2011 : Essential

Martin Carthy

Disc A

01 : Scarborough Fair
from Martin Carthy (1965)
02 : Broomfield Hill
from Martin Carthy (1965)
03 : Lord Franklin
from Martin Carthy’s Second Album (1966)
04 : Byker Hill
from Byker Hill (1967)
05 : The Bee’s Wing
from No Songs (1967)
06 : Poor Murdered Woman
from But Two Came By… (1968)
07 : Seven Yellow Gypsies
from Prince Heathen (1969)
08 : Prince Heathen
from Prince Heathen (1969)
09 : January Man
from Landfall (1970)
10 : His Name Is Andrew
from Landfall (1970)
11 : King Henry
from Sweet Wivelsfield (1974)
12 : Skewbald
from Sweet Wivelsfield (1974)
13 : The Bedmaking
from Crown Of Horn (1976)
14 : Geordie
from Crown Of Horn (1976)
15 : Lovely Joan
from Because It’s There (1979)
16 : Siege Of Delhi
from Because It’s There (1979)
17 : The Prickle Holly Bush
from Green Fields (1981)
18 : I Sowed Some Seeds
from Out Of The Cut (1982)

Disc B

01 : The Devil & The Feathery Wife
from Out Of The Cut (1982)
02 : The Maid And The Palmer
from Brass Monkey (1983) / The Complete Brass Monkey (1993)
03 : Sovay
from Brass Monkey (1983) / The Complete Brass Monkey (1993)
04 : Dominion Of The Sword

from Right Of Passage (1988)
05 : Bill Norrie
from Right Of Passage (1988)
06 : A Stitch In Time

from Right Of Passage (1988)
07 : Work Life Out To Keep Life In

from Hard Cash (1990) / Rigs Of The Time (1993)
08 : A Question Of Sport
from Life & Limb (1990)
09 : Rackabello
from Common Tongue (1997)
10 : Sir Patrick Spens
from Signs Of Life (1998)
11 : Georgie
from Signs Of Life (1998)
12 : Famous Flower Of Serving Men

from Waiting For Angels (2004)
13 : Mermaid
from Straws In The Wind (2006)
14 : The Maid Of Australia
from Flame Of Fire (2004)
15 : Christ Made A Trance
from Holy Heathens And The Old Green Man (2006)
16 : The Harry Lime Theme
from Waiting For Angels (2004)

First released in the UK 9 May 2011 by Topic Records TSCD770

Essential Japan 2

Also released on CD in Japan with Obi strip 29 May 2011 by Rice Records TPR5230

Credits:
Compilation researched and produced by David Suff & Tony Engle
Digital re-mastering by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering
CD design by mrsuff

Sleeve Notes
Martin Carthy
Arguably the most important singers in the English folk revival of the mid-twentieth century.

Over the past four decades Martin Carthy has been one of the most persistent and dedicated practitioner of English traditional music. He has been an essential figure in most of the significant developments in folk music during that time. To chronicle his career is to discuss the rich and diverse history of the English folk song revival since the early 1960s. His early work was an inspiration to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Martin’s reading of Lord Franklin became the template for Bob Dylan’s Dream, whilst his version of Scarborough Fair was the basis for the popular Simon & Garfunkel hit. More recently his influence has been acknowledged by artists as diverse as Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Richard Thompson, Martin Simpson and Fleet Foxes.

Martin Dominic Forbes Carthy was bon in Hatfield, Hertfordshire on May 21st 1941. Like many of his contemporaries, Martin was hugely affected by hearing Lonnie Donegan’s Rock Island Line. He soon started sneaking his father’s guitar out of the house disguised as the trombone, which, with an unparalleled lack of success, he was trying to learn at the time. After leaving school he was briefly an assistant stage manager for a theatrical repertory company before gravitating towards performing on the London skiffle scene in the city’s coffee houses. Visits to folk clubs and exposure to the work of Ewan MacColl and in particular A.L. ‘Bert’ Lloyd drew Martin to the then infant folk scene. The young Carthy was eager to soak up songs and techniques, as he recalled recently: “At that time you really had to hunt this music down, there were few records and you really had to search all over the place. I did find records by Big Bill Broonzy and Libba Cotton. The drive of Broonzy’s guitar playing on ‘Hey Bud Blues’ was astonishing and the sweetness of Cotton’s playing on songs like ‘Freight Train’ and ‘Wilson Rag’ had me totally baffled.”

His own first recording were made with the Thamesiders who shared a 1963 EP with Davy Graham, and as a member of The Three City Four. In 1965 Martin began an association with Dave Swarbrick – the finest fiddler on the folk scene and a remarkably sympathetic accompanist. At a time when the very notion of accompanied folk song was being hotly debated, they defined the dynamic potential of the interplay between fiddle and guitar. Their first two albums together, ‘Martin Carthy’ and ‘Second Album’, were landmark recordings. They skillfully mixed traditional material with powerful contemporary interpretation and quickly established a musical partnership which remains undiminished to this day. During that time he was also a sought-after session guitarist, recording with Julie Felix, Hedy West, Nigel Denver and Leon Rosselson amongst many. 

