Posted by Kevin Boyd, 10 October 2015
It’s rare that anyone can pinpoint a moment that changed their life but this month’s #MC50 YouTube video includes one such moment for me. The first time I heard The Watersons on Andy Kershaw’s Radio 1 show in August 1986 I knew little or nothing about folk music of any kind, much less about English traditional song, but hearing this in my box bedroom in Doncaster at the age of (just) 18 was a revelation. It’s by chance as much as anything that I’ve retained a recording of that session – I only re-discovered it a few years ago – but the quality has suffered over the years and for that reason I’ve mixed it into mono to avoid some conspicuous drop-outs (especially in the last two songs). The sound quality is still far from perfect but I hope it gives a clue as to what I heard that set me on a journey of discovery that continues to fascinate and surprise.
To compensate for the poor sound quality of the Kershaw session I’ve also included a slightly better quality (stereo) recording from a couple of years later. This is the broadcast portion of the Watersons’ set from the Copper Family’s “Coppersongs” launch concert at Cecil Sharp House in january 1988. It also includes a brief interview with Norma and Mike Waterson and may be one of the last broadcast recordings of the Mike, Lal, Norma and Martin lineup.
The complete “Coppersongs” broadcast also included performances by The Copper Family and Peter Bellamy and an interview with Derek Schofield. The complete broadcast can be heard here: