Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles

MARTIN CARTHY

For more than 30 years Martin Carthy has been the most visible, versatile and, at times, controversial figure in English folk music. Whether in the folk club, on the concert stage or in a TV studio, there are few roles he has not played, from ballad singer to folk-rock guitarist. While his settings of traditional songs with guitar have influenced a generation of performers, he is also an authoritative interpreter of newly composed material.


BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Singer of the Year in 2002 and 2005

WATERSON:CARTHY ~ HOLY HEATHENS & THE OLD GREEN MAN TSCD562

This is the album that Waterson:Carthy have been wanting to make for a long time. In 1965, their forerunners The Watersons released the landmark album Frost and Fire – A Calendar of Ritual Magical Songs, and the concept continues to fascinate them. With Holy Heathens they have eclipsed even that seminal album, amd the sound is a resoundingly full blooded one. The resonant ensemble singing is bolstered by The Devil’s Interval, a young and exciting new vocal trio of Lauren McCormick, Emily Portman & Jim Causely. They are further accompanied by guitar, fiddle, mandolin, brass and percussion. This fuller sound harks back to The Watersons and Blue Murder, but surpasses them for sheer excitement and thrills.

In Holy Heathens and the Old Green Man, Waterson:Carthy have produced their best album to date – no question about it.

  • “Beautifully played and sung and illuminated by Martin Carthy’s scholarly sleeve notes.” ★★★★ The Guardian
  • “Their singing elevates the soul. Eliza Carthy has rarely performed more evocatively than on her uncle Mike Waterson’s ‘Jack Frost’ and Tim van Eyken’s version of ‘On Christmas Day It Happened So’ makes you shiver.” ★★★★ Mojo
  • “… Whether it’s the presence of The Devil’s Interval, the inspirational nature of the material or the power of the seasons, Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy sound positively reinvigorated in the midst of it all, their voices and total conviction immediately identifiable. It’s a genuinely uplifting collection with fire in its belly.” fRoots
  • “Eliza’s singing of her uncle Mike’s ‘Jack Frost’ is simply stunning. You should buy a copy of Holy Heathens for everyone you know.” The Living Tradition

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TSCD475 WATERSON:CARTHY ~ WATERSON:CARTHY

TSCD475 webWith an eclecticism characteristic of its members, Waterson:Carthy’s first album draws upon not only the archives of British folksong but a Morris tune and a Texas waltz. What is transmitted to the listener, however, is not so much the skill of their research as the virtuosity with which they breathe life into its matter.

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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

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BRASS MONKEY ~ HEAD OF STEAM TSCD575

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

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

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

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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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TSCD452 MARTIN CARTHY ~ RIGHT OF PASSAGE

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

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

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

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TSCD488 WATERSON:CARTHY ~ COMMON TONGUE

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

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BLUE MURDER ~ NO ONE STANDS ALONE TSCD537

The seven piece group Blue Murder, made up of Waterson:Carthy, Coope, Boyes and Simpson and Mike Waterson, has been described as “Harmony Heaven” and one listen is enough to explain why – seven of the greatest English folk voices performing together with passion and spirit. The repertoire ranges between great traditional standards, selected compositions and original songs by some of the band members. Whilst much of the album is the full glory of the seven voices, about half of the tracks have the added benefit of Martin Carthy’s understated but impeccable guitar work.

  • “..seldom has the unadorned human voice sounded more exhilarating. No One Stands Alone is destined to be one of the best British folk albums released this year.” ★★★★ The Times
  • “A glorious rush of perfectly pitched and counterbalanced vocals that offers up a spellbinding celebration of the human voice and makes this a firm contender for Folk Album of the Year” Netrhythms
  • “…singing and harmonising…top of the range…selection of songs…spot on, but more than that, there is a startling chemistry about them. There is a real mood of spontaneity and the idea of a group united by..a mutual love of the songs they are performing. Stand-out tracks include the rousing Bully in the Alley, the sentimental Land Where you Never Grow Old, and the devotional Standing on the Promises of God. Choruses made in heaven all. It is an album of qualities and values. Timeless.” fRoots
  • “The collective warmth of their intricately meshed harmonies fully bears out the togetherness made explicit in the title track. The septet’s burnished tones bring dignity and affection to their songs, with Norma Waterson’s commanding voice proud and plangent at its heart. – …beautiful renditions of traditional songs such as “Stars in My Crown” and “The Banks of Sweet Primeroses” tempered by the poignant sway of something like “The Land Where You Never Grow Old”. The Independent Review
  • “Performed in a dazzling array of harmonies by the best singers in the business – exhilarating – majestic and heartwarming. Essential” Mojo

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WATERSON:CARTHY ~ FISHES & FINE YELLOW SAND TSCD542

Waterson:Carthy’s fifth album includes a characteristically eclectic selection of material from a formidable range of sources. Much of the album was recorded “live in the studio” with a view to retaining the essence of the group’s live interactive performance and this goal was successfully achieved. 

With one exception, the songs are about people who, whether or not they were born under a Bad Sign, certainly come – one way or another – under the Bad heading. It is almost a given that this makes for a programme of interesting and intriguing material. The set includes an outstanding reworking of the Jerry Garcia classic Black Muddy River, previously sung by Norma on her award winning solo album for the Hannibal label.
“the synergy is quite electrifying” Observer Music Monthly Magazine
“I urge everyone who is a traditional folk music fan to buy it. As always with these great performers, it was a pleasure.” folking.com
“Something special happens when the first family of English folk gets together…This is folk music at its unadorned and traditional best. The uplifting harmonies of Norma and Eliza bring a joyous exuberance.” The Times

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TSCD492 MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK ~ SKIN & BONE

TSCD492 webThis lively collaboration from two master musicians, recorded 1992, features a poignant reading of the ballad Lucy Wan and a long medley of tunes by the Irish harpist O’Carolan.

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MARTIN CARTHY ~ SIGNS OF LIFE TSCD503

Perhaps only Martin Carthy would open a folk album with a Bee Gees songs, let alone continue with pieces from Elvis Presley, Hoagy Carmichael and Bob Dylan, mixed in with such timeless traditional songs as Sir Patrick Spens and The Wife of Usher’s Well. Martin also revisits a classic from his repertoire – the remarkable and chilling ballad Prince Heathen. Eliza Carthy plays fiddle on four songs.

“Human emotions are rarely delivered with such guile and profundity.” Mojo
“A subtle masterpiece.” ★★★★★ The Guardian

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
with
Eliza Carthy fiddle
Chris Parkinson harmonica

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MARTIN & ELIZA CARTHY : Happiness STOP2587

On 19th April we released a beautifully packaged, limited edition7″ vinyl single for Record Store Day UK – a taster of the forthcoming new album from Martin and Eliza Carthy -  Happiness b/w The Queen of Hearts

‘Happiness’ is a graceful, timeless song written and originally recorded by Molly Drake, Nick Drake’s mother; this is the very first time the song has been officially released by a major recording artist.

 Martin Carthy first recorded ‘The Queen of Hearts’ for his debut album nearly 50 years ago, in 1965, and he revisits the song here with his daughter for a stately rendition that more than equals the quality of that first recording.

The legendary Martin Carthy and his equally legendary daughter Eliza will release their first album together, ‘The Moral of the Elephant’ on 2nd June 2014.

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BRASS MONKEY ~ GOING & STAYING TSCD531 

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

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

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MARTIN CARTHY ~ essential TSCD770D

For nearly fifty years Martin Carthy has been one of the most persistent and dedicated practitioners of English traditional music. He has been an essential figure in most of the significant developments in folk music during that time. To chronicle his career is to discuss the rich and diverse history of the English folk song revival since the early 1960s.

His early work was an inspiration to both Bob Dylan and Paul Simon; Martin’s reading of Lord Franklin became the template for Bob Dylan’s Dream, whilst his arrangement of Scarborough Fair was the basis for the popular Simon & Garfunkel hit. More recently his influence has been widely acknowledged by artists as diverse as Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Richard Thompson, Martin Simpson and Fleet Foxes.

Today, nearly fifty years into what he still refuses to think of as a career, he continues to display a remarkable curiosity and open-mindedness to all manner of folk musics. This 2CD set makes a very compelling argument for saying that British music would not be the same without Martin Carthy’s influence and presence over the past five decades. Essential collects together thirty four of his finest recordings – solo, with Dave Swarbrick, with the Watersons, with Waterson:Carthy and as a member of Brass Monkey from the treasury of recordings he has made over the years for Topic Records. It is a testimony to an enormously gifted singer and musician, whose considerable skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him so many admirers around the world.