Ever curious, Carthy has imbibed the essence of traditional song into an immediately identifiable signature sound. He is an extraordinarily gifted multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, mandolin and occasionally banjo, whose playing style is centred around a strong percussive drive. “I’m not a solo guitarist. I’m an accompanist and I’m interested in finding a way of going that which is appropriate, a way that has a sense of style and continuity, that serves the song and the singer.” Martin has clearly been influenced by the great traditional singer Sam Larner and the guitar playing of Davy Graham, and also by Elizabeth Cotton, Joseph Taylor, Big Bill Broonzy, Jeannie Robertson, Snooks Eaglin and Ravi Shankar. 

A strong current of political and social-consciousness threads through his recordings. “For me folk song is political in that it’s full of lessons. Sometimes the lessons are like slowly detonating bombs that take a while to enter into your thinking. Folk song teaches people how to live together – that’s political.” Twenty five years ago in the introduction to ‘A Guitar In Folk Music’ Martin concluded: “Folk music is not blind, it’s not noble savage stuff, it’s actually people thinking deeply and emotionally, and being able to articulate what they feel in music and dance. I am more and more in awe every single day at just how smart people can be.” Sentiments like these have continued to underpin his restless quest to explore and make music which draws upon traditional roots. 

martin has performed and recorded in a multitude of different settings over the years. He was twice a member of Steeleye Span, appearing on two of their earliest and finest albums, he was a member of the short-lived Albion Country Band and Roy Bailey’s Band Of Hope. Between 1975 and 1993 he sang with the reformed Watersons alongside Norma, Lal and Mike Waterson, and with Blue Murder – the mighty choir which boasts the combined voices of the Watersons with Eliza Carthy and Coope, Boyes and Simpson. He has toured and recorded with Chris Wood and Roger Wilson amongst others. In recent years Martin Has been a pivotal member of one of the most unusual collaborations of the past decade – The Imagined Village. 

Two remarkable ensembles shine brightest amongst his illustrious roll-call of collaborations – Brass Monkey ad Waterson:Carthy. The roots of the innovative Brass Monkey ensemble can be traced back to a number of projects during the 1970s which brought carthy and accordion maestro John Kirkpatrick together. In 1973 both were invited to join Ashley Hutchings’ Albion Country Band. During their very brief career the group recorded the splendid ‘Battle Of The Field’ LP. A couple of years later, when Kirkpatrick assembled a crack team to record ‘Plain Capers’ – an album of Cotswold Morris Tunes, Martin Brinsford from the influential Old Swan Band and Martin Carthy were among those recruited. Whilst working in the Royal National Theatre production of Flora Thompson’s ‘Lark Rise To candleford’ they met trumpeter Howard Evans. Soon the three were recording song’s for Martin’s ‘Because It’s There’ album and playing occasional gigs in folk clubs. Adding percussionist Brinsford and Roger Wilson on trombone they formed the majestic Brass Monkey. Davis Lindley declared their appearance at the 1979 Cambridge Folk Festival “the most exciting thing I’d heard in ten years.” Hectic schedules and the financial pressures of touring as a five-piece ensemble meant that Brass Monkey has taken extended breaks between tours and albums since 1987.

During the 1990s Martin renewed his partnership with Dave Swarbrick, touring the world with a series of annual “farewell” performance and recording three further albums. By then he was also working alongside his wife Norma Waterson and Daughter Eliza Carthy (both Mercury Music Prize nominees and successful artists in their own right) as Waterson:Carthy. Waterson:Carthy often billed as ‘the first family of folk’ soon established themselves as one of Britain’s most successful and influential folk bands. To date they have recorded six albums with their powerful and distinctive sound – uniting exceptional group harmonies and outstanding instrumental prowess around a diverse repertoire of traditional and contemporary music. Martin’s extraordinarily rich career has seen him performing worldwide in clubs, concert halls and at festivals, on radio and television, and in theatrical productions at the Royal National Theatre and with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Over the years, Martin has been the recipient of many awards. In June 1998 he was awarded an MBE for his services to folk music. In 2002 and again in 2005 he received the Folk Singer of the Year Award and in 2007 he and Dave Swarbrick were judged the Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Tis two CD set collects together thirty-four of his finest recordings – solo, with Dave Swarbrick, with The Watersons, with Waterson:Carthy and as a member of Brass Monkey from the treasury of recordings he has made over the years for Topic Records. It is a testimony to an enormously gifted singer and musician, whose considerable skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him so many admirers around the world. 

