Recording “The Moral of the Elephant” : Martin & Eliza’s new album

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 19 January 2014

Mixing “The Moral of the Elephant”, January 2014 (Photo: Topic Records)

Martin Carthy and Eliza Carthy completed work on “The Moral of the Elephant”, their first duo album, this week. Recording began on 7 January at Ollie Knight’s Robin Hood’s Bay studio and was completed on 16 January, with final mixing taking place the following day. Topic Records will release the album on Monday 2 June under catalogue number TSCD587.

Eliza posted a number of photos on Twitter and Facebook during the recording which she has been kind enough to allow me to reproduce below. She also provided details of some of the songs included on the album:

“The Elephant” is from the children’s poem “The Blindmen and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe which itself is an adaptation of the widespread Indian parable.

“Happiness” is one of a number of songs by Nick Drakes’s mother Molly that were recorded in the 1950s and only recently unearthed and released by Squirrel Thing Recordings.

“The Queen of Hearts” is a new version of a song that appeared on Martin’s first album in 1965. This brings the total number of songs from this album that have subsequently been re-recorded to eight, the others being “The Trees They Do Grow High” with Brass Monkey (Head Of Steam, 2009); “Sovay” with Brass Monkey (Brass Monkey, 1983) and with Dave Swarbrick (Life & Limb, 1990); “Ye Mariners All” with Waterson:Carthy (Waterson:Carthy, 1994);  “Broomfield Hill” (Landfall, 1971); “Scarborough Fair” with Wood, Wilson, Carthy (Wood Wilson Carthy, 1998) and as a duo with Bert Jansch under the title “The Elfin Knight” (Acoustic Routes, 1993); “Lovely Joan” (Because It’s There, 1979); “And A-Begging I Will Go” with Dave Swarbrick  as “The Begging Song” (Life & Limb, 1990 and 100 Not Out, 1992). Martin also occasionally still sings “High Germany” at his live shows but has yet to re-record this song.

“Bonny Moorhen” is  traditional and is number 2944 in the Roud folk song index.

“The Grand Conversation on Napoleon” is another traditional piece (Roud 1189).

One further song goes by the name of “Waking Dreams” but I’ve been unable to identify the specific source for this.

Martin and Eliza tour throughout May and June to promote the album and the latest dates can be found on Eliza’s website.

VIEW “The Moral Of The Elephant” in DISCOGRAPHY

Thanks to Eliza for the song info and the use of her photos and David Suff at Topic Records for additional album details and catalogue number. 

5 Responses to Recording “The Moral of the Elephant” : Martin & Eliza’s new album

  1. eliza carthy says:

    Waking Dreams is a version of Awake Awake, from Marina Russel of Weymouth. X

  2. […] and Eliza performed “Died For Love” from their forthcoming Topic Records album “The Moral Of The Elephant” as well as contributing instrumental and vocal backing to Peggy Seeger’s tribute to […]

  3. […] Mayo and singing two exclusive live versions of tracks from their forthcoming duo album “The Moral Of The Elephant“, The Queen Of Hearts and Happiness. In what is turning out to be a busy few days I’ll […]

  4. […] VIEW “Happiness” in DISCOGRAPHY Read my review of Topic’s 2013 Record Store Day release (also available here) Recording “The Moral of the Elephant” […]

  5. […] and Eliza’s 2014 album The Moral of the Elephant has been nominated in the Best Album category in the 2015 BBC Folk […]

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