After much success recording from the 1950s to the 1970s Shirley Collins had notched up
Eight albums by 1973. The albums were Sweet England 1959, False true lovers 1960, New roots folk roots 1964, Sweet Primroses 1967, The power of the true lovers knot 1968. Anthem in Eden 1969, Love Death and the Lady 1970, No Roses 1971. There had also been an EP in 1963 Heroes in Love and in 1973 there was a compilation album called a farewell Garland.
The new, and ninth album was Adieu to Old England in 1974. This album is brilliant, It continues the exploration of Traditional English Folk songs and English Tradtion.
There is a song called Coronation Jig written for the return of King Charles II in 1660. And then there is Portsmouth which is taken from John Playford’s book The Dancing Master.
As on previous albums many songs are from the South of England but one track comes from the North. This is Horkstow Grange. This features a character that gave the group Steeleye Span its name.
Chiner’s song is a great tale of rural life. Shirley injects magical vocals on The Ram of Derbish Town.
The album has a rich flavour of Traditional history. The arrangements by sister Dolly evoke medieval origins. From Morris Men and Mummer’s plays there is a celebration of old England.
Songs have been handed down by generations and record Traditional festivals such as Harvest and the like that have largely been forgotten in urban society.
Shirley Collins has a unique voice and vocal style and it is a most memorable one. Her passion for English tradition and folk music shines in this great album.
This is definitely an album to collect in the catalogue of recordings by Shirley and Dolly Collins
Because it's not very good, I'm sorry to say. Shirley (with or without Dolly) created four or five of the greatest English folk albums, including THE greatest, "Anthems in Eden". This, however, is a ragbag. She can't fail to turn in some gems - the title track, "Come all you little streamers", and, especially, the astonishing, chilling, unspeakably lovely "One night as I lay on my bed" - but the rest is bulldozed by Ashley Hutchings' Etchingham Steam Band concept, which was never a good idea, whatever it was. This album was the beginning of the untimely end of Shirley Collins' glorious musical career. Don't get this, get "Anthems in Eden". Immediately.
on 28 July 2008
I still think that "Anthems in Eden" is one of the best Folk Albums of the 60's but that does not detract from any of Shirley and Dolly's other albums. This is collectable, if only for the song from which Steeleye Span got their name, "Horkstow Grange":-
"Pity them what see him suffer
Pity poor old Steeleye Span"