“The thing that is so extraordinary about folk song it that it is timeless. It actually speaks to people now as lod and clear as it ever did. Folk music has to breathe real air to live which is why I love performing this music. I’m very lucky, very lucky, I can sing with friends, which is what I love to do. I can sing solo, I can work with my family or in a band. How many people have that luxury?” Today, nearly fifty years into what he still refuses to think of as a career, he continues to display a remarkable curiosity and open-mindedness to all manner of folk musics. There is a very strong argument for saying that British music would not be the same without Martin Carthy’s influence and presence over the past five decades.

Topic Records press release, April 2011

Artist: MARTIN CARTHY
Title: essential
Catalogue number: TSCD770D
Release Date: 9th MAY 2011
Barcode:   714822077026

A CAREER OVERVIEW SPANNING NEARLY FIVE DECADES:

SOLO, with DAVE SWARBRICK, with the WATERSONS, with WATERSON:CARTHY and as a member of BRASS MONKEY

RELEASED TO CELEBRATE MARTIN’S 70th BIRTHDAY

HIGH PROFILE RELEASE WITH VERY STRONG PRESS & MEDIA INTEREST

Over the past five decades Martin Carthy has been one of the most persistent and dedicated practitioners of English traditional music. He has been an essential figure in most of the significant developments in folk music during that time. To chronicle his career is to discuss the rich and diverse history of the English folk song revival since the early 1960s.

His early work was an inspiration to both Bob Dylan and Paul Simon; Martin’s reading of Lord Franklin became the template for Bob Dylan’s Dream, whilst his arrangement of Scarborough Fair was the basis for the popular Simon & Garfunkel hit. More recently his influence has been widely acknowledged by artists as diverse as Paul Weller, Johnny Marr, Richard Thompson, Martin Simpson and Fleet Foxes.

Today, nearly fifty years into what he still refuses to think of as a career, he continues to display a remarkable curiosity and open-mindedness to all manner of folk musics. This 2CD set makes a very compelling argument for saying that British music would not be the same without Martin Carthy’s influence and presence over the past five decades.

Martin Carthy – arguably the most important singer in the English folk revival of the mid-twentieth century.

“Martin Carthy in the folk world is probably the supreme example of the craftsman dedicated to his work… you have to respect the man’s skill and understanding of his subject and the enormous amount of expertise, research and study that goes into everything he does.” – Dick Gaughan 1977

Ever curious, Carthy has imbibed the essence of traditional song into an immediately identifiable signature sound. He is an extraordinarily gifted multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, mandolin and occasionally banjo, whose playing style is centred around a strong percussive drive.

“Martin Carthy was one of the great innovators of the 60’s English folk scene. His guitar work was always clear and elegant. His influence was widespread and profound.” – Paul Simon, 2000

Martin has performed and recorded in a multitude of different settings over the years. He was twice a member of Steeleye Span, appearing on two of their earliest and finest albums, he was a member of the short-lived Albion Country Band and Roy Bailey’s Band of Hope. Between 1975 and 1993 he sang with the reformed Watersons alongside Norma, Lal and Mike Waterson, and with Blue Murder – the mighty choir which boasts the combined voices of the Watersons with Eliza Carthy and Coope, Boyes and Simpson. In recent years Martin has been a pivotal member of one of the most unusual collaborations of the past decade -The Imagined Village. Two remarkable ensembles shine brightest amongst this illustrious roll-call of collaborations – Brass Monkey and Waterson:Carthy.

“Martin’s been a mainstay of traditional music, yet possesses an ability to bring it into the contemporary world. Together with Norma, Mike and the family Martin is a continuing inspiration to me and an influence on performers of many genres.”
– Steve Winwood, 2001

Martin’s extraordinarily rich career has seen him performing worldwide in clubs, concert halls and at festivals, on radio and television, and in theatrical productions at the Royal National Theatre and with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Over the years Martin has been the recipient of many awards. In June 1998 he was awarded an MBE for his services to folk music. In 2002 and again in 2005 he received the Folk Singer of the Year Award and in 2007 he and Dave Swarbrick were judged the Best Duo at the BBC Radio2 Folk Awards.

This two CD set collects together thirty four of his finest recordings – solo, with Dave Swarbrick, with the Watersons, with Waterson:Carthy and as a member of Brass Monkey from the treasury of recordings he has made over the years for Topic Records. It is a testimony to an enormously gifted singer and musician, whose considerable skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him so many admirers around the world.

MARTIN CARTHY
70th Birthday Concert
Queen Elizabeth Hall LONDON
Saturday May 14th 2011

Order from Phil Budden @ Topic Records, 50 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3ES.

Tel: + 44(0)20 7263 1240, fax + 44(0) 20 7281 5671 email@ phil.budden@topicrecords.co.uk

TOPIC RECORDS, 50 STROUD GREEN ROAD, LONDON N4 3ES   tel: 020 7263 1240  fax: 020 7281 5671   www.topicrecords.co.uk


2 Responses to 2011 : Essential

  1. […] Related links: “Essential” in Discography […]

  2. […] Other links: New Martin Carthy CD: “Essential” “Essential” in Discography […]

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