VARIOUS ARTISTS – Vision & Revision (Topic TXCD597)

Vision & RevisionIt can’t have escaped your notice that Topic Records is celebrating its 80th birthday this year. We’ve already had selected deluxe reissues of important albums but how can you really celebrate a catalogue as vast as this? Vision & Revision, subtitled The First 80 Years Of Topic Records, is the solution. Twenty artists, mostly from the younger generation, perform a song that was released on a Topic record some time in the last eight decades. I must congratulate Glen Johnson and Michael Mastrangelo who curated the set but I’m intrigued to know how they set about their task. Did they select twenty songs and parcel them out – surely not? So they must have picked twenty performers and turned them loose on the archives. Each one has a story and you’ll get dizzy following the cross-references.

The first disc opens with one of the old stagers, Martin Simpson, who sings ‘Beaulampkin’ which appeared on his first album. Martin didn’t join Topic until his third record but he learned the song from Hedy West’s Ballads. Of course, Sam Kelly learned ‘Shawnee Town’ from Martin and the baton moves on again. Another veteran is Martin Carthy who cites Sam Larner for ‘Napoleon’s Dream’. Martin heard Sam perform when he was just a teenager and Emily Portman gives Waterson:Carthy as the source of ‘The Bay Of Biscay’ – fifty years separate the two inspirations.

Martin is mentioned again by Chris Wood as the source of ‘Fable Of The Wings’, the Keith Christmas song adapted by Brass Monkey. It’s an unexpected choice and Chris takes it back to something like the guitar original. Anne Briggs is mentioned more than once and Kitty Macfarlane goes as far as singing ‘Go Your Way’ while Olivia Chaney borrows ‘Polly Vaughan’ from Hazards Of Love. Nancy Kerr namechecks June Tabor, Oysterband tackle Nic Jones’ ‘Seven Gypsies’ – an excellent reading of the song – and Peggy Seeger goes to Mike Waterson leaving The Oldham Tinkers to sing ‘Dirty Old Town’.

Another unexpected treat is Richard Thompson’s ‘The Light Bob’s Lassie’, a version of ‘Katie Cruel’ and there are two voices I haven’t heard before. The first is Irish singer Lisa O’Neill who sings ‘As I Roved Out’ with a mighty voice that takes absolutely no prisoners. The second is Lankum – please don’t ask me why I haven’t heard them before – whose lengthy take on ‘The Sea Captain’ closes the second disc.

There’s probably a great pub game to be had from matching twenty singers to twenty songs from the Topic catalogue but this is the official version. Sadly I won’t be around to hear what they select for the second eighty years.

Dai Jeffries

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Martin Simpson – ‘Beaulampkin’ :

Richard Thompson – 70th Birthday Bash

Richard Thompson

April 3rd 2019 – Today, as he turns 70, Richard Thompson OBE has announced a 70th birthday celebration show at London’s Royal Albert Hall on September 30th 2019. This once in a lifetime concert will feature some very special guests, who will be announced in the coming weeks.

‘Please join me as I celebrate my 70th birthday with an evening of music! The venue is the Royal Albert Hall, London, the date is 30th September, there will be many guests covering 50 years plus of music and a memorable evening guaranteed.’ – Richard Thompson

Tickets on general sale now: https://www.alttickets.com/richard-thompson-tickets

Thompson’s latest album 13 Rivers (Proper Records) was released to widespread acclaim last September and appeared on many 2018 ‘best of the year’ lists. His accompanying tour was met with glowing reviews, including The Observer, in its Artist of the Week spread, who concluded, “Half a century after his first gig with Fairport Convention, folk-rocker Richard Thompson – trademark Stratocaster and beret intact – is as cool, energetic and contemporary as ever.”

Richard Thompson’s enduring musical influence and accomplishments are unparalleled.  Having co-founded the ground-breaking group Fairport Convention as a teenager in the 1960s, he and his bandmates invented a distinctive strain of British folk rock.  He left the group by the age of 21, followed by a decade long musical partnership with his then-wife Linda, to over 30 years as a highly successful solo artist.

Thompson has received an OBE, lifetime achievement awards from the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the Americana Music Association and the prestigious Ivor Novello Award.  Rolling Stone named Thompson one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time and The Los Angeles Times called him the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix.  His song ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Greatest Songs Since 1923.”

