In February 2007 the original members of PENTANGLE received a BBC Radio 2 Lifetime Achievement Award from Sir David Attenborough. On 29th June 2008, exactly 40 years since the recording of their monumental live album Sweet Child at the Royal Festival Hall, they returned to the very same venue to begin their first British tour since 1973.
FINALE was recorded live during the 2008 tour and sees the original line-up revisit their classic repertoire. The beautifully recorded and packaged 2CD set captures the band in a series of scintillating performances. Bert Jansch supervised the mixing and sequencing and John Renbourn prepared the album masters before their untimely deaths in 2011 and 2015 respectively.
“Finale is a magnificent record in all respects. Treasure this set, for we’ll not see the like of Pentangle again.” David Kidman, FolkRadioUK
CD one ~ 1 Let No Man Steal Your Thyme, 2 Light Flight, 3 Mirage, 4 Hunting Song, 5 Once I Had A Sweetheart, 6 Market Song, 7 In Time, 8 People On The Highway, 9 House Carpenter, 10 Cruel Sister.
CD two ~ 1 The Time Has Come, 2 Bruton Town, 3 A Maid That’s Deep In Love, 4 I’ve Got A Feeling, 5 The Snows, 6 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, 7 No More My Lord, 8 Sally Free And Easy, 9 Wedding Dress, 10 Pentangling, 11 Will The Circle Be Unbroken.
Reg Hall’s monumental and comprehensive history of Irish music in London
A Few Tunes of Good Music
is now available for free viewing and download as a fantastic online flipbook, complete with many illustrations, discography and original interview material.
On March 18th 2016 Topic Records released two magnificent compendiums of Irish Music in London:
Some of the most talented young traditional musicians from rural Ireland found themselves in London in the 1950s, working on the buildings and in heavy construction, away from home, but among hundreds of people like themselves. Music was played in pubs and dance halls and, for a decade or two almost every night of the week, Camden Town, Fulham and neighbouring boroughs were buzzing. Even as far as the outer suburbs, in some back-street pub or other, there was great music to be found, that is, if you knew where to look for it. Beyond the gaze of mainstream society and unknown to the media, promotion was solely by word of mouth among the Irish themselves.
As a lad in Roscommon in the 1930s, Jim Donahue played the flute regularly with an older man, Michael Coleman’s brother Jim. He recalled whenever Jim came to the house: “He’d take down the fiddle. Then you’d hear a few tunes of good music altogether!”
Compiled by Dr. Reg Hall, these two three-CD collections of rare recordings allow us a very privileged view of a unique community who lived this music. Here are some great musicians, some great tunes, and great warmth and humanity. At the time, it was often said, that there was much better Irish music to be heard in London than in Ireland. An overstatement, of course, but there was certainly more of it to be heard in London than anywhere else in the world.
Special offer: purchase both volumes together for only £28.00 +P&P
After a very successful tour and recording schedule over the last six months the wonderful new trio with Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr will release their debut album together on June 8th.
Murmurs was recorded in January this year and captures all the excitement of three master musicians having musical fun together. The album will appear on DL, CD and a limited edition Deluxe CD/DVD set. It’s a collection of songs that communicate to the listener a sense of bonded musicianship, a real feeling and empathy for each others’ playing and a collective love and innate understanding of the music. Recorded with award-winning producer Andy Bell, the combination of traditional songs, such as ‘Fair Rosamund’ and a stunning ‘Plains of Waterloo’, and original compositions, including ‘Dark Swift’ and ‘Not Even The Ground’ makes for a compelling listening experience; stories are told with instruments played by these masters of their respective crafts, but this is no showcase, more an expression of the joy of playing and singing between three absolutely intuitive musicians.
“It is so incredibly exciting. Andy and Nancy have been brilliant. The whole project is sheer joy!”
“Outrageously great album from Simpson∙Cutting∙Kerr. ‘Dark Swift & Bright Swallow’ is amazing. It’s stunning and beautiful. And timely. All things great folk should be.” Rob Cowen, author of ‘Common Ground’.
1 Dark Swift And Bright Swallows
2 Richmond Cotillion
3 Dark Honey
4 Fair Rosamund
5 Gather The Owls / Train On The Island
6 Toy Soldiers
7 The Cruel Mother
8 Seven Years
9 The Plains Of Waterloo
10 Lads Of Alnwick
11 Not Even The Ground / Two Ladies
12 Some Old Salty
Enter your name and email address to download Lads of Alnwick music transcription (banjo)
Enter your name and email address to download Plains of Waterloo music transcription (fingerstyle)
Enter your name and email address to download Angel Hill music transcription (guitar)
Enter your name and email address to download Plains of Waterloo music transcription (slide guitar)
We are very proud to have Bob Copper books in stock and for sale from this website.
A Man Of No Consequence – Bob Copper’s final book, CopperSongs’ posthumous publication.
The Copper Family Songbook – A beautiful reprint of the original 1995 publication.
Please follow the links for further details.
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
Blackwell Merry Night
Grand Conversation on Napoleon
The Queen of Hearts
Here’s a short video where Martin and Eliza describe making the album and the material recorded:
To celebrate Record Store Day – April 19th 2014 – Topic Records released a 50th anniversary limited edition 7” vinyl facsimile of this historic early recording from Anne Briggs.
One of many jewels in Topic Record’s extensive catalogue, The Hazards Of Love EP has been an important touchstone for myriad singers, songwriters and performers – on a rare visit to London, June Tabor was bought a copy by her older sister: “She took me to Dobell’s and said she’d buy me a record. I got that Anne Briggs EP, Hazards of Love… I was captivated by this woman’s voice and what she did with it…”
The Hazards of Love became the calling card for Anne Briggs – one of the most influential figures in the English folk revival, with Bert Jansch, Jimmy Page, The Watersons and Sandy Denny all acknowledging that influence, and it continues years after its release, with The Decemberists 2009 album title directly taken from the EP which inspired it.
“…a brilliant singer, really brilliant, very natural.” BERT JANSCH
We have endeavoured to faithfully match the original Topic EP sleeve with a leaflet of song notes by A.L. Lloyd inside a beautiful gloss-laminated limited edition flip-back sleeve.
1 Lowlands Away
2 My Bonny Boy
3 Polly Vaughan
4 Rosemary Lane
TOPIC Records are very proud to announce the release of four further volumes in the widely acclaimed The Voice of the People series:
TSCD675 – “Good humour for the rest of the night” Traditional Dance Music in Northumberland and Cumberland
TSCD676D – The Barley Mow Field recordings and a film made in Suffolk in the 1950s (CD and DVD set)
TSCD677T – The Flax In Bloom Traditional songs, airs and dance music in Ulster (3CD set)
TSCD678 – Orkney Traditional dance music from Orkney
Continuing Topic Records’ widely-acclaimed and seminal traditional music series, Series Editor Reg Hall has selected for the latest four volumes a range of music from the astonishing collection of field recordings made by Peter Kennedy; working part-time for the BBC and the EFDSS, Peter continued with his own recording projects, sometimes collaborating, with Seamus Ennis at the BBC, Alan Lomax and in Ulster with Sean O’Boyle, their work together presented in the third of this new set of CDs.
The geographical spread covered in these four new volumes illustrates the lengths Peter would go to in order to discover the traditional music and dance of the British Isles, and his passion in bringing these to a wider community outside the working rural communities of the people he recorded; Peter’s aim, presenting the voice of the people, is recognised and acknowledged with this essential addition of four stunning new titles to an invaluable catalogue.
A fabulous night at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards on February 19th included some stunning live music and resulted in well-deserved awards for all of the winners, including a Lifetime Achievement award for Martin Carthy and two headline awards for The Full English, named as Best Group and for Best Album.
Martin has been part of the bedrock of folk music for half a century, and continues to plough a fertile furrow – his new album with daughter Eliza will be released by Topic later this year.
Fay Hield has worked tirelessly to bring The Full English to glorious fruition, and Topic has been proud to be part of such an important project. The very best traditions of folk music are encompassed in The Full English, presented beautifully through the talents of the wonderful musicians involved, Ben Nicholls, Martin Simpson, Seth Lakeman, Rob Harbron, Sam Sweeney, Nancy Kerr and Fay Hield. Congratulations to them all!
Marry Waterson’s introduction to this collection of her Mum’s artistic creations begins: “Mum would really rather go without breakfast, dinner and tea than lose creative flow, living on coffee and Woodbines, her pen lagging behind her brain, refusing to pause to spell correctly through crossings out, torn pages, shopping lists and knitting patterns.” Lal Waterson is known primarily as a singer and songwriter, a member of the wonderful Watersons.
teach me to be a summer’s morning shows the full range of her creativity. The limited edition hardback book publishes, for the first time, a selection of her drawings, painting, lyrics, thoughts and poems to present a portrait of her extraordinary tender, intense, complex but ultimately very human artistic talents. ORDER your copy of teach me to be a summer’s morning from the Fledg’ling shop.
Here’s a little video opening the book for the first time and exploring the contents:
A CD is included inside the book – collecting together 15 songs drawn from her home recordings – serves to confirm her stature as a songwriter of rare imagination, depth and rich beauty. Just as teach me to be a summer’s morning was being prepared for printing and CD manufacture we finally tracked-down the original two reels of demo tapes from 1971 of the songs written for Bright Phoebus. Many of these songs have never been released previously, none have ever sounded so magnificent.
1 Never The Same
2 The Scarecrow
3 Evon Our Darling
4 May Butterfly
5 To Make You Stay
6 Marvellous Companion
7 Red Wine and Promises
9 Piper’s Way
10 Black Horse
11 Song For Thirza
12 Shady Lady
13 Once In A Blue Moon
14 Anna Dixie
15 Telephone Raider
teach me to be a summer’s morning was published in a limited edition of only 1500 copies on Monday 21st October. ORDER your copy of teach me to be a summer’s morning from the Fledg’ling shop.
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”
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
Release date : 14th October 2013
12TS822 : LP
Release date : 18th November 2013
The Full English is a groundbreaking project sponsored by the English Folk Dance and Song Society that draws together for the first time the early 20th century folksong collections of Harry Albino, Lucy Broadwood, Clive Carey, Percy Grainger, Maud Karpeles, Frank Kidson, Thomas Fairman Ordish, Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Alfred Williams. The result is the most comprehensive searchable database of British folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world.
To mark the launch of the project, folksong scholar and acclaimed singer Fay Hield has assembled The Full English band, pulling together half a dozen of the top talents on the English folk music circuit for an evening of songs drawn from these unique collections. Together the band have recorded a tremendous album of material drawn from these historic collections. Rapidly becoming identified as a folk supergroup the Full English includes singer and fiddle player Seth Lakeman, who has successfully steered English folk into the musical mainstream with his high-energy performances and a series of best-selling albums, and one of the world’s finest and most admired guitarists, Martin Simpson. Nancy Kerr is another fiddler/singer with a deep commitment to the English traditional repertoire, celebrated for her boundary-smashing partnerships with Eliza Carthy and James Fagan. Sam Sweeney (fiddle) and Rob Harbron (concertina) are formidable instrumentalists who feature in Fay’s backing band The Hurricane Party as well as in Jon Boden’s Remnant Kings, and are two of the most in-demand session musicians on the scene. Nailing all this multi-instrumentality down is Ben Nicholls, double bassist of choice for artists as diverse as the Seth Lakeman Band, Martin Carthy and Jimmy Somerville.
Seth LAKEMAN Martin SIMPSON Fay HIELD Nancy KERR Sam SWEENEY Rob HARBRON Ben NICHOLLS
All photographs by Elly Lucas
“It is a brilliant sucess.”
Paddy Bullard, Times Literary Supplement
1 Awake Awake
2 Stand By Your Guns
3 William And Nancy
4 Creeping Jane
5 Arthur O’Bradley
6 Portrait Of My Wife
7 Fol The Day-o
8 Brigg Fair
9 Rounding The Horn
10 The Servant Man
11 Man In The Moon
12 Linden Lea
TSCD823 : CD and DL
Release date : 7th October 2013
Vagrant Stanzas is a splendid, intimate new recording from finger-style guitar maestro Martin Simpson. Encouraged by his near neighbour Richard Hawley, Martin set out to record his new album completely solo. The ambition was to record just one man and his guitar (or banjo) close-miked and personal. Most of the performances are first or second takes. So much material was recorded that the deluxe edition includes an extra CD of eight outtakes from the recording sessions – quite honestly they’d have made the cut on just about anybody else’s album.
“This is not a record of repairs and corrections, this is what I do at a gig. It’s the first time I’ve made a studio album which deliberately tries to capture the immediacy of a live performance…. in fact it is the intimacy of playing to a friend which is at the heart of this album.”
The album sees Martin collaborate with some of the best producers and engineers in the business, including multi-Grammy Award winning mastering engineer, Silas Brown. The CD has been co-produced by Martin alongside American producer Peter Denenberg and, our own Richard Hawley, who produced the UK part of the CD in Sheffield, at the legendary Yellow Arch Studios. Vagrant Stanzas is made up of a mixture of Martin’s original compositions, including a song commissioned by BBC Radio 2 for their award winning Radio Ballads series, alongside classic songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Chris Wood, Leon Rosselson and, of course, the ubiquitous ‘Anon’ of Folk ballad fame.
“One man with guitar and banjo and an acutely tuned ear for a good tune and a powerful lyric can certainly whip up a lot of different moods and styles. It’s all down to attitude.” fRoots
“There is a distinctive brilliance to Simpson’s guitar and voice – these are vocals from the back step, from the songs’ stark interiors, understood and played out by a man in the third age of life.” ★★★★ Songlines
“What you get is pure and fluent Simpson musicianship. A very fine record.” ★★★★ The Telegraph
1 Diamond Joe
2 Jackie and Murphy
3 Shepherds Rejoice
4 Come Down Jehovah
5 Molly As She Swings
6 Palaces of Gold
7 Blue Eyed Boston Boy
8 Delta Dreams
9 Waly Waly
10 North Country Blues
12 Lady Gay
13 Stranger Song
14 Come Write me Down
1 Fair Annie
2 Kaga Re
3 Blind Willie McTell
4 Old Paint
5 The Bell
6 Diamond Joe
7 The Death of Queen Jane
8 The Green Linnet
With ‘Vagrant Stanzas’ Martin Simpson makes a career defining statement
– solo, intimate performances captured in a series of jewel-like recordings.
Eliza Carthy – “The one indisputable young star of British folk” The Times – celebrates her first twenty one years as a professional musician with Wayward Daughter a career-spanning best of double album, with 31 tracks drawn from her diverse and award-winning back-catalogue including traditional and self-penned material. This 2CD is the perfect companion to Eliza’s recently released official biography, written by Sophie Parkes, also titled ‘Wayward Daughter’. There are also a couple of live tracks, samples of a few of her many collaborations with other artists – and previously unreleased material, too.
