, gritty talent, Davenport’s recording history goes back over four decades and has produced raw, idiosyncratic nuggets. His unique poetic realism has been a profound influence on such disparate artists as Richard Thompson and Ray Davies. Never one to court fashion, Bob has remained true to the living tradition while being on the cutting edge of revivalism.
When word got round that Bob was recording a new album, the cream of the current folk scene queued for a chance to participate. The final list includes appearances by Richard Thompson, Chumbawamba Acoustic, Martin Carthy, Linda Thompson, Mike and Norma Waterson, John Tams, Coope, Boyes and Simpson and Fi Fraser. The resulting album is raw, real and original.

• “A Folk Album of the Year 2004” Mojo
• “Few singers command the respect of their peers like Tyneside’s Bob Davenport – his radical fire is undimmed.” ★★★★ The Observer Music Monthly Magazine
• “… some sublime moments…such a strong sense of identity. Linda Thompson pops up and steals the whole album with her charged and atmospheric rendition of Davenport’s own song You Came Back Down That Long Road.”
FRoots
• “His more subdued approach lends a subtle reflective quality to his material. And what fine material he has here and what fine “assistants” to help.” Living Tradition
• “Warmth and sincerity – his unaccompanied version of the McGarrigles’ Heart Like a Wheel is a whimsical treasure. Few singers are as important to the revival.” The Telegraph

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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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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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TSCD490 JUNE TABOR ~ ALEYN

TSCD490 webTabor’s characteristic choice and blend of traditional songs and compositions by Richard Thompson, Ralph McTell and other contemporary songwriters are enhanced by sensitive arrangements.

‘Tabor’s singing is spellbinding. She is one of the great singers of any genre.’ The Guardian

June Tabor is accompanied by:
Andy Cutting
diatonic accordion
Mark Emerson violin, viola
Mark Lockheart clarinet, tenor & soprano saxophones
Dudley Phillips double bass
Huw Warren piano, piano accordion

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