Topic’s role has always been, I think, to document the folk music of the British Isles. It has been spectacularly wonderful at doing that. Those Folk Songs of Britain LPs and more recently the Voice of The People series are a fantastic treasure trove… and do a wonderful job of presenting traditional music. I think that’s Topic’s main strength really.
I was about fifteen when I first heard the Willett Family record. I was becoming hooked on this kind of music, and had already heard those Topic / Caedmon LPs of the Folk Songs of Britain and I had the William Kimber and Harry Cox EFDSS LPs. The Willett Family was the first Topic record I bought, it was the first LP ever to be released devoted to gypsy singers. I’ve learnt and sung most of the songs over the years. It has stayed with me as a touchstone – a point of reference to tickle up the juices of traditional music, I still treasure it.