8 December 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 8 December 2015
This is the last of my #MC50 videos featuring rare live and studio tracks sourced from my personal archive of radio recordings, mostly from the late-80s onwards. It’s an appropriately seasonal recording from Waterson:Carthy’s 2006 ‘Frost & Fire’ tour. The Devil’s Interval feature heavily (their ‘Quern Song remains unreleased officially to the best of my knowledge) and this was Tim van Eyken’s last full tour with the band.
I’ve published a different recording each month during 2015 to celebrate 50 years since the release of Martin’s first solo album and it has been interesting revisiting some of them. I’ve tried to include a representative cross-section of solo, duo, group and family recordings. Some of the audio has been in less-than-pristine condition but everything has had its merits to some extent and I think it’s been worth including all of them for one reason or another.
There have been some fairly obvious omissions – the numerous appearances to promote Martin and Eliza’s recent duo album and tour, for instance – and I still have a lot more recordings than I haven’t had the chance to publish so for that reason I’ve decided to continue this series into next year and beyond. The only difference is that I’ll only be publishing on an ad hoc basis rather than strictly once a month.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the videos I’ve published so far and I look forward to your continued support into 2006.
Merry Christmas. Kev.
1 November 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 1 November 2015
For the penultimate #MC50 video celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Carthy’s first solo album I’ve chosen a great live recording of a Martin and Norma show that formed part of his 60th birthday celebrations in 2001. This was originally broadcast on Andy Kershaw’s BBC Radio 3 show in two parts about five months apart, which accounts for there being two ‘finale’ numbers (the first appearing half way through at what was the end of the first broadcast) and for one of Norma’s intros being duplicated.
The concert took place at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford on 23 May 2001 and Martin and Norma are accompanied by Chris Parkinson on piano accordion.
10 October 2015
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:
30 September 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 30 September 2015
September’s #MC50 video is a session from the popular BBC Radio “Folk On Two” show from late-1987. Chris Wood guests on two instrumental tracks and to the best of my knowledge this is the only time these two have recorded as a duo (although Chris guested on a track from Martin’s solo album “Right Of Passage” the next year).
Several months later Martin would sit in as presenter of “Folk On Two” and would feature Chris Wood as a guest. Here is the resulting interview and session:
31 August 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 31 August 2015
This month’s #MC50 video celebrating 50 years since Martin’s first solo album arrives a little late due to an unexpected house move but there’s still an hour of August left so here it is. It’s a 2005 live appearance on WNYC National Public Radio in New York from July 2005. Waterson:Carthy were mid-tour and Martin was invited into the studio to talk to John Schaefer about his career and to play a live version of “Limbo”.
5 July 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 5 July 2015
July’s #MC50 video is a live recording of Blue Murder in their original lineup from 1987.
This 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. I’ve dated this late-1987 but I failed to record the full details at the time so it could possibly be a little later – though it’s unlikely to be after 1988.
EDIT: I’ve remade and re-posted the YouTube video with some amendments and corrections. Thanks to Reinhard Zierke for some additional details.
1 June 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 1 June 2015
June’s #MC50 YouTube video, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Carthy’s debut solo album, is a session recorded by Martin and Dave Swarbrick in October 1988 at the BBC Pebble Mill studios for the BBC Folk On Two show.
The session was recorded half way through their First Farewell Tour – their first major set of gigs since they had split in 1969 – and includes a number of rare or unique recordings. It was broadcast on 12 October 1988 on BBC Radio 2 and the photos are from their gig in Rotherham the following night (not Sheffield, as the broadcast suggests).
2 May 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 2 May 2015
This month’s #MC50 video features tracks from a 1976 BBC Radio 1 session for John Peel. This would have been Martin’s seventh Peel session (he would do two more) and includes a unique performance of Searching For Lambs that Martin hasn’t yet recorded officially and which hasn’t appeared on any of his recent live albums. It also includes a solo version of The Unfortunate Tailor, thirty years before Martin would record it officially with Swarb for Straws In The Wind. The remaining songs are from his then current album Crown Of Horn.
19 April 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 19 April 2015
Topic Records issued their 50th anniversary edition of Martin Carthy’s debut album in a limited edition of 750 copies as one of their 2015 Record Store Day releases.
I thought it would be interesting to compare this edition with my original 1965 Fontana records copy (mine is the mono edition) so what follows are a series of compare and contrast photographs of the 1965 and 2015 editions.
The immediately obvious difference with the 2015 edition is the removal of the Fontana logo from the top right corner which has been handled very well compared with previous re-issues which either cropped the entire section of the cover (the 1970s vinyl re-issue) or blocked out the logo in black (the CD re-issue). This works so much better. Otherwise the cover is a faithful reproduction of the original although the new edition has a slightly more prominent blue hue whereas the original tended towards green in places (I accept that this could be due to the age of my copy). On closer inspection the image on the new edition is reproduced a little darker with higher contrast and saturation but slightly lower image definition and the text in the top right appears to have been re-set.
Again, this is a faithful reproduction of the original but with some slight alterations. The MARTIN CARTHY text has been re-set in a different (but similar) font. The track listing and main sleeve notes on the new edition appear to be the same font as the original but have again been re-set so there are a few discreet changes in layout and text placement. The necessary addition of the Topic logo, copyright notices and barcode are slightly less discreet changes. The main difference between the two editions is in the manufacturing method – the original 1965 mono edition features the then-standard ‘foldback’ sleeve with paper label pasted on top whereas the new edition is ‘fully-laminated’ (some later ’60s Fontana editions were also ‘fully laminated’ so arguably this is a ‘faithful’ reproduction but it obviously differs from my early copy).
Inner Sleeve, label and spine
The 1965 edition only included a plain (blank) inner sleeve but the new edition has an attractive picture inner sleeve that reproduces a Karl Dallas review of Martin’s first two albums (no date given) and a transcript of his classic arrangement of Scarborough Fair. The labels are completely different by necessity and it’s nice to see one of Martin’s albums featuring the now-classic blue and silver Topic label design. Finally, the title and catalogue number on the spine differs from the original.
1965 and 2015
5 April 2015
Posted by Kevin Boyd, 5 April 2015
Topic Records are to release a limited-edition version of Martin Carthy’s debut album for UK Record Store Day. The edition will carry the catalogue number 12TS2015 and will be limited to 750 copies with audio remastered for 180g audiophile vinyl that has been pressed at Optimal in Germany. It will be available initially in-store only at participating record shops on Saturday 18 April but it’s likely that Topic will make any remaining copies available via their website in the following weeks, as they have with their previous RSD releases.
Previous Topic RSD releases have reproduced the original sleeve notes, artwork and production techniques (foldback sleeves, etc). So far I’ve been unable to determine if that is the case here although Topic have released this cover image showing that they have finally made a decent job of dealing with the old Fontana logo that appeared in the top-right corner of the original release. I’ll post more details once I get my hands on a copy.
View Martin Carthy in DISCOGRAPHY
View list of #MC50 posts in Come Sing It Plain…