A wide range of musicians have recorded Thompson’s songs including Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones, David Byrne, Don Henley, Los Lobos, and many more.  His massive body of work includes many Grammy nominated albums as well as numerous soundtracks, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man.

Thompson’s genre defying mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar along with engaging energy and onstage wit continue to earn him new fans and a place as one of the most distinctive virtuosos and writers in folk rock history.  Powered by evocative songcraft, jaw-dropping guitar playing, and indefinable spirit, this venerable icon holds a coveted spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and counts a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association in Nashville, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC Folk Awards among his many accolades.

As well as celebrating Thompson’s milestone birthday, this unmissable show at London’s Royal Albert Hall on September 30th will be a fitting tribute to a truly exceptional artist.

Artist’s website: RichardThompson-Music.com

‘Put It There Pal’ – live:

Topic Records celebrates its first 80 years

Vision & Revision: The First 80 Years of Topic Records

Vision & Revision: The First 80 Years of Topic Records is a deluxe double CD and double vinyl of the cream of contemporary British folk artists interpreting a song of their choice from Topic’s vast back catalogue (the only stipulation being that the song was at some time released on Topic). It includes newly recorded and never-before-released tracks by Martin Simpson, Richard Thompson, Lankum, Peggy Seeger, John Smith, Sam Lee, Martin Carthy, Olivia Chaney, Lisa O’Neill, Oysterband, Nancy Kerr, Chris Wood, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Lisa Knapp, Kitty Macfarlane, Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys, Emily Portman & Rob Harbron, Rachael McShane & The Cartographers, Eliza Carthy & Olivia Chaney and The Oldham Tinkers. These artists have delved deep into Topic’s treasure chest to pull out all manner and variety of ballads and broadsides and breathed new life into them.

With its origins in the Workers’ Music Association, through the mid-20th century folk revival to the present day, Topic Records has established itself as not only the pre-eminent British folk music label, but one widely respected throughout the world. Topic has survived, grown and flourished – proof, if any were needed, that “grass roots” interest in traditional music, the artists and the label itself, has remained constant and strong. Topic has released some of the most influential folk recordings of modern times by a host of revered artists, from Anne Briggs to Peggy Seeger to June Tabor to Ewan MacColl and many, many more.

For 80 years, Topic Records has been a fervent and consistent champion of “the people’s music”. During that time, it has withstood wars, shortages, austerity, economic disaster, the vagaries of fashion, corporate onslaught and various cataclysmic shifts in the fortunes of the recording industry, to retain its proud and distinctively individual role as a beacon of integrity and true values. This fortitude has resulted in its unquestionable claim for being the oldest, surviving truly independent record label in the world.

“Folk music never goes away. You may not hear it, but it is always there, just over your cultural horizon. It lives in families, in communities, in the villages and towns and cities, and in the hearts of the people. Each generation takes what it needs and gives what it can to the tradition, each wave of newcomers turning another furrow, sowing new seeds. For eighty years, Topic Records has played a major role in this process, ensuring the old voices are still audible and creating a space for those that hear them to make new recordings of their own. Formats come and go, but like the music, Topic endures. Long may it do so.” – Billy Bragg

This 20-track double album comes in CD and vinyl gatefold formats, both housed in a special deluxe, debossed, silver foil-blocked sleeve. The vinyl issue is limited to 1000 copies only. A digital version of the album is also available.

Vision & Revision: The First 80 Years of Topic Records will be released on May 31st 2019.

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Label website: www.topicrecords.co.uk

The 2019 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2019 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated this year. The nominations, were in eight categories, and came from our ever-expanding team of writers and were collated into shape by the Folkmeister and the Editor over a pint or two, which also involved, a few arm-wrestles and a spot of beer-mat aerobics, in a convenient local watering hole.

There were five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2018.

As we said last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just about what we think, so once more, it was down to you, our ever-growing readership, to make the final call.

We will now compile the results and announce the winners of each category at some point next week.

*The Public Vote for each category closed at 9.00pm on Sunday 31st March (GMT+1).


