We recently shared the news that Bright Phoebus, Lal and Mike Waterson’s 1972 folk-noir masterpiece was to be reissued by Domino on August 4th. The reissue includes a deluxe version containing 12 demos for the album, themselves tinged with their own mythology and previously unreleased. No prizes for guessing for which version I ordered.
Today, Domino Records share another track from the album, ‘Fine Horseman’ (also Song of the Day) – listen below. Described by Martin Carthy as a “beautiful yearning love song”, it’s nonetheless one which plays out like a fleeting, fantastical distraction from the rigours of mere survival.
The 1972 folk-noir masterpiece Bright Phoebus has long been recognised as one of British music’s legendary lost records. Following the parting of ways of The Watersons and freed from the strictures of folk orthodoxy, Lal and Mike Waterson’s love of words allowed them to serve the needs of their songs in ways that weren’t possible when singing already written songs.
Featuring performances from Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Tim Hart and Maddy Prior, amongst others, the album is recognised as a forward-thinking benchmark for the genre. Fans include Arcade Fire, Stephen Malkmus, Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley – the latter two performed the record themselves in 2013 on the Bright Phoebus Revisited tour.
Under the supervision of David Suff (Topic/Fledging) and Marry Waterson (daughter of Lal), the album has been remastered from the original tapes. Alongside the reissue of the original album, there will be a deluxe version containing 12 demos for the album, themselves tinged with their own mythology and previously unreleased. The standard single-disc CD and LP editions replicate the original artwork with lyrics; the deluxe editions of both are double-disc and contain sleeve notes by Pete Paphides.