In addition to the recently released Three Score & Ten box set, Topic Records are proud to be reissuing seven significant recordings from their impressive archive, available for the first time on CD. They will be available from all good stores from Monday 26th October 2009.
As a member of the powerful a cappella group, The Young Tradition, PETER BELLAMY was one of the most active artists working to reawaken interest in the traditional songs of England. Both Sides Then – his finest solo album is a superb integration of his varied musical interests, drawing on English, Irish and Appalachian traditions. Peter Bellamy, who sadly died in 1991, left a remarkable body of recording which continues to inspire musicians around the world.
Lewis “Scan” Tester was born in Sussex in 1887 to a musical family. He was something of a prodigy playing from the age of 8 at all sorts of social functions where music was required, including pubs. In the mid 1950s, folklorist and musician, Reg Hall met him and invited him to play in his loose-knit band of musicians. Their playing schedule covered the usual pub gigs, private parties and also included a trip to London where Scan played before a full house at the Royal Festival Hall. Mostly recorded by Reg Hall, these 55 tracks – expanded and remastered from the 1990 vinyl LP – open a window to our musical past.
“This is new music but with its roots deep in the traditional music of the British Isles. The traditional musician takes old tunes and polishes them like gemstones, revealing new facets of the melodies at every turn. The vitality such musicians bring to their music has always been an inspiration to me, and Steel Skies is a personal response to this.” – Alistair Anderson.
Scored for a group of musicians including fiddles, flutes, mandolins and Alistair Anderson’s concertina and Northumbrian Smallpipes, the compositions here take from the tradition but expand on it creating a complete whole. Alistair Anderson’s mastery of the concertina is legendary, but it is the concept and the beauty of the music here that may take your breath away.
The McPeake Family’s Wild Mountain Thyme, also known as Will Ye Go Lassie, Go, is one of the most famous songs to emerge from the folk revival of the 1950s being covered by an incredible variety of artists including Fotheringay, The Byrds, Mark Knopfler and Rod Stewart as well as Ewan MacColl, The Chieftains and Clancy Brothers. Often containing as many as three generations, the Belfast born and bred McPeake Family played as far afield as Moscow and was a great favourite on the BBC. Their distinctive combination of uilleann pipes, harps and harmony vocals set a new standard for Irish music. Not content to showcase instrumental virtuosity, their warm ensemble sound brought out the depth of the songs making them one of the most loved Irish groups on the 1950s and early ’60s.
Louis Killen is one of the most influential musicians of the folk revival and a key voice of English traditional song. He is a hard-core, unadulterated folk singer whose passionate delivery is matched by a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of the songs and the working people who made them. Born in Gateshead in Co. Durham, he was noted for his love of sea songs, as well as the industrial and rural folk songs of his native North East of England. Released in 1965, Ballads and Broadsides was the first full album by a solo folk singer. A great album full of great performances it was, sadly, to be the only album he recorded for Topic Records as he left Britain within a couple of years for a new life in the USA.
The great traditional ballads are storytelling at its dark, urgent best and the greatest exponent of this folk art was Ewan MacColl. Traditional narrative ballads are at the centre of the British Folk Tradition. Ewan MacColl was the folk revival’s greatest proponent of the ballad; ballads were central to his conception of the folk revival and at the core of his recordings and performances. His commitment showed in his performances, where the story was everything. Ballads is a great selection of performances originally released in 1956 and never before on CD.
For over four decades, Jackie Daly has been acknowledged as, in the words of the New York Times, “probably the best accordionist in Ireland.” Released in 1977, Jackie Daly’s remarkable debut album has long been recognised as an important landmark recording, capturing a musician at the peak of his powers and helping to re-establish the accordion as an important instrument in Irish music. From this impressive beginning, Jackie went on to play with the cream of Ireland’s musicians in such seminal groups as De Danann and Patrick Street and build a reputation as “the” Irish button accordion player – in other words the best in the world.