Soloist Of The Year

Keith James
Reg Meuross
Rachel Newton
John Smith
Andy White


Best Duo

Gilmore & Roberts
Daria Kulesh and Jonny Dyer
Ninebarrow
Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar
Winter Wilson


Best Band

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Merry Hell
Skipinnish
Trials Of Cato
The Young’Uns


Best Live Act

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Grace Petrie
The Salts
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
Andy White


Best Album

A Problem Of Our Kind – Gilmore & Roberts
The Well Worn Path – Seth Lakeman
The Joy Of Living – Jackie Oates
Queer As Folk – Grace Petrie
Hide And Hair – Trials Of Cato


Best Musician

Martin Harley
Aidan O’Rourke
Marina Osman
John Smith
Richard Thompson


Rising Star

Burning Salt
Robert Lane
Kitty MacFarlane
Smith & Brewer
Vision Thing


Best International Artist(s)

3hattrio
Tyler Childers
Mary Gauthier
Kíla
Larkin Poe


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Fairport Convention announce Cropredy line-up

Cropredy

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary this year. A major innovation for 2019 is ‘glamping’ in pre-pitched luxury bell tents.

Cropredy yesterday announced the full line-up of acts appearing at this year’s event. Over three days (8, 9 and 10 August) Cropredy will present more than thirty hours of live music to an audience of up to 20,000 festival-goers.

Headline acts for 2019 include The Waterboys (Thursday), Frank Turner (Friday); and host band Fairport Convention (Saturday).

Other major acts include Gogol Bordello on Thursday, Seth Lakeman  (Friday) and Richard Thompson (Friday).

The line-up encompasses soaring harmonies from female ensembles Wildwood Kin and Daphne’s Flight, instrumental virtuosity from Will Pound (harmonica), Eddy Jay (accordion) and Martin Simpson (guitar), and classic rock from Martin Barre and prog legends Caravan.

Lil Jim, Tors, The 4 Of Us, Wilson & Wakeman, Richard Digance, Tide Lines and Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ complete the line-up.

One-day, two-day and three-day tickets are exclusively available from Fairport’s website: www.fairportconvention.com/tickets and by phone 0844 581 1396

Thursday 8 August

Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival with a short acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour closing set.

Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals.

Devon indie-folk band Tors is fronted by songwriting brothers Matt and Theo Weedon, grandsons of late guitar maestro Bert Weedon.

Gogol Bordello combine elements of music, theatre, chaos and sorcery To say this is a fabulous festival act would be the grossest of understatements.

A return to Cropredy for Thursday’s headline act The Waterboys whose potent

Friday 9 August

Formed in Newry, Northern Ireland, by brothers Declan and Brendan Murphy, The 4 Of Us are known for poetic songs, harmony vocals and highly accomplished guitar.

Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players.

Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies.

Performing as Wilson & Wakeman, Adam Wakeman is best known as the keyboard player with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath and Damian Wilson is a songwriter and vocalist who has appeared on over seventy albums.

Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Their mix of psychedelia, jazz and classical music has been highly influential.

Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.

Guitar legend and acclaimed songwriter Richard Thompson will appear with erstwhile Fairport  bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol.

One of the finest live acts out there, Frank Turner will headline on Friday night with his band Sleeping Souls, a first visit to Cropredy by one of the UK’s most successful solo artists of the past decade.

Saturday 10 August

BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot.

Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.

Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While.

Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ is a new high-octane prog-metal band.

Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker.

Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy.

Fairport Convention and guests take the stage for their traditional two-hour-plus Saturday headline show.

Artists’ website: http://www.fairportconvention.com/

Suzanne from Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2017.

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention – tickets on sale now

Fairport's Cropredy Convention

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2019.

The organisers have announced many of the acts booked for next summer’s event which will take place on Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August. The remaining acts will be announced in January 2019.

Tickets went on sale from 3 December 2018.

Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival on Thursday 8 August with an acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour headline set. Thursday’s headline act will be The Waterboys whose potent performance makes them one of the UK’s most exciting live acts.

Former Fairport member Richard Thompson will appear with his erstwhile bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol. Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy. Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.

Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker and long-time bassist, Jonathan Noyce. Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ are a new high-octane prog-metal band.

Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While. BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot. Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players. Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies. Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals. Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.

Cropredy tickets on sale for Christmas

Cropredy tickets went on sale on 3 December 2018 in time for Christmas.

Three-day festival tickets cost £140. Camping tickets cost £45 for three nights.

The first 1,000 orders will receive a Christmas card signed by all five members of Fairport Convention.

For box office details visit Fairport Convention’s website: www.fairportconvention.com

Reno Nevada – Cropredy 2017: