01 : No One Stands Alone
02 : Gown Of Green
03 : Rubber Band
04 : Blue Mountain
05 : Standing On The Promises Of God
06 : The Banks Of Sweet Primroses
07 : The Land Where You Never Grow Old
08 : Three Day Millionaire
09 : Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
10 : Bully In The Alley
11 : Mole In A Hole
12 : Stars In My Crown
13 : The Goodnight Song
First released in the UK 2002 Topic Records TSCD537
Mike Waterson, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Barry Coope, Jim Boyes, Lester Simpson: vocals
Martin Carthy: guitar
Lester Simpson: accordion [track 8]
Recorded at Woodman Recording Studios, Halifax
Mixed at Panda Sound, Robin Hood’s Bay
Engineered and mixed by Oliver Knight
Produced by Blue Murder and Tony Engle
Mastered by Denis Blackham at Country Masters
Photography and design by John Haxby
Dave and Heather Brady and Jim Boyes of Swan Arcade were taking in the late afternoon sun on the glamorous front patio of The Magnolia Guest House during Whitby Folk Week in August 1986 when Norma and Lal Waterson arrived at the gate with a request they just couldn’t refuse. There was, Norma explained, a charity concert near Robin Hood’s Bay for the benefit of the local school. Amongst those asked to perform were various Watersons, Swan Arcade and Peter and Anthea Bellamy. Lal and Norma suggested that it might be a good idea to rehearse (!) a couple of songs all together – it might be fun. It was great fun – in fact early Blue Murder rehearsals were some of the best parties that the participants can vaguely remember. Following this informal get-together, the ensemble – probably introduced as The Boggle Hole Chorale – were asked to do a surprise spot at the Festival’s final ceilidh.
News of this event spread further south and the following year, Ian Anderson invited The Watersons and Swan Arcade to appear at Bracknell Festival, separately and together. Obviously, this entailed further rehearsals (even more fun), and the need for a more explicable name for the joint entity. After a particularly lengthy rehearsal, Martin came up with Blue Murder. The line up at this stage was: Martin Carthy, Norma, Lal, Rachel and Mike Waterson, Heather Brady, Dave Brady and Jim Boyes.
After a special preview at Wath upon Dearne in South Yorkshire, over the following year and a half, Blue Murder appeared in cncert at The Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank and at festivals from the Scottish Borders to Trowbridge in Wiltshire, as well as making a continental foray to the Brossella Festival in Brussels. A very live demo was put together from their Wath concert performance and some tracks taken direct from sound desks lurk in Festival organisers’ archives – including the one from Bracknell which appears on The Carthy Chronicles (Free Reed FRQCD-60), but the original band never made any studio recordings.
Blue Murder II, however, only existed as a recording band. By special request of David Suff in 1994, Blue Murder performed I Bid You Goodnight for Hokey Pokey’s Joseph Spence album, Out on the Rolling Sea. By this time, the membership had undergone quite an alteration. Swan Arcade had split up, and Heather Brady was unavailable on the day of recording. So Barry Coope and Lester Simpson of Coope Boyes & Simpson replaced the two Swans and changes in The Watersons saw Eliza Carthy taking over from Rachel Waterson.
No other work was planned – and following Lal Waterson’s death – no further performances seemed likely. Then a phone call, out of the blue, from Chris Wade of Beverley Festival brough the remaining band members together briefly for a Yorkshire Evening in 2000. They really enjoyed themselves. So when an invitation to the following year’s Sidmouth Festival arrived, they were delighted. Rehearsals and an afternoon concert to a packed Sidmouth Arena proved once again that Blue Murder was about the sheer enjoyment of singing together in harmony – and that more concerts and a record might be even more fun.
Topic Records website blurb
The seven piece group Blue Murder, made up of Waterson:Carthy, Coope, Boyes and Simpson and Mike Waterson, has been described as “Harmony Heaven” and one listen is enough to explain why – seven of the greatest English folk voices performing together with passion and spirit. The repertoire ranges between great traditional standards, selected compositions and original songs by some of the band members. Whilst much of the album is the full glory of the seven voices, about half of the tracks have the added benefit of Martin Carthy’s understated but impeccable guitar work.