It was only last year that Shirley Collins celebrated her 80th Birthday in fine style which included an intimate gathering in the basement of Cecil Sharp House where she treated her gathered fans to song. Folk Radio UK were at this auspicious event which James McKinnon reviewed here. One thing that stuck with me from that review was this:
When asked by compere and former English Folk Dance and Song Society Library Director Malcolm Taylor why she has chosen now to break her silence she mulls the question over for some time before concluding “Because I can’t give up. I’m still utterly enthralled by songs and I’m still learning new ones at 80.”
Clearly, not a truer word said as Domino records have just announced that they are to release a new Shirley Collins album called Lodestar which will be released on 4th November. This release marks her return to recording after 38 years. The first track to be shared from Lodestar is ‘Cruel Lincoln’. Shirley explains the history of the song: “This is an ancient ballad, found only rarely in England. The theory is that Cruel Lincoln was a mason who was not paid for the work he did for ‘the Lord of the Manor’ and so extracted a terrible revenge”. It also features bird song recorded at the back of Shirley’s cottage.
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.
Find out more and order it via Domino Records here: www.dominorecordco.com/uk/albums/06-09-16/lodestar/