As recently announced, Shirley Collins will release her second album for Domino on July 24th. Entitled Heart’s Ease, it is an enthralling new LP from a woman who is widely acknowledged as England’s greatest female folk singer. Collins is pleased to share the second song from the record, “Sweet Greens and Blues”.
One of the album’s non-traditional tracks, the lyrics for “Sweet Greens and Blues” were written by Shirley’s first husband Austin John Marshall,
a graphic artist and poet who produced several of her albums and had the inspired idea of getting Shirley to work with blues/jazz/world music guitarist Davy Graham on the extraordinary album Folk Roots, New Routes in 1964. The song found its way onto Heart’s Ease after Collins “came across a tape among the hundreds I have got – and there was me singing it in the Sixties, with Davy Graham playing guitar”. This charmingly quirky song about Collins and Marshall’s life at the time had never been recorded before and Shirley wanted to record it for her children. The album version of “Sweet Greens and Blues” features Nathan Salsburg (curator of the Alan Lomax Archive at the Association for Cultural Equity in the US) on guitar.
In 2016, the legendary British folk musician Shirley Collins re-emerged to release her first new album in 38 years, Lodestar. We won’t have to wait nearly so long for the next one. Today, Collins has announced that she’s putting out another new album later this summer, Heart’s Ease, which was recorded in Brighton at Metway Studios.
“Lodestar wasn’t too bad, was it? But when I listen to it, it does sometimes sound rather tentative,” Collins said via a press release. “I had to record it at home because I was just too nervous to sing in front of somebody I didn’t know. This time I was far more relaxed — even though I went into a studio.”
The first song she’s sharing from it is “Wondrous Love,” her rendition of the 19th century hymn “What Wondrous Love Is This,” whose melody is in turn based on the 18th century song “The Ballad Of William Kidd.” Collins makes it sound both old and new, her voice steadfast against the slicing instrumentation. Collins said that she decided sing this now “because songs are stored in my memory for a great many years, and suddenly it seems the right time to bring them out again.”