‘It’s a proud career CV but more importantly it stands powerfully alone on its own considerable merits – vibrant, modern and relevant’ – fRoots Magazine
‘Her vision remains absolutely faithful to the story and expresses the song’s essential emotions. She accomplishes this with wit and exuberance – And this is her genius.. Every home should have a wayward daughter’ – ***** Songlines Magazine
‘A more fearsome performer than mum or dad, or indeed anyone else on the folk scene she’s helped to galvanise…a rich primer of a singular career’ – 8/10 Uncut
‘Headstrong, determined, incorrigible and irreverent, Eliza Carthy did more than anyone to revoluntionise and rid English folk music of staid cliche ridden images’ – **** Mojo
‘Whatever she addresses she does so with warmth, intelligence and crate loads of personality’ – **** Record Collector
1 Worcester City
2 Great Grey Back – with Tom Wright
3 Two Tears
4 The Rose And The Lily – Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson
5 Mr Walker
6 Colourblind – with the Ratcatchers
7 Jacky Tar
8 Grey Gallito – Salsa Celtica with Eliza Carthy
9 Newry Town – Waterson:Carthy
10 Blood On My Boots
11 Billy Boy / The Widow’s Wedding
12 The Forsaken Mermaid – Waterson:Carthy
13 I Know My Love – Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr
14 Gallant Hussar – with The Ratcatchers
15 Space Girl – Imagined Village
16 May Song – Waterson:Carthy
1 Little Big Man
2 Child Among The Weeds – with the Red Band
3 Rolling Sea
4 Cold, Wet & Rainy Night / The Grand Hornpipe
5 Lemady – Eliza Carthy & Martin Green, featuring Eddi Reader
6 Jack Frost – Waterson:Carthy
7 Willow Tree
8 The Company Of Men
9 Adieu, Adieu
11 Crystal Spring – Waterson Carthy
12 Blow The Winds / The Game Of Draughts
13 Mohair – with The Ratcatchers
14 The Nightingale / For Kate – Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson
15 Britain Is A Car Park
Early in 2013, Topic Records will begin to publish digital booklets for each album available for digital download. Topic has always had the underlying philosophy of making traditional-based music as widely available as possible. Currently, digital delivery all too often seperates the audio recording from all artwork, documentation and sleeve-notes. The plan at Topic is to restore and include all of the information that originally accompanied the vinyl release and wherever possible add photographs and ephemera from our archive.
In January 2013, 84 archive albums will be available to download complete with new digital booklets. Each month throughout the year we intend to publish further ‘currently out of print’ albums from our archive and to make available digital booklets for all current releases, artist by artist, as well as new ‘themed’ digital collections.
More news soon…
Orfeo the remarkable second album from Fay Hield has been collecting an enviable series of reviews ahead of the release on Monday 28th May. Fay leads the virtuoso all-star HURRICANE PARTY – Jon Boden (fiddle, guitar, percussion, double bass, mandolin, additional banjo and vocals), Andy Cutting (button accordions, melodeon), Rob Harbron (English Concertina, fiddle, vocals), Sam Sweeney (fiddle, viola, cello, nyckelharpa, vocals) and special guest Martin Simpson (banjo, guitar).
Propermusic.com publish a series of weekly podcasts which are available for free streaming and download through iTunes and SoundCloud. In the current edition, the first of a two-part Topic Records special, David Suff and Tony Engle join award-winning broadcaster Trevor Dann to discuss the label’s 70+ year history and some of our classic releases, from Nic Jones to June Tabor & Oysterband and Topic’s Three Score & Ten box set.
Check out this week’s podcast on the blog and find out what Topic MD David Suff has been listening to lately:
Part 2 with Reg Hall and Tony Engle discussing the new Voice of the People releases will be available next Monday.
Catch up on all the Proper podcasts via iTunes:
JUNE TABOR won the prestigious SINGER OF THE YEAR award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards ceremony on Wednesday February 9th. Alongside the OYSTERBAND she also scooped the awards for BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Ragged Kingdom, BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK – Bonny Bunch Of Roses and BEST GROUP.
photograph by Judith Burrows
Over the intervening years they have occasionally performed together at gigs and in 2010 were invited to reunite for fRoots’ 30th birthday party at the Roundhouse. They all came off-stage determined to make a belated follow-up. The magnificent Ragged Kingdom arguably surpasses the earlier recording.
“There’s enough emotional power here to fuel a circuit of the sun. The reunion of Oysterband and Tabor has created a masterpiece.” ★★★★★ Songlines
“Striking gold by fusing the contemporary and traditional is at the heart of the folk process. Ragged Kingdom raises the alchemy of that process to the highest level.” The Independent
“This was worth waiting for.” ★★★★★ The Guardian
“Glorious.” ★★★★★ MOJO
“Oysterband provide tough textures and lyrical twists, while June Tabor could sing the washing instructions on a duvet and make it sound as profound as the Gettysburg Address.” The Word
“…one reunion that works so magnificently, it even overshadows the magical memories of their previous collaboration…” fRoots
1 Bonny Bunch Of Roses
2 That Was My Veil
3 Son David
4 Love Will Tear Us Apart
5 (When I Was No But) Sweet Sixteen
6 Judas (Was A Red-Headed Man)
7 If My Love Loves Me
8 The Hills Of Shiloh
9 Fountains Flowing
10 The Leaves Of Life
11 Seven Curses
12 The Dark End Of The Street
June Tabor voice
John Jones voice, melodeon
Ray Cooper cello, mandolin, bass guitar, harmonium, voice
Dil Davies drums
Alan Prosser guitars, kantele, fiddle, voice
Ian Telfer fiddle
Al Scott bass guitar, mandola
Further information can be found at: www.oysterband.co.uk
TSCD584Guitar virtuoso MARTIN SIMPSON returns with a fabulous new album. “Purpose + Grace, is in many ways the epiphany of his career. Martin has never chosen the shortest root to stardom but the choices he has made along the way have made him the exceptional talent that he is today.” ★★★★★ Folk Radio UK
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.”
The 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.
“It’s simply a great album from start to finish – wonderful tune, superb musicianship, star guests and a unity of purpose about delivering a fitting tribute to the music he loves that raises the album to such a high level.” ★★★★1/2 The Telegraph
“Martin Simpson has been a guitar hero, accompanist, folk singer and songwriter – and there are reminders of all these in what is surely his most commercial recording to date. It’s notable not just for his guitar and banjo playing and thoughtful vocals, but for the special guests who are often invited to sing lead vocals.” ★★★★ The Guardian
“Nothing rushed, nothing overdone, yet the playing remains astonishing.” ★★★★ Guitarist
“One of our finest traditional musicians, Simpson’s latest album offers a roving overview of his talents.” ★★★★ UNCUT
“The breadth of this album makes it a joy to listen to, I’d be very hard pushed to choose a favourite but there is no doubt in my mind that it is a five star classic album!” Folk Radio UK
“It may well be the best album Simpson has made in his entire career.” Newcastle Chronicle
“An album of great love and joy, Purpose + Grace confirms that Simpson remains at the top of his game.” Colin Irwin / BBC Music online
16th January 1941 – 22nd June 2011
On Monday February 7th at the prestigious BBC Radio2 Folk Awards in London, ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON’s splendid duo album GIFT scooped two awards.
Album of the Year
Gift by ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON
Traditional Recording of the Year
Poor Wayfaring Stranger by ELIZA CARTHY & NORMA WATERSON
As Norma Waterson continues to recover in hospital this is tremendous news for the family. Here at Topic Records we send our congratulations and very best wishes.
JUNE TABOR will release a new album on February 21st. Her distinguished recording career has consistently reached ever higher standards of performance and interpretation. Each of her albums has sought to match the highest technical standards with emotionally powerful performances and scintillating musical arrangements. ASHORE (TSCD577) – a collection of songs concerning humankind’s relationship with the sea – is already being hailed by critics and long-time fans as another career highpoint.
“June Tabor’s singing is spellbinding – one of the great singers of any genre.”
Ashore features a powerful set of contemporary songs alongside classic traditional ballads like ‘The Bleacher Lassie Of Kelvinhaugh’ and ‘The Great Selkie Of Sule Skerry’. The contemporary material includes a spine-tingling version of Elvis Costello’s ‘Shipbuilding’; a new recording of Ian Telfer’s ‘Finisterre’ (first recorded by June with the Oyster Band on ‘Freedom & Rain’) and two remarkable songs from the pen of Cyril Tawney – ‘The Grey Funnel Line’ and ‘The Oggie Man’.
The album was recorded with June’s regular musicians – Andy Cutting diatonic accordion; Mark Emerson viola and violin, Tim Harries double bass and Huw Warren piano.
June’s range and depth are unparalleled, and with Ashore she fully justifies her reputation as England’s foremost song interpreter.
We’re very proud to announce that THREE SCORE & TEN : A Voice To The People has just won another award. The set has won the 2010 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Record Labels.