2004 : Mighty River Of Song

The Watersons

4-CD / 1-DVD box set

First released in the UK 2004 by Topic Records TSFCD4002

The Watersons are one of England’s great musical families. Mighty River 
Of Songtraces the remarkable story of the extended Waterson Family though 
four decades of incredible music. 

It includes gems from throughout their career, together with a wealth of rare, 
live and previously unreleased recordings. Mighty River Of Song is a comprehensive overview of The Watersons and their place in the English Folk Revival. 

This sumptuous box set (6″ x 12″) includes: 4 music CDs, 
a DVD of the acclaimed documentary Traveling for a Living, and a 52 page full colour booklet – profusely illustrated with extensive notes 
and a full discography.

‘Not so much a stream as a flood’ The Times
‘Passionate, inspirational’ Mojo
‘extraordinary’ Uncut
‘Utterly unmissable’ Time Out
‘Mighty River of Song.. a remarkable work’ fRoots
‘Long may they prosper’ The Observer Music Monthly
‘Outstanding!! great art…four decades of brilliance’ Sunday Times Culture Magazine

CD 1: TSCD545

All tracks performed by The Watersons (Lal, Mike & Norma Waterson and John Harrison) unless otherwise stated.

01 : Here We Come A-Wassailing
02 : Blood Red Roses The Folksons: Lal, Mike, Norma, John Harrison & Pete Ogley
03 : Let the Bulgine Run
04 : The Ploughboy
05 : Holbeck Moor Cock Fight
06 : The Greenland Whale Fishery
07 : The Derby Ram
08 : Hal-an-Tow
09 : John Barleycorn Mike
10 : The Barley and the Rye Lal & Norma
11 : The Thirty-Foot Trailer
12 : I Am a Rover
13 : Rap Her to Bank
14 : Three Score and Ten
15 : The Jolly Waggoners
16 : Twanky-Dillo
17 : The Whitby Lad
18 : The Morning Looks Charming
19 : Willy Went to Westerdale
20 : The White Cockade
21 : Stow Brow Lal
22 : The Bird Lal & Mike
23 : Red Wine Promises Lal & Mike
24 : Song for Thirza Lal & Mike

CD 2: TSCD546

All tracks performed by The Watersons (Lal, Mike & Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy) unless otherwise stated.

01 : Pace-Egging Song
02 : Boston Harbour
03 : Sweet William Mike
04 : Souling Song
05 : Barney Lal & Norma
06 : Mike Waterson: Three Day Millionaire Mike
07 : The Good Old Way
08 : The Light Dragoon
09 : Jenny Storm Lal & Norma
10 : Tamlyn Mike
11 : Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy
12 : Heavenly Aeroplane
13 : Emmanuel
14 : Swansea Town Mike
15 : The Unfortunate Lass Norma
16 : The Welcome Sailor Lal
17 : Young Billy Brown Lal & Norma
18 : The Khaki and the Blue
19 : The Whitby Lad
20 : The Black and Bitter Night Mike

CD 3: TSCD547

All tracks performed by The Watersons (Lal, Mike & Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy) unless otherwise stated.

01 : The Prickle Holly Bush
02 : When I Die Peter Bellamy w/ Lal, Mike, Norma, Martin and Heather & Royston Wood
03 : I Went to Market
04 : The Furze Field Martin & Mike
05 : The King’s Song (Joy, Health, Love and Peace)
06 : Swarthfell Rocks
07 : Meeting Is a Pleasure Lal & Norma
08 : Doing a Bit Mike
09 : Young Banker
10 : Chickens in the Garden
11 : A Stitch in Time Martin
12 : All I Have Is My Own Mike
13 : Brave General Wolfe
14 : May Song Norma & Martin
15 : Harvest Home
16 : Gower Wassail The Watersons: Lal, Mike, Norma, Rachel & Martin
17 : Rumpsy Bumpsy Toralee Mike
18 : John Ball The Waterdaughters: Eliza, Lal, Maria & Norma
19 : A Stor Mo Chroi Lal & Norma
20 : Stormy Winds The Watersons: Lal, Mike, Norma, Rachel & Martin
21 : Mole in a Hole Blue Murder Mk. I

CD 4: TSCD548

01 : Hilda’s Cabinet Band The Watersons: Lal, Mike & Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy
02 : The Rambling Irish Man Mike
03 : There Are No Lights on Our Christmas Tree The Watersons: Martin, Mike, Norma & Jill Pidd
04 : Coal Not Dole Norma
05 : The White Cockade The Watersons: Lal, Mike, Norma, Rachel and Martin
06 : Cob-a-Coaling The Watersons: Mike, Norma, Ann, Jill Pidd, Eliza & Martin
07 : T Stands for Thomas Waterson:Carthy
08 : I Bid You Goodnight Blue Murder Mk. II
09 : McIlroy the Emerald Cowboy Mike
10 : Jack Frost Mike
11 : Pleasure and Pain Waterson:Carthy
12 : Stars in My Crown Waterson:Carthy
13 : Flowers of Knaresborough Forest Waterson:Carthy
14 : There Ain’t No Sweet Man Worth the Salt of My Tears Norma & Eliza
15 : Black Muddy River Waterson:Carthy
16 : Just a Note Lal & Maria Gilhooley
17 : Earth Norma & Martin
18 : Stumbling On Eliza
19 : Poor Boney Norma
20 : Bright Phoebus Blue Murder Mk. III
21 : My Sweet Lullaby Maria Gilhooley & Oliver Knight


“Travelling For A Living” (1965 BBC TV documentary dir. Derrick Knight)

From the 1966 notes by Derrick Knight (script, direction, producer)
Four young people huddle in the cold and discomfort of an old van as they travel, maybe hundreds of miles, to a singing engagement in a folk club, and back again to their home town of Hull. They are a group called The Watersons – Michael, Norma and Elaine Waterson, brother and two sisters, and their cousin John Harrison.

The three Watersons were orphaned in early life and brought up by a fiercely matriarchal grandmother who said they had to stick together. Even today the closeness of the family unit is maintained. Despite the fact that two of them have married, they all live together in a single scruffy terraced house, whose centre is a common kitchen, always full of friends and noise. This close, cosy home life is in total contrast to their professional life. In the last two years the Watersons have become one of the most popular folk singing groups in the country, yet they are far removed from the fashionable exhibitionist folk singers.

This film is about the Watersons’ world. It is about their lives – down to earth, vibrant, receptive and haunted by all kinds of influences from the past: their Irish tinker and farming ancestry, their grandmother’s second-hand shop where a love of tradition grew up among horse brasses and sing-songs, the rich historical and trading association of the port of Hull. Above all it is about exciting old music, its source and its meaning today. In this film the Watersons are placed against the broader picture of the folk revival.


2 Responses to 2004 : Mighty River Of Song

  1. […] version of Kay Sutcliffe’s post-miner’s strike poem as featured on The Watersons’ Mighty River Of Song box set (a recording featuring the 1987 version of The Watersons is also available on […]

  2. […] lineup never formally recorded, had just two live tracks released (on Martin Carthy and Watersons box sets) and only played a handful of gigs in the late-1980s so these are rare recordings. […]

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