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4.7 out of 5 stars
24
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 June 2017
Delighted to be able to listen to this again. Beautifully authentic music performed by musicians of outstanding quality. Lovely!
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on 29 March 2017
A cracking album. Murder of Maria Martin is worth the price on its own
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on 1 March 2017
lovely
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No roses is the eighth album by Shirley Collins and the first one to delve into Folk Rock. This stunning album is a fantastic landmark recording, It is a really great album that works so well. This time, teamed with her new husband Ashley Hutchings and many other musicians and singers collectively called the Albion Country Band.
The album is a terrific one. It was produced by Ashely Hutchings and Sandy Robertson in 1971.

There are at least 27 musicians and singers on the recording. Something that wasn’t planned. It just happened that people kept dropping in during recording sessions and asked to join in.
The songs are all from British Tradition. The song The Murder of Maria Marten is a song about the Red Barn Murder and it is broken into different sections with folk rock parts alternating with more traditional folk sounds.
The song Poor Murdered Woman, a song with a true story that appeared in the Times in the 1830s tells of a body being found on leatherhead common. This track features a large part of the Fairport Convention Line up of the 1969 Liege and lief album.
Claudy Banks is another track. It was brought to the attention of many thanks to the Copper Family. It features Lol Coxhill on Saxophone.
Hal an Tow is an ancient ritual song and features Lal and Mike Waterson and Royston Wood. Nic Jones also appears on vocals and fiddle.
Ashley Hutchings appears on all the tracks. Simon Nicol and Richard Thompson on eight and Dave Mattacks on three of the nine songs on this album. Maddy Prior appears on track six Just as the tide was flowing, giving vocal Harmony. John Kirkpatrick offers accordion on track three Banks of the Bann. Barry Dransfield also appers on two tracks
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on 1 December 2004
I have to admit I was a little disappointed with this CD at first. I was hoping for something more like Liege and Lief, what with so many alums of that best folk rock record ever present (on one track or another, everybody but Sandy Denny and Dave Swarbrick). But this is very much an Ashley Hutchings project, and Hutchings left Fairport Convention because he thought their sound wasn't folky enough. Another way to look at this is that it's an electric Shirley Collins record. The point is it doesn't rock all that hard-its still electric, still kinda folk rock, but it has a much more gentle, rural vibe. The only song that strongly calls Liege and Lief to mind is The Murder of Maria Marten, which is so great it's almost worth the price of the CD.
But if you take the rest of the CD on it's own terms, it's pretty interesting. Hutchings and Collins were trying to revitalize traditional English music, which they saw as moribund and endangered by the spread of American and Celtic music. The result is so unrepentantly unabashedly English that for a Yank like myself, and I suspect for many English listeners as well, it's almost exotic, like a kind of world music, as foreign-sounding in it's whiter-than-white way as the latest disc out of Mali or Tuva. They're not afraid of concertinas or fol-a-diddle fol-a-day choruses here. But, for my money, they make them work. It doesn't sound corny, it sounds rootsy-English roots, mate. We're not talkin' uptight repressed bowler hat and umbrella British English, we're talkin' earthy peasant English, singing for pints in the pub dancing round the May Pole bringing in the sheep screwing in the hay English. And some of the melodies are really beautiful, particularly The Banks of the Bann (with Shirley's sister Dolly on piano) and Just as the Tide Was Flowing (given a more rocked-out treatment twenty years later by 10,000 Maniacs).
Shirley is in fine voice (she describes her voice in the accompanying notes as "moldy and strange, but at least it's my own", which is a very fair assessment), although she does get buried a bit on the louder songs-she's no Sandy Denny. Her voice is more fragile, but that fragility can make it very affecting. It has a salt of the earth quality that I find very appealing, and it is of course quite, quite English.
The arrangements are excellent-varied and very evocative, with interesting mixes of instruments (electric guitar, medieval instruments, accordion, even the sound of a horse-drawn cart on one song) but they're a little tight-not a lot of soloing, which is, again, a bit of a disappointment given the fact that Richard Thompson is on board. But I think the idea was to keep the focus on the songs rather than on soloists.
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on 7 December 2009
Ashley Hutchings was the key player in the making of 5 of the greatest English folk-rock albums in this exciting genre. Fairport Convention's Liege & Lief was the ground-breaker which set the template for all that followed, including the first 3 Steeleye Span albums & this, arguably the jewel in the crown. Despite ecstatic reviews in the folk pages, No Roses passed virtually unnoticed at the time of its release but its reputation has grown with each passing year & is today justifiably renowned as perhaps the most complete album of the lot. The material is exclusively traditional for a start & in Shirley Collins it boasts the most distinctive original voice of the British folk revival. To this is added a stellar cast of musicians, the like of which has rarely since been assembled. But the credit goes to Hutchings & producer Sandy Robertson for placing all of these astonishing ingredients at the service of the material. There are wonderful performances throughout the record (none more so than from Shirley herself) but none are permitted to steal the thunder from the songs.

Those expecting a record of foll-de-roll finger-in-the-ear folk tweeness were in for a big shock here. The opening track, 'Claudy Banks', still sounds as if it has been beamed in from an alternate universe & is a solid gold classic. But what makes the English folk-rock roots movement of the early 1970s so special (& important) was its consistent emphasis on the darker, forbidden strains of traditional narrative verse, some of which were positively scary as, for example, this album's centrepiece- the brilliant 'Murder Of Maria Marten'. Somehow, Hutchings & Robertson created a working environment in which each player (including Richard Thompson, John Kirkpatrick, Nic Jones, Dave Mattacks, Maddy Prior, Royston Wood & various members of the Watersons) were given rein to explore this material & refashion it as something vital & foreboding. If you're looking for rock & roll, turn your attention elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you're looking to hear just how startlingly original & downright sinister English folk music can sound, then this is the record that most fully realises that potential. In short, this album is invested with the sort of magic that doesn't fade & is sheer genius from start to finish. It simply doesn't get much better than this.
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on 3 May 2008
For me this is a more acomplished album than L&L by the Fairports. I know that said album came first by about two years, but the real spirit of English folk music is summed up by the stuff on this album. I must admit I purchased this with some misgivings. If I'm honest I wasn't sure that Shirley Collins with an amplified backing band would work. In reality I should not have worried - because it most definitely does.

There's nothing slick or refined about the songs here. They have a ragged, woosy, English charm, which is insightful and charming. As you will see from the cover there is a cast of thousands here. The likes of Ashley Hutchings, Nic Jones, John Kirkpatrick, Mady Prior et al, are all here and playing together ensemble for the benefit of the song rather than egos.

Standout tracks, well basically all of them. 'Banks Of The Bann', 'Hal and Tow', 'Dieman's Land', I could go on. I have not stopped playing this record!!!!!.
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on 20 March 2007
This album was the start of the various forms of the albion country band.

Ashley Hutchings was married to Shirley Collins and brought the band together as a backing group for Shirleys new album "No Roses". Shirleys lovely untrained voice would have been drowned by a totally electric band and a lot of the band were specifically accoustic. The band included, Greg Butler (later of Strawhead) on Serpent, Richard Thompson on guitars, Ashley Hutchings on bass, Tim Renwick also on guitars. Also, among the backing singers was one Maddy Prior.

I still have the album on vinyl and still occasionally listen to it. Songs like, Just as the Tide was a flowing, Maria Marten (The murder in the Red Barn), Claudy Banks, Hal an Tow including accompaniment by Jaws harp and hammered dulcimer, as only Shirley Collins could sing them.

A classic Folk Album.
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No roses is the eighth album by Shirley Collins and the first one to delve into Folk Rock. This stunning album is a fantastic landmark recording, It is a really great album that works so well. This time, teamed with her new husband Ashley Hutchings and many other musicians and singers collectively called the Albion Country Band.
The album is a terrific one. It was produced by Ashely Hutchings and Sandy Robertson in 1971.

There are at least 27 musicians and singers on the recording. Something that wasn’t planned. It just happened that people kept dropping in during recording sessions and asked to join in.
The songs are all from British Tradition. The song The Murder of Maria Marten is a song about the Red Barn Murder and it is broken into different sections with folk rock parts alternating with more traditional folk sounds.
The song Poor Murdered Woman, a song with a true story that appeared in the Times in the 1830s tells of a body being found on leatherhead common. This track features a large part of the Fairport Convention Line up of the 1969 Liege and lief album.
Claudy Banks is another track. It was brought to the attention of many thanks to the Copper Family. It features Lol Coxhill on Saxophone.
Hal an Tow is an ancient ritual song and features Lal and Mike Waterson and Royston Wood. Nic Jones also appears on vocals and fiddle.
Ashley Hutchings appears on all the tracks. Simon Nicol and Richard Thompson on eight and Dave Mattacks on three of the nine songs on this album. Maddy Prior appears on track six Just as the tide was flowing, giving vocal Harmony. John Kirkpatrick offers accordion on track three Banks of the Bann. Barry Dransfield also appers on two tracks
.
This is certainly a most exciting album and should easily be in a Shirley Collins or Albion Band collection.
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on 8 May 2014
No Roses the albums called, but plenty of rosettes from me for the brilliant folk album....

Ashley Hutchings was married to Shirley and together they came up with an album which stand the test of time. at the time (1971) using electric instruments to play Traditional English Folk music was revolutionary and many in the folk world frowned on the practices. Collins and Hutchings wanted to produce a genuine folk album, of traditional English folk Songs using the instruments of the day, just as the concertina had been a new and popular in the 1890's so electric guitars popular in the 1970's (as they still are), are used... The point being this is a folk music recording, rather than a folk rock recording... the instruments are used to enhance the voice....

I bought this album when it was first released and played in continually for a long while I loved (still do) Shirley's voice which has been described as imperfect-perfect, I can only add Shirley's voice has a unique quality which sounds untrained and natural yet well trained as well...

For anyone who enjoys English Traditional English Folk Music or wants to discover it buy this album you won't be disappointed, this album has stood the test of time as new generations have discovered it...
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