Next month on October 20th, Vinyl180 will release two very special albums in their Topic Records Introduction series – A double LP Real Sound Of Folk Compilation and Shirley Collins – An Introduction To.
Both will feature an exclusive track not found on the CD edition and to celebrate the release we are giving away a set to one of our readers, plus, Vinyl180 have kindly offered all our readers a 15% discount off the price of the two albums (details below).
Shirley Collins – An Introduction To
The first of our vinyl editions that delve into the Topic Records archive to bring you a selection of works from the catalogue of some of the most influential and respected musicians in the English folk scene.
With its rich heritage, this Introduction Series from the Topic Records catalogue serves only to emphasize Topic’s place at the forefront of traditional folk music.
Each album is pressed on 180g vinyl and features a newly designed heavyweight sleeve and subsequent release will mirror this format to build into a unique collection. Each edition will also feature a unique track not to be found on the CD version.
During the 1960s and ‘70s Shirley Collins was regarded by many as the first lady of folk music, the subsequent decades have only served to enhance that reputation. Between 1955 and 1978 she recorded for the Folkways, Argo, Harvest and Topic labels. After the release of ‘For As Many As Will’ in 1978 she withdrew from performing and the music world after developing dysphonia. Shirley recently returned to recording after a very long hiatus and is still widely acknowledged as one of the finest singers and ambassadors to have emerged during the Folksong Revival of the 1960s.
Shirley, and her older sister Dolly, grew up in the Hastings area of East Sussex. Their Mother’s family kept alive a great love of traditional song. Songs learnt from their Grandfather and Aunt Grace continued to be important in the sister’s repertoire throughout their career.
Their uncle, F C Ball – the author of ‘A Breath Of Fresh Air’ – encouraged the sisters to listen to a wide variety of music, especially the work of Monteverdi and Purcell. Shirley recorded a few solo albums and e.p’s as well as recording with Davy Graham, David Munrow’s Early Music Ensemble, the No Roses band and the Albion Dance Band. Shirley and Dolly also recorded an album in 1969 with The Young Tradition called ‘The Holly Bears the Crown’ which sadly was shelved at the time due to the Young Tradition splitting up.
Two tracks from this recording session feature on this compilation ‘March The Morning Sun’ and ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’. The classic Shirley Collins Topic album ‘The Sweet Primeroses’ also features on this compilation with tracks ‘Polly Vaughan’ and ‘A Blacksmith Courted Me’.
“I think to call Shirley’s voice angelic is to do it a disservice. There’s no denying the high, pure beauty of her voice, but there’s too much earth, too much dirt in it to call it angelic.
It’s also a voice completely its own; there’s no other voice to match it. The folk revival on both sides of the Atlantic produced a lot of imitations, but Shirley’s voice is a touchstone.”
Colin Meloy of The Decemberists:
Few singers of the English folk revival have attempted as much on record as Collins – an extraordinary combination of fragility and power. “I like music to be fairly straightforward, simply embellished – the performance without histrionics allowing you to think about the song rather than telling you what to think.”
Through an impressive series of experimental recordings, Shirley established an extraordinarily sympathetic marriage of traditional songs handed down through generations of rural labouring people with groundbreaking contemporary arrangements – recordings that have scarcely been equalled in subsequent decades.
This collection draws together some of her most iconic recordings and will serve as an Introduction to her very special catalogue of music.
Various – The Real Sound of Folk Music 2LP
This double vinyl package contains 20 tracks drawn from the catalogue of Britain’s premier folk record label and features a series of outstanding performances by outstanding performers. The story of Topic is synonymous with the growth of folk as a musical and social movement in Britain over the last three-quarter century and these recordings demonstrate the bridge between modern music and a traditional art form.
Before the advent of radio and long-playing records, let alone downloads and streaming, the not-so-ordinary working man or woman relied upon the oral tradition for his or her home entertainment. Songs and tunes were passed down over generations and honed by function and social interaction to produce a body of work of exceptional strength and beauty.
From the 1940s onwards, and with increasing pace, young and not-so-young people in the British Isles turned to this material as a means of musical expression and connection with their roots, as well as for the pleasure of crafting an art form that made direct contact with the listener – without manipulation by commercial pressures and obeisance to respectable society’s view of what should be seen as “good music”.
On these vinyl records, you will find some of the most remarkable singers, songs and tunes – either drawn directly from the tradition or inspired by it. The music is totally contemporary yet with its feet firmly rooted in Britain’s own unique culture. Not all the music is strictly British, as the Folk Revival embraced other folk cultures, so Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s version of Woody Guthrie’s Talking Dustbowl Blues is here – demonstrating how folk music can deal with social issues of the day as well as harking back to earlier times. This attitude is also reflected in John Tams’ Unity, Steve Ashley’s Ships of Shame, Dick Gaughan’s Both Sides the Tweed and even Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town.
There are reworkings of great traditional story songs – Anne Briggs’ Blackwater Side, Nic Jones’ Canadee-i-o and majestic performances by Martin Simpson – Never Any Good, Shirley Collins, Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy and The Watersons and The Full English’s Man In The Moon. June Tabor and Oysterband take a quite different approach and make the Joy Division song Love Will Tear Us Apart something completely their own.
Andrew Cronshaw, The Cheviot Ranters, Cilla Fisher, Silly Sisters and Oak – the list goes on – a fulfilling and haunting introduction to the great legacy of the folk tradition and Topic Records
Vinyl Giveaway and Special Discount Offer
Special Discount Offer:
To take advantage of 15% discount on the purchase of –
2LP Real Sound Of Folk Compilation – Order Link
Shirley Collins – An Introduction To – Order Link
Please use the following COUPON CODE – FRUK15 (all uppercase).
We have a copy of Real Sound Of Folk Compilation and Shirley Collins – An Introduction To, to giveaway.
To enter simply email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email include “Topic” in the subject along with your name and address in the body of the message. Last entries by 10 am on 12 October 2017.
*Terms & conditions apply:
- Only one entry per household.
- Winners will be chosen at random on 12 October. 2017.
- The winners will be informed soon thereafter.
- Your information will not be shared with any other parties other than the winner’s address details which will be passed on to Vinyl180 for delivery of the albums.
Folk Radio UK’s full terms can be found here.