Phil Tyler and Sarah Hill first met in Newcastle where they played in local folk nights and sang in Sacred Harp sessions, leading to Hill contributing vocals to a few songs on Tyler’s solo album We Sunk The Ship To Get Rid Of The Rats. The recordings that make up this long-awaited album were made before Hill relocated to Brighton, where she sang with Woven Sky. Now the album is finally getting a release through Tyler’s own Ferric Mordant label, (which has released several Cath & Phil Tyler albums over recent years.)
What We Thought Was A Lake Was A Field Of Flax is a mixture of songs they used to perform around the city and some others that they liked and worked well with their voices. The songs are primarily traditional, learned from versions by folk legends like Shirley Collins, Bob Copper, Martin Carthy and Peggy Seeger, although two – ‘Sweet Lemney’ and ‘Golden Lads’ – have tunes by Tyler, and the latter words from their mutual friend Jo Ellis.
The album was recorded by Newcastle artist/producer Phil Begg in an unadorned, simple manner that captures the warmth of Hill and Tyler’s voices, the interplay of their duets and Tyler’s fine guitar, banjo and ukulele playing. (There’s also some splendid whistling from Begg on ‘Willie The Waterboy’). The cover design is by David Hand (Haress, Lancashire & Somerset).
Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/cathandphiltyler
‘Are You Going To Leave Me’ – official video: