Earlier this month we shared the news that Shirley Collins, after 38 years, is to return to recording. Her new album called Lodestar is due for release on Domino records on 4th November. Below is her first official music video for Death and the Lady (also our Song of the Day) which was filmed at St Leonard’s Church, Hythe & Kennel Farm, Little Missenden.The video features the well-known crypt of St Leonards which contains the best-preserved collection of ancient human bones and skulls in Britain (1,022 skulls in total). There are various theories as to their origin ranging from slain Danish pirates to those that had fallen at the famous Battle of Hastings in 1066. A more recent study indicates they were local Kent folk.
The video includes a number of memorable moments from images of a young Shirley to her leading hobby horses (that would give your children nightmares – similar to Mari Lwyd found in South Wales) down a hill and a number of beautifully crafted corn dollies which are traditionally made from the last stalks of corn so the corn spirit can rest over winter and return next year to hopefully bring a bountiful harvest. All beautifully pagan.
Needless to say, the crypt is a great setting for such a sombre song which involves a conversation with the grim reaper himself! It was also the first track on her 1970 album Love, Death and the Lady.
Lodestar is a collection of English, American and Cajun songs dating from the 16th Century to the 1950s, recorded at Shirley’s home in Lewes by Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown of Cyclobe and produced and musically directed by Ian Kearey.
“Shirley is a time traveller, a conduit for essential human aches, one of the greatest artists who ever lived, and yet utterly humble” Stewart Lee
Find out more and order it via Domino Records here: www.dominorecordco.com/uk/albums/06-09-16/lodestar/