1975 : For Pence and Spicy Ale

The Watersons

01 : Country Life
02 : Swarthfell Rocks
Mike, Lal, Norma
03 : Barney
Lal, Norma
04 : Swinton May Song
05 : Bellman
Group, Mike leading
06 : Adieu, Adieu (The Flash Lad)
07 : Apple-Tree Wassailing Song
08 : Sheepshearing
09 : Three Day Millionaire
10 : King Pharim
11 : T Stands for Thomas
Lal, Norma
12 : Malpas Wassail Song
13 : Chickens in the Garden
14 : The Good Old Way

First released in the UK 1975 by Topic Records 12TS265 and in the US by Antilles AN-7020

Released in the US 1986 by Shanachie Records 79056

Re-issued on CD with additional tracks 1993 by Topic Records TSCD462

Re-issued on CD with re-mastered audio 2008 by Topic Records TSCD574

1993 CD tracklist:

01 : Country Life
02 : Swarthfell Rocks Mike, Lal, Norma
03 : Barney Lal, Norma
04 : Swansea Town Mike
05 : Swinton May Song
06 : Beggar Song Lal, Norma
07 : Bellman Group, Mike leading
08 : Adieu Adieu
09 : Welcome Sailor Lal, Norma
10 : Apple Tree Wassail
11 : Seven Yellow Gypsies Mike
12 : Sheepshearing
13 : Three Day Millionaire Mike
14 : King Pharim
15 : The Bonny Light Horseman Lal, Norma
16 : Tamlyn Mike
17 : T Stands for Thomas Lal, Norma
18 : Malpas Wassail
19 : Chickens in the Garden
20 : Grace Darling Lal, Norma
21 : The Good Old Way

Of the additional tracks, 4, 11 and 16 are from Mike Waterson’s solo album “Mike Waterson” (1977) and 6, 9, 15 and 20 are from Lal & Norma Waterson’s “A True Hearted Girl” (1977).

Mike, Lal & Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy: vocals


“For Pence and Spicy Ale”
Produced by Tony Engle
Recorded at Livingston Studios, Barnet, March 1975
Recording engineer Nic Kinsey

“Mike Waterson” and “A True Hearted Girl”
Recorded at Riverside studios, January 1977
Recording engineer John Gill

Front sleeve illustration: postcard of Molly dancers probably from Hunstanton. Hand-coloured by Julia Bennett Studio, London

Shanachie Records release:
Sleeve photo: Keith Morris

Sleeve notes:

Here’s a welcome return! After a silence regretted by all, Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson are together again, with a new member, Martin Carthy, replacing John Harrison who has gone his own way. Many try but none can equal their sound. Hear it yourself.

Producer’s note by Tony Engle (from the 1993 CD release):
In the early summer of 1975 Topic released “For Pence and Spicy Ale” by The Watersons. At the recording the group was at the top of their form. It had been several years since they had recorded and this new record marked their return to the British Folk Scene. Mike, Lal and Norma Waterson were three-quarters of the original group and Martin Carthy was the new member—he had replaced the original fourth member, John Harrison. The record was greeted with considerable acclaim from critics and audiences alike and is considered by many to have been the group’s finest recording. Two years later the Watersons were back in the studio, but this time it was not as a group. The Watersons have always been fine individual voices in their own right so the plan was to make two records—one featuring Mike solo and a second, featuring the solo and duet talents of Lal and Norma. This didn’t stop them helping out on each others’ records, however. In addition Lal’s daughter, Maria, also lends her voice to these recordings and the occasional accompaniments are by Jim Eldon (flute & whistle), Peta Webb (fiddle), Rod Stradling (melodeon) and Tony Engle (anglo concertina). With this reissue the extra playing time available on CD has allowed me to mix in some of the best tracks from the solo projects with the original album. I hope that you, the listener, enjoy these recordings as much as I did making them and subsequently compiling them for this record.


One Response to 1975 : For Pence and Spicy Ale

  1. […] had been released through Topic Records, including their 1975 ‘comeback’ album “For Pence andd Spicy Ale” on which Carthy had sung. With this in mind it must have seemed inevitable that he would […]

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