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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, sad, and sublime, 29 Jan 2007
By 
Halcyon Dick (North Yorks, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
Folk Music... it's a minefield, isn't it? Albeit one garnished with ancient copses and mediaeval ploughed furrows. My first introduction into traditional music was via Kate Rusby's superb album "Sleepless" some years back. Taste buds suitably tingling, I then delved into a variety of compilations, but they brought forth too much adenoidal bellowing, too many faux-West Country accents, and quite simply not enough to love. So, Rusby and a select few apart, I backed away.

Then last year the BBC came up with the excellent Folk Britannia trilogy and my ears pricked up to the genre again. Particularly when, for the first time, I encountered doe-eyed free spirit Anne Briggs. The brief snippets of her crystalline vocals were enough to send me searching out her recordings sharpish, and I duly spread my wad on "The Collection". Swipe me, what a revelation. Unaccompanied folk singers used to, at best, frighten me, or at worst hold about as much appeal as a cow pat. But Anne Briggs... well, she may be singing the same songs which have been ritually slaughtered by many a craggy country dweller in all those worthy old field recordings, but the effect her voice has on you is light years away. I realise traditional music is all about The Song, but when you get Anne Briggs to sing The Song, you're taken into an extra dimension.

Ten seconds into "Recruited Collier" and I was FLOORED. I had so many shivers running up and down the back of my neck that I thought the top of my head was going to flip up. She breathes such light and life into the standards "She Moves Through The Fair" and "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" that her versions have to be definitive. And the takes here are live in concert. She may have suffered form terrible stage-fright but the vocals are flawless.

Yet it seems she hated the studio even more, and this allied to her wayfaring lifestyle, meant her 60s recordings, though stunning, were sporadic at best. In 1971, nine years after her first release, came her first long-player, included here in its entirety. And it's a mind-blower. At the time of writing I've had "The Collection" 6 months and I STILL get the heavy collywobbles every time I hear "Blackwater Side". And I play it a helluva lot. Her sparse guitar accompaniment drops like gentle, comforting raindrops on the window of her world and you never want the clouds to part. "Go Your Own Way" has me groping for appalling 6th form clichés in much the same way.

I could go on. These are but few of the numerous highs on a cd which will change your musical mindset. As vocalists go, Anne Briggs' beautiful voice is incomparable: no accompaniment, no artifice, no contest. Lose yourself.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation, 17 Mar 2007
By 
Avid Reader (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
Like the previous reviewer the first time I encountered Anne Briggs was hearing her on the BBC documentary series Folk Britannia. I've always liked folk music and the voices of singers such as Sandy Denny but I was transfixed when I first heard Anne Briggs voice which stood out from all the other voices (mostly exceptional) in the documentary.

I too have an aversion to earnest unaccompanied folk singers but I've become mesmerised by this album. The album has a spellbinding quality which made me listen intently to the words and become caught up in the stories that the songs tell. The purity of Anne Briggs voice is so intense that I've played it over and over again in the 3 weeks since I first bought it, something I've not been inspired to do for a long time. It's made me try and find out everything I can about this reclusive singer and to search out all her other recordings.

The quality of Anne Briggs singing is such that it physically affects me every time I hear her. Anyone with even a vague liking of folk music should have this CD in their collection.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent source for traditional material, 26 Dec 2005
By 
Barry Watson "parkwood_music" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
You'll be amazed at how many well-known folk artists have taken on traditional material brought to life by Anne in glorious accapella on this influential album.
It is very much an anthology of traditional folk song... very highly recommended if you enjoy artistes such as Peter Bellamy or are interested in ballad settings. Includes a really thorough account of Anne's relatively short time in the limelight and her shying away from the commercial music business. Great!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just another young kid from the floor..........., 16 Nov 2007
By 
W. Bolden "billyb" (london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
I can remember this like it was yesterday - I'm sure that the venue was "The Scot's Hoose" in Cambridge Circus, London, circa 1964/5 (ish), and it was a Bert Jansch gig. Invited up to sing as a floor singer, she just stepped up from the audience without much of an introduction. The place was full of noise as usual, beer glasses being cleared etc. and no one took a great deal of notice at first, but Anne battled on and the audience soon began to shut up - by the time she ended the song (sorry, can't remember what it was) you could have heard a pin drop. She totally nailed it. Everybody who was there knew that this was the real deal, and I've been listening ever since.

Buy this disc and put it in the 'special' or 'definitive' section of your record collection; bring it out from time to time, give it a play and get lost in the authenticity of her singing. It never fails to impress.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A voice from my past, 24 April 2008
By 
Michael Furey "thefurey" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
It must be more than 40 years ago that I bought 'The Topic Sampler' (that's what they were called before some marketing bod thought of 'compilation'). It had a great selection from Topic's catalogue but the one that has always stayed in my mind was Anne Briggs' version of 'The Bonny Boy'. I've always preferred unaccompanied singing, mainly because I'm unable to sing to an instrument, but this was something else. She sang simply but with perfect pitch, not often heard in those days of earnest middle-class, middle-of-the-road singers. She sounded as if the song was learnt, not from a book, but from her own experience. Over the years that LP has been in the rack, occasionally played for that one song.

So now I have 'A Collection', and I'm back in love with that voice. Maybe if she'd carried on the commercial pressure would have changed her style, so I'm half glad she retreated (rather than retired) when she did. When I think back on all those long-haired blonde lassies who struggled so hard to sound as if they believed in the words they were singing, I truly think that Anne Briggs was in a different league altogether. Maybe one of my Ma's sayings fitted her best; 'You should sing as if you can taste the words.' Anne Briggs certainly did just that.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As It Gets, 19 Jun 2003
This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
Eliza Carthy, June Tabor and Sandy Denny - they all played Kevin Rowland to Anne Briggs's Gino Washington; The original New Age Traveller, muse to Richard Thompson - un-pin-down-able Beeswing - this damaged flower of Nottingham was like an Iceland Poppy - 30 or so songs before she dissapeared in the wind to travel the highways and byways living rough. Every song is a bell-clear hymn to the English psyche; Thomas Hardy in 'spades', tragedy and triumph - desperados and ghosts, witches and wastrels. This is not just an album, it is the key to a way of thinking - the lost soul of the authentic English folk tradition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensational artist, 29 Sep 2009
By 
Philip N. Roberts (Barry, Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
I already had "The Time Has Come" and knew that Anne Briggs was a special Folk Artist, however until I heard the voice accapello I had not relaised how special this lady was. I am amazed that I did not here more of her in the sixties when I was getting into Folk music.
Sandy Denny who has always been my considered choice as the best female folk voice has now been eclipsed in my ears. I'm sure Sandy wouldn't mind being usurped by a voice that has such a beautiful clarity and tone.
I would recommend that evryone who appreciates the delight of a sensational female voice, buy this album now.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 19 Oct 2006
This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
OK, so in my ignorance I had only heard about 1 tune from Ms Briggs before buying this album. Hearing just a small clip of Anne's singing sent me out looking to find the 'mystery woman' with a voice evoking misty moors and dark deeds. I spotted the name on a compilation - but one track would not suffice, so I sent for this collection. At the modest price and high quality I certainly did not feel let down.

Anne has the confidence to allow herself to sing unaccompanied for most of the album - unrestrained by considerations of accompaniment, she is able to take the melody/phrasing where best suits her instinct and it takes her on a magical journey into the past from which she casts a shadow forward to those she inspired. Fans of Sandy Denny or Kate Rusby should listen to this album and after I had heard it all the way through - somewhat entranced I may add - I insisted on playing a selection of tracks where I felt the influence of Anne could be heard. It was a 'source of the Nile' kind of exposition.

Anne is documented to have been a wild-child runaway and little could she expect that her work would be influential 40 years on. She was a free-spirit, a radical, who in a generation past might have joined the Diggers or the Levellers - by reputation she appears to have been of the Janis Joplin mould, but unlike Janis who exploded with her big arena personality, Anne appeared content to withdraw from the spotlight when she was done. It is said that Anne was a victim of stage-fright/nerves and whilst some nervous performers reach an understanding with their friend Jack Daniels and perform as a double act, some, like Anne, call it a night before they fall offstage one last time.

If my memory serves me well, Bert Jansch (or a soundalike) gives a little accompaniment towards the end of the album, but it is Anne's voice summoning the ghosts of maidens over the centuries that unquestioningly dominates this album.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've looking for a quick review this is it., 12 Nov 2007
By 
biffbiffin (Leicestershire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
I've never been into folk, but I found this album a delightful collection of wonderful music at it's most stripped back and purest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant cd, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: A Collection (Audio CD)
Despite having a somewhat tragically shortened career, Anne Briggs seems to have pretty much defined the sixties folk revival female repertoire. Wish I'd been around to see her and Bert Jansch together. The relatively few recordings she made have stood the test of time well. Her voice is natural, her performances naturalistic and haunting. This is a good place to start.
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