May 01, 2010

The Power of the True Love Knot - Shirley Collins

A quietly adventurous 1967 recording by Collins sisters, Shirley and Dolly. Traditional love ballads given an early music patina by Dolly’s restrained arrangements and the flutey tones of her miniature wooden pipe-organ. A pristine Joe Boyd production and array of supporting off-kilter instruments by the ascendant Wlliamson and Heron (a favour Dolly repays on ISB track God Dog).

Shirley’s voice is natural, artless and wholly inhabits songs about “ladies fair and tender, the ballad-heroines with lily hands, riding through the night, sighing for love, wandering through meadows distracted, saving or losing their virtue, getting pregnant, eloping with gypsies, dying of remorse, twined in the True-Lovers Knot” [ sleeve notes – S.C.].

By the time of this recording, Shirley had already paired with Davy Graham to redefine the nature of folk accompaniment, and would go on to produce arguably the finest folk-rock album of the era with the Albion Country Band.

Her 2006 guest vocal on Current 93’s Black Ships Ate the Sky is breath-taking.

Buy these: Folk Roots, New Routes; Anthems in Eden; Love, Death & the Lady; No Roses

Oddi wrth y brawd


Heir Apparent said...

Shirley Collins 2006 guest vocal? Intruiging. Wonder if Will Hodgkinson has heard it. His 'Song Man' book has it that her voice is wrecked and that she hasn't sung in decades. I understand that Shirley has also written a book about time spent assisting her then beau Alan Lomax. Been meaning to check it out for a while but ..... you know how it is

Y Brawd said...

Oh, it is utterly ruined. This is what takes the breath away and moves. Didn't know about her book, will definitely follow that up.

Personally, I'm looking forward to Rob Young's account 60s-70s wyrd folk, due to hit amazon this summer.

Diolch am eich comment.

Private Beach said...

Sometimes a ruined voice conveys emotions deeper than a pure young voice can - Billie Holiday, Marianne Faithfull, late Johnny Cash.

Y Brawd said...

couldn't agree more.