Book Review: All in the Downs by Shirley Collins review – the English Folk Revivalist’s revival

It took almost 40 years for Shirley Collins to recover her voice, and with it her identity. After realising that her second husband, fellow musician Ashley Hutchings, was cheating on her – an actress wore his jumper to one of their concerts – the folk singer was struck by dysphonia, and could no longer sing. Collins had always thought herself a conduit rather than a performer: in her 20s, she heard two elderly folk singers and was struck by their “gentle dignity”. It cemented her own philosophy: “No dramatising a song, no selling it to an audience, no overdecorating in a way that was alien to English songs, and most of all, singing to people, not at them.” If her work is self-effacing, then Collins’s memoir reveals the strength of character required to overcome the insidious disempowerment she faced within the postwar British folk scene [ . . . ]

Read More: All in the Downs by Shirley Collins review – the English Folk Revivalist’s revival | Books | The Guardian

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