The Maid Of Australia : BRASS MONKEY by Topic Records

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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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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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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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TSCD342 MARTIN CARTHY with DAVE SWARBRICK ~ BYKER HILL

TSCD342 webAs he grew in confidence and dexterity Martin Carthy tested himself with tricky rhythms and challenging songs, and the title track of Byker Hill (1967) electrified the folk scene with its audacious syncopation. His most carefully planned and executed album up to that point, it remains an outstanding achievement.

“An audacious recording that remains Carthy’s benchmark album. A giant step on the road to immortality.” All time classic album HMV Choice

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

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TSCD491 MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK ~ LIFE & LIMB

TSCD491 webCarthy and Swarbrick celebrated their 1990 reunion by adding many new songs and tunes to their repertoire as well as taking a fresh look at old favourites like Sovay and Byker Hill.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle

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VARIOUS ARTISTS ~ Shining Bright TSCD519

In 1972 Mike & Lal Waterson released an extraordinary album of their original songs – Bright Phoebus - on Bill Leader’s Trailer label. This magical collection of very English songwriting as long been acknowledged a classic and one of the finest achievements of the British folk revival. Inexplicably Bright Phoebus was out of print for many years.

Performed by Norma Waterson, Dayteller, Maddy Prior, Richard Thompson, Eliza Carthy, Blue Murder, Dick Gaughan, Linda & Teddy Thompson, Helen Watson, Billy Bragg & The Blokes, Martin Carthy, Christy Moore, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, Christine Collister & Oliver Knight … Shining Bright was conceived to pay tribute To Mike & Lal’s remarkable songs, and it draws upon the songs recorded for Bright Phoebus, and on a further dozen songs written at the same time but not previously recorded. Shining Bright has fifteen new recordings by some of the folk world’s finest performers. The songwriting of Mike and Lal is held in such high esteem that soon we had a queue of performers eager to contribute to this collection.

“The Coen brothers did it for the music of the deep south, Ry Cooder ditto for Cuban music.and now Topic Records have done it for Lal and Mike Waterson, two of English folk’s most original and searingly creative singers/songwriters. This is a collection that bristles and shines. A collection to bask in. A glorious gathering” Irish Times

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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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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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MARTIN CARTHY ~ A COLLECTION TSCD750

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

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

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar
Dave Swarbrick fiddle, mandolin

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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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DAVE SWARBRICK ~ RAGS, REELS & AIRS TSCD517 

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

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

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

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TSCD345 MARTIN CARTHY ~ LANDFALL

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

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar

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MARTIN CARTHY & DAVE SWARBRICK ~ BOTH EARS AND THE TAIL TSCD572

One of the great duos of all time, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick joined up in early spring 1966 as a performing unit. They were an immediate hit, becoming overnight the most popular group in the burgeoning folk club scene in Britain. Both Ears and the Tail was recorded live at the Folkus Folk Club in Nottingham in 1966 in the first flush of their success with both audience and performers hardly able to catch their breath.

This recording only came to light in recent times and it is astonishing in its fire and clarity. Many of the songs performed that night are to be found on the early Martin Carthy albums, but, on stage, the interplay between Martin and Dave virtually re-wrote all the material. This is a real live experience and an opportunity to “be there on the night”.

  • “On this crystal clear recording of the classic Carthy/Swarbrick duo partnership are caught early in their partnership. Swarb’s swooping fiddle coils with propulsive energy.” ★★★★ Uncut
  • “It’s a corker. The natural chemistry between them is irresistible.” Record Collector
  • “The attraction of the CD is in the live performance, the guitar and fiddle [and occasional mandolin] weaving in and out, responding to each other’s playing. And the recording quality is very good.” Derek Schofield, English Dance and Song

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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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TSCD426 MARTIN CARTHY ~ OUT OF THE CUT

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

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

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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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TSCD418 MARTIN CARTHY ~ SWEET WIVELSFIELD

TSCD418 webFirst released in 1974 and produced by Ashley Hutchings, Sweet Wivelsfield is a classic Martin Carthy album and served as a benchmark recording for many other artists. The ominously chiming guitar chords of Trimdon Grange and the ingeniously borrowed melody of King Henry exemplify Carthy’s unceasing search for new ways to present old songs, a thread that runs all through this impressive recording.

Martin Carthy vocals, guitar

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MARTIN & ELIZA CARTHY ~ The Moral of the Elephant TSCD587

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:

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MARTIN CARTHY ~ WAITING FOR ANGELS TSCD527

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

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

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