Davy Graham was the shit!

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Sam Lee performs Lovely Molly and more

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS | September 11, 2015

English vocalist Sam Lee has an amazing backstory: He found his way to singing professionally after stints as a naturalist and a burlesque dancer. But what really matters are his mesmerizing performances, as well as his incredible ability to connect with people — certainly with the audience in front of him, but also with the elders he’s sought out to learn these songs.

Lee has dedicated himself to preserving centuries-old folk songs of the U.K. and Ireland, particularly from “outsider” communities like the Roma (Gypsies) and the Scottish and Irish Travelers. But he and his bandmates — ukulele player and vocalist Jon Whitten, violinist and vocalist Flora Curzon, and percussionist and vocalist Josh Green — put these ancient songs in thoroughly 21st-century arrangements that feel creative, fresh and surprising, but also deeply human.

Above it all, Lee’s voice blazes through with strength, clarity and confidence. This is an artist who has found his destiny as a singer, a folk-song collector and a steward of stories, keeping them alive and relevant for a new generation.

Set List
“Over Yonders Hill”
“Lovely Molly'”
“Goodbye My Darling'”

Credits
Producers: Anastasia Tsioulcas, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Suraya Mohamed, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lydia Thompson/NPR

Ewan MacColl: An Introduction to Ewan MacColl 

It is nearly 30 since Ewan MacColl died and other recording labels have stolen a march in the issuing of compilation CD’s in the meantime so this collection of his recordings for the Topic label is perhaps long overdue. It is, nevertheless, an interesting collection and a worthy snapshot of his folk singing career. Sadly, the Radio Ballads, perhaps some of MacColl’s most influential work, are absent from this collection – they were issued by Argo Records – but there is still much here that reminds us of his powerful influence in the early days of the folk revival, an influence which prompted one obituary to describe him as the godfather of the folk revival. The material also reflects what Peggy Seeger has described as ‘the policy’ from The Ballads and Blues Club (a title that says much about the material that was performed in those early days of the revival) which MacColl founded in 1953 with a few kindred spirits, namely when you’re onstage you sing folk songs from your own culture. There are songs here which reflect MacColl’s highly politicised upbringing in Lancashire to Scottish parents and the lives of what politicians are wont to describe these days as ‘ordinary working people’ (sic).

The album opens with an early recording – it dates from 1952 – of perhaps his most famous composition, Dirty Old Town, written in 1949, about Salford, the city of his birth. Even at this early stage in his recording career, his characteristic quavering voice is very much in evidence, helped along with a slightly bluesy guitar accompaniment [ . . . ]

Continue at FRUK: Ewan MacColl: An Introduction to Ewan MacColl | Folk Radio

Martin Simpson: An Introduction to Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson – An Introduction To Martin Simpson Topic records

For many years seen as the butt of musical-hall jokes, and since the coming of the digital age, alongside Penistone, the victim of many a ‘search-engine block’, Scunthorpe has received little recognition as the birthplace of a diverse range of illustrious individuals.  Within the music métier, Howard Devoto (Buzzcocks, Magazine), Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention, Matthew’s Southern Comfort, Plainsong) and Stephen Fretwell (The Last Shadow Puppets) can all claim the North Lincolnshire town as their place of origin. Apologies to Q Magazine, but I have to disagree with their claim that Fretwell is  ‘Scunthorpe’s finest export… ever’; for this reviewer, (and with all due respect to Stephen), he’s not even its finest musical export – seemingly they’ve overlooked Martin Simpson.

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