Carthy & Swarb 2017 Record Store Day release

9 April 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 9 April 2017

No Songs RSD1

Fledg’ling Records will release a newly-remastered version of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick’s rare 1967 EP “No Songs” for UK Record Store Day (RSD) on 22 April 2017. “No Songs” has been one of Carthy’s harder to find releases and this is the first time it has been reissued in its entirety since 1967. Only a couple of tracks have received limited release on CD.

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The new version will feature a facsimile reproduction of the original front-laminated, flipback outer sleeve and a new inner sleeve illustrated with rare photographs. The limited edition 50th anniversary release commemorates the life of Carthy’s long-term musical partner Swarb, who died in 2016.

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As with all RSD releases this will only be available to buy in person on 22 April at participating UK stores but unsold copies of previous RSD releases from both Fledg’ling and Topic Records have been made available to buy online shortly after the actual day.

VIEW “No Songs” in DISCOGRAPHY


#MC50 : Comparing Topic’s ‘Martin Carthy’ 50th anniversary re-issue with the Fontana original

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.

Front Cover

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.

Back Cover

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.


#MC50 : 50th Anniversary Record Store Day release

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.

MC50 Cover1

View Martin Carthy in DISCOGRAPHY

View list of #MC50 posts in Come Sing It Plain…


Martin and Eliza’s “Record Store Day” release

23 February 2014

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 23 February 2014

It’s been a busy week for Topic Records at the BBC Folk Awards: as well as Martin and Eliza using the occasion to debut a number of songs from their forthcoming duo album, another Topic act The Full English performed at Wednesday night’s ceremony and received awards for Best Group and Best Album. In the middle of all this Topic announced that Martin and Eliza would feature on the label’s 2014 UK Record Store Day release with a 7″ single of “Happiness” due on 19 April.

Happiness single cover

2014 will be the seventh UK Record Store Day and Topic have previously participated with releases by June Tabor & Oyster Band (2012) and Davy Graham (2013). These were exclusively available in physical format as limited runs of 1000 copies on 7″ vinyl from participating stores on the day of release with remaining copies being made available via Topic’s website at later dates. Digital versions can be downloaded via iTunes.

It’s safe to assume that the release of “Happiness” will follow the same format. This will be the first available track from Martin and Eliza’s new album “The Moral of the Elephant” as the 19 April release date will be some six weeks before the album is issued on 2 June. As yet there has been no announcement on the single’s B-side(s) or catalogue number but I would expect the latter to follow recent patterns and be assigned STOP2014. More detail to follow as and when it becomes available.

Edit : 24 February
Topic Records posted the following response:
“Martin & Eliza’s RSD single will have the catalogue number STOP2587.
We will shortly be announcing our other Record Store Day release which will have the catalogue number STOP2014…..
Best wishes
Topic Records”

VIEW “Happiness” in DISCOGRAPHY

Read my review of Topic’s 2013 Record Store Day release (also available here)

Recording “The Moral of the Elephant”


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