Norma Waterson: Folk singer dies aged 82

Tributes are paid to the acclaimed singer, a member of British folk music’s “most famous family”.

Renowned singer Norma Waterson – matriarch of the “royal family of British folk music” – has died.

Norma, brother Mike, sister Lal formed The Watersons in the 1960s, achieving critical acclaim for their work.

The 82-year-old, from Hull, had been unable to perform for years due to illness and had been in hospital with pneumonia.

Her daughter, the musician Eliza Carthy, announced her mother’s death with “monumental sadness” on Sunday.

Alongside cousin John Harrison the three siblings started to perform at venues around Hull in the 1960s and went on to become a celebrated folk group.

With their traditional songs and close harmonies they were “long considered the royal family of British folk music”, according to the New York Times.

The combined Waterson/Carthy family has long been a fixture of the UK folk music scene, with Martin Carthy, Norma’s Husband, twice winning BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year Award.

Singer Billy Bragg was among fellow musicians to pay tribute, and said his thoughts were “with Martin and Eliza and the rest of the family”.

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A plaque to the late Lal Waterson, Norma’s sister, was unveiled in September on a house in Hull where she once lived. Many family members were present and sang at the event.

Waterson/Carthy singingIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,

Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy (daughter), Mike Carthy (husband) and Mike Waterson (brother) performing in 1989 in London

Eliza Carthy and her two children moved back to her North Yorkshire home to help care for her mother more than a decade ago.

Norma, the eldest Watersons sibling, survived both Lal Waterson, who died in 1998, and Mike Waterson, who died in 2011.

Source: Norma Waterson: Folk singer dies aged 82

Strangers In The Room: A Journey Through The British Folk Rock Scene 1967-73

British Folk Rock 1967-1973 – the tip of the iceberg but an interesting and varied collection from the Grapefruit genre anthology series.

And that’s despite the confession of folk brigand Eliza Carthy (Louder Than Words festival interview, Manchester, 2018) that she can’t stand Folk Rock and has never knowingly listened to a Fairport Convention album.

She’ll not be interested then to hear how sixty tracks gather together the familiar with the less so. Songs that you’ll know from the folk tradition and plenty of others which  again, might be less so. If there’s anyone who could lay a claim to knowing all the bands and all the songs then you perhaps deserve a place at the head of the table if not the Eggheads team. Steeleye Span, Ralph McTell Continue reading

Review: Lal and Mike Waterson’s “Bright Phoebus”

Lal and Mike Waterson
Lal and Mike Waterson

ONCE CONSIDERED TOO WEIRD FOR THE FOLKIES, THIS LONG-OUT-OF-PRINT 1972 ALBUM FEATURING ASHLEY HUTCHINGS, MARTIN CARTHY, AND RICHARD THOMPSON IN ADDITION TO WATERSON SIBLINGS IS A LONG-LOST MASTERPIECE.

The long-awaited re-release of Lal and Mike Waterson’s 1972 album Bright Phoebus is nothing short of a major event for fans of British folk music. Domino Records offers an expertly remastered version of the record with a separate disc of demos, including two songs that didn’t make the cut to the final album. Pete Paphides provides extensive liner notes that tell the fascinating story behind the album [. . . ]

Read Full Review: Lal and Mike Waterson: Bright Phoebus | PopMatters

Lal and Mike Waterson: Bright Phoebus 

Lal and Mike Waterson
Lal and Mike Waterson

The long-awaited re-release of Lal and Mike Waterson’s 1972 album Bright Phoebus is nothing short of a major event for fans of British folk music. Domino Records offers an expertly remastered version of the record with a separate disc of demos, including two songs that didn’t make the cut to the final album. Pete Paphides provides extensive liner notes that tell the fascinating story behind the album.

Source: Lal and Mike Waterson: Bright Phoebus | PopMatters