New Martin Carthy CD: “Essential”

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 3 Mar 2011

This just in from Alan Bearman music:

For more than 45 years Martin Carthy has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. His skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him many admirers, not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it.

This year, on 21st May, Martin Carthy turns 70 and to celebrate the occasion, on 9th May, Topic Records is releasing a special 2-disc set, simply titled ‘Essential’.

Martin Carthy has been associated with Topic throughout most of his long recording career and it is from these impeccable recordings that the ‘Essential’ album is drawn. Amidst more than 40 albums, he has recorded only 10 solo albums, of which the acclaimed ‘Waiting For Angels’ was the most recent.

Carthy’s self titled debut album, released in 1965, also featured fiddle-player, Dave Swarbrick, who will among Martin’s guests at a very special 70th Birthday Concert, taking place at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Saturday May 14th, 2011. The concert will form part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of Britain, National Treasures strand. Also joining Martin will be Tom Robinson and Carthy’s daughter, Eliza Carthy. The evening will begin at 6.30pm with journalist Colin Irwin asking Martin about his life and works.

Although Martin performs tirelessly (previously with Steeleye Span and more recently with family band Waterson:Carthy, Imagined Village or solo, in back room bars), this concert will provide a rare opportunity to see Martin Carthy perform centre stage, on a grand scale and armed only with his voice, guitar and a batch of wonderful songs.

Whether in folk clubs (which he continues to champion), on stage or making TV appearances (he was the subject of the acclaimed ‘Originals’ music documentary strand on BBC 2) – with typical modesty, Martin said recently: “I’ve never really had a career..I’ve just been lucky enough to skate along and do what I want..and it’s really the folk clubs and folk club organisers who have allowed me to do that for so long.”

Always an authoritative interpreter, Carthy has preferred to follow an insatiable musical curiosity rather than cash in on his unrivalled position as consummate story-teller, ballad singer, ground-breaking acoustic and electric-guitarist. Perhaps, most significant of all, are his settings of traditional songs with guitar, which have influenced a generation of artists, most notably Bob Dylan and Paul Simon (who Martin taught his arrangement of ‘Scarborough Fair’ to), on both sides of the Atlantic.

Martin Carthy was awarded the MBE for services to English Music in 1998 and won Singer of the Year and Best Traditional Track at the BBC Radio 2 Awards 2005.

This is what the BBC website said about Martin Carthy :

“For four decades, Martin Carthy’s work has immeasurably enriched the British folk heritage. He is regarded as one of the finest singers and interpreters of traditional music of the British Isles, as well as a highly influential and much-imitated guitarist. Awarded the MBE for services to English folk music in 1998, his drive and enthusiasm are undiminished and he continues to be one of folk music’s great innovators.”

Related links:

Review: “Essential” (2011)
Discography: “Essential” (2011)
Photo Gallery: Carthy at 70
Photo Gallery: 
Carthy at 70 (part 2)


3 Responses to New Martin Carthy CD: “Essential”

  1. […] links: New Martin Carthy CD: “Essential” “Essential” in […]

  2. Dave Cross says:

    “The evening will begin at 6.30pm with journalist Colin Irwin asking Martin about his life and works.”

    Is this conversation also taking place in the QEH? Do we need a separate ticket? I can’t find anything about this on the South Bank web site.

  3. Kevin Boyd says:

    Hi Dave
    The “Colin Irwin interview” takes place at the “Front Room” which I understand is a small venue located in the QEH foyer. Can’t be more specific as I’ve never been (yet). You definitely DON’T need a separate ticket.
    See you there.

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