Interview with Tony Engle (45:58) (File size is large, so might take a while to load)
Topic Record’s Managing Director Tony Engle talks about the upcoming box set, featuring audio tracks of:

Harry Cox – Bonny Labouring Boy
Bob & Ron Copper – Spencer The Rover
Margaret Barry – The Factory Girl
Davie Stewart – Boulavogue
Bob Davenport – Police Patrol
Ewan MacColl – Dirty Old Town
Scan Tester & Rabbidy Baxter – Jenny Lind

Interview with David Suff (17:09)
David discusses his research into the Three Score & Ten project with Properganda Editor Simon Holland

Interview with Tony Engle and June Tabor (15:41)
Jon Dennis from The Guardian talks to the pair

Paddy Ryan – The Man That Waters The Workers’ Beer (2:43)
The first song ever to be released on Topic Records


Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2 – 02/09/09

Mike talks to Tony Engle and plays some of the tracks off the album.  You can listen to the show again until Wednesday 9th September.

Press Release

Click here to download the full press release


Mojo★★★★★ “Tony Engle and set curator / producer David Suff have worked wonders to turn a daunting project into a package of real beauty that leaves you in no doubt to its artistic importance… but is a lot of fun too.” – MOJO

Uncut★★★★★ “Topic Record’s 70th birthday present to the World…you can hear a world moving through altered states” – Uncut

Sunday Times★★★★ “Three Score & Ten is a powerful charm that will change the way you hear music, and maybe even the way you see the world.” – Sunday Times

Observer Music Monthly★★★★★ “For newcomers and the hardcore alike.” – Observer Music Monthly

The Guardian★★★★★ “This is far more than just a finely packaged retrospective CD set. It’s an important slice of British and Irish musical history, with a few US and European songs added. Topic records, the oldest truly independent record label in the world, and the most important company in the story of British folk music, celebrates its 70th birthday this summer, and this fascinating, thoughtfully produced seven-CD set and 100-page hardback book marks the anniversary in style.” – The Guardian

The Independent“If there is one thing about folk music which distinguishes it from any other musical form, it’s the priority it gives to the narrative voice. Go not gently.” – The Independent

This seven-CD set tells the 70-year Topic story with elan… It’s a cornucopia of cultural history – The Observer

3Score10 - Songlines★★★★★ “You half imagine yourself descending in some sonic submersible as you ease your way into the extraordinary body of music contained in Three Score & Ten, Topic Record’s 70th birthday gift to itself and its listeners. It comprises a hardback coffee-table book of 108 pages, with seven discs embedded in its covers, and a separate, complete catalogue of Topic releases, it’s one of the finest boxed sets I have ever seen.” – Songlines

Record Collector★★★★★ “As the subtitle of this compilation suggests, folk music has been, and always will be, the voice to (and of) the people.  Topic, more than most, nade sure that voice was heard.” – Record Collector

Shindig!Shindig Star Pick“The complete package is as important a CD set as any ever issued, allowing us to enjoy and learn from a really important musical heritage that continues to reverberate throughout so much music today.” – Shindig!

★★★★ “It’s a compelling collection, including Davy Graham’s ‘Anji’, a seminal piece of ’60s folk that started off the ‘blues baroque’ style, plus the heavenly voices of women like Shirley Collins and June Tabor.” – Your Choice

“This is seventy years of the Topic Records’ catalogue on iPod shuffle! To celebrate their seventieth anniversary, Topic has produced a lavish – there’s no other word for it – publication. Not only do you get seven CDs’ worth of superb recordings, but there’s also a 108-page book – full colour, with a host of archival photographs, history of the label, pen portraits of the key players in the label’s history and more besides.” – English Dance & Song


“I’ve been buying and scrounging Topic records since 1954. It feels like Topic has always been there, quietly doing good work. Like a backbone.” – John Peel (DJ – 1999)

“Congratulations to Topic on its 70th anniversary.” – Sir George Martin CBE (Producer – 2009)

“I don’t know how the British musical landscape would have looked without Topic being there all those years. A vital component of British culture.” – Richard Thompson (Singer & Guitarist – 2009)

“If it came to pass that Rough Trade would end up as part of the tradition started by the father of them all, the great Topic Records, I would be very proud. I am referring to the tradition of great independent labels. Topic has always been an inspiration to me and its roots and riches grow more precious as the years go by. Congratulations on your 70th.” – Geoff Travis (MD, Rough Trade – 2009)

“70 years! Topic records might be the greatest recording institution in the history of British music. They make most so called indie labels look pretty corporate to be sure. Their consistency, musical purity  and genuine independence is second to none and they deserve to be celebrated properly.” – Laurence Bell (MD, Domino Records – 2009)

“Topic Records has always been an inspiration. It’s a wonderful thing that this very musical, daring and uncompromising institution is with us and thriving. Wishing Topic many happy birthdays to come.” – Nick Gold (MD, World Circuit – 2009)

“Pundits in the mainstream music business use terms like ‘independent’, ‘left field’ and ‘edgy’ as if such concepts have only recently been invented, but Topic have been all those things since before the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll. In their loving hands, the deepest roots of our musical traditions have survived, thrived and evolved into inspiring new forms that their founders could scarcely have imagined” – Ian Anderson (Editor, fRoots Magazine – 2009)

“I always think that while we still have The Archers, Test Match Special and Topic Records, we still have hope. Topic is a guardian angel of the best bits of our musical roots – and the arrival of a new CD from them is a portent of something real and special. The fact that Topic has been doing what it does for 70 years makes the label nothing short of a phenomenon” – Colin Irwin (Music Journalist – 2009)

“PPL is proud to represent Topic records and the extraordinary repertoire that they have released in their distinguished history. This important and influential company has done a wonderful job nurturing and developing performers whose recorded music will continue to leave a long-lasting contribution and legacy to the culture of this country.” – Jonathan Morrish (Director of PR & Corporate Communications, PPL – 2009)

“Imagine if Topic’s music had never been recorded. What a strong influence it has had, what an echo of authentic voices over the years. Long may it last.” – Polly Toynbee (The Guardian – 2009)

“Topic Records has been a constant feature of the folk, world and all things interesting in music for as long as I can remember. A huge achievement. Happy  Birthday!” – Alison Wenham (Chairman and CEO, Association of  Independent Music  – 2009)

“Topic Records has preserved and promoted the singing voice of working Britain. It is also a charmingly idiosyncratic label. One of its most significant LPs, The Iron Muse, was issued in America by my company, Elektra, in 1964. I thought it an enormously valuable song portrait of the industrial revolution and so appropriate on Topic! Every Topic release has something interesting to offer if you meet the music half way. At 70 they’re just getting their second wind.”-  Jac Holzman (Founder, Elektra Records/Senior Advisor to the Chairman, Warner Music Group – 2009)


2 Responses to “Press and Media”

  1. 1 Alistair Banfield 25 July, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    Well this has been long awaited by me and many others. A retrospective on the life of a wonderful institution. Who better to take an overview and select essential tracks from the back catalogue than David Suff? He has been creating discographies and family trees for as long as I can remember. I was a subscriber from the early days of Hokey Pokey (Richard Thompson’s fanzine), this was a co-production with David Suff and a couple of others. At the same time I became fascinated by the Topic label and began harrassing the MD for work. I also began researching the history of the label and collecting the back catalogue. Instead of working in the industry I ended up working as a teacher but Topic Records has always been a hobby in the background. I was pleased to play a small part in helping with this release. Long live Topic Records!

    • 2 Mike Dinsmore 16 October, 2009 at 4:15 AM

      Hi, Alistