Memorabilia: c. 1971 press pack

19 July 2018

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 19 July 2018

I’m not much of a memorabilia collector but, perhaps because I started my working life in the print industry, I do have a soft spot for vintage posters, press materials and printed ephemera in general. So, after paying an unexpected £16.80 customs bill (not exactly extortionate, but still!) I just took delivery of this.

It’s a c.1971 US press pack from September Productions Limited from the personal collection of Ed Ward, a writer and radio commenter known as the “Rock-n-Roll Historian” for NPR’s program ‘Fresh Air’. Ed is one of the original founders of the SXSW festival and was on the staff of Crawdaddy!, Rolling Stone and Creem magazines in the 60’s and 70’s.

Martin was signed to September Productions throughout the period he was in Steeleye Span during 1970/71 and for a brief time afterwards. The Carthy/Swarbrick album referred to in the hand written letter is most likely the 1971 Selections compilation that has been reissued several times and is still widely available. The album they hoped to make “for Europe and most English speaking countries” with the help of Transatlantic Records never really happened, although there was a (now extremely rare) release in New Zealand and Australia, also called Selections and including the two songs quoted in the letter. I’ve written about this ultra-rare release in a bit more detail previously.

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1988: Interview with Kevin Boyd

2 June 2018

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 2 June 2018

Exactly 30 years ago today I was a young wannabe Kershaw-esque DJ type when I interviewed a slightly older (but in hindsight, still very young) Martin Carthy for mine and Northern Sky editor Allan Wilkinson’s hospital radio programme.

The recording has been gathering dust for three decades (although a full transcript is here) so I thought this anniversary would be a good opportunity to liberate it. It’s perhaps not the most professionally executed or insightful interview you’ll ever hear but listening back I think I managed to force a few interesting moments from Martin – if only by accident!

Anyway, here it is: nervous delivery, fumbled questions and all…


Photo Gallery: Martin Carthy and Eliza Carthy, 18 March 2018

18 March 2018

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 18 March 2018

This was the last date of a short series of gigs (slightly curtailed part way through by bad weather) and took place at the recently-opened Stoller Hall in Manchester.

The set was similar to last year’s but with a couple of things swapped around and the addition of a new (to me at least) version of Ship In Distress, from the Copper Family version, as Eliza’s solo spot.

First set:
His Servant Man
Happiness
Blackwell Merry Night
Nancy Of London (Martin solo)
Queen Caraboo
Waking Dreams (Awake, Awake)

Second set:
Grand Conversation On Napoleon
The Elephant
Ship In Distress (Eliza solo)
Bonny Moorhen
Monkey Hair
Died For Love
John Barleycorn (encore)

I left my camera at home but couldn’t resist taking a few iPhone snaps during their encore.


‘Martin Carthy’ (1965) infographic

29 January 2018

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 29 January 2018.

In the first of what I hope may develop into a series, I’m posting this infographic telling the story of  Martin Carthy’s first solo album. Click on the image to view in full size.

MC infographic


New website: The Martin Carthy Broadcast Archive

1 January 2018

For the past couple of months I’ve been working on a new Martin Carthy website which is now live.

The Martin Carthy Broadcast Archive is an attempt to catalogue six decades of radio and TV appearances and to preserve the available recordings if they are not currently available commercially or otherwise in the public domain. It’s very much a work in progress and there’s lots still to be done (so be gentle with me) but this launch video should give you an idea of what it will include.


Photo Gallery: The Watersons, 16 October 1987

16 October 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 16 October 2017

In a slight departure from my usual photo gallery posts, I hope you’ll forgive my indulgence as I post a few shots from the first time I saw Martin sing live exactly 30 years ago today. This lineup of The Watersons – Mike, Lal, Norma, Rachel and Martin – operated briefly and only sporadically towards the end of the 1980s. I’ve seen several variations of the ‘Waterson Family’ in subsequent years and I’m closing in on 80 Martin Carthy gigs of various lineups and ensembles in total (I’d like to say I wasn’t counting, but I’d be lying!) but this gig remains a special memory. I happened to have a camera with me that night and although these are not my best shots I’m happy that I still have a record of the gig. The Rockingham Arms advert appeared in the Sept-Nov 1987 issue of Sheffield-based folk listings magazine Stirrings.


Martin and Eliza tour update

17 September 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 17 September 2017

This is just a quick update on tonight’s Martin and Eliza gig at the Memorial Hall at Sheffield City Hall. No photos I’m afraid, as I didn’t have my camera (and photography was severely restricted anyway so even a quick iPhone snap was impossible). It was a last minute decision to attend as I’m staying with my parents in Doncaster and I found I was able to catch a late train back – useful as I don’t drive (I realise this is taking the Carthy obsession a bit far!)

The set list was very similar to last week’s gig with the order of a few songs swapped around and with Monkey Hair missing completely (I think Martin wanted to play this but it didn’t happen). The four ‘non-Elephant’ songs were the same as last week and videos of two of these from a different recent gig are attached below.

I should add that it was a fantastic gig with Martin and Eliza both on great form. It’s always interesting to see more than one gig from the same tour to hear how individual songs and arrangements develop. In this instance, the set list was virtually identical to last week’s gig but several songs differed in feel, specifically in the instrumental sections where Eliza in particular included some different and exciting improvisations.

First set
His Servant Man
Happiness
Blackwell Merry Night
Nancy Of London (Martin solo)
Waking Dreams (Awake, Awake)
Grand Conversation On Napoleon
The Elephant

Second set
Queen Caraboo
Nelly Was A Lady (Eliza solo)
Bendigo, Champion Of England
Bonny Moorhen
Died For Love
John Barleycorn (encore)

The following clips (not by me) are of Martin singing Nancy Of London and Martin and Eliza singing Bendigo, Champion Of England at their gig at the Arlington Arts Centre in Newbury on 2 September 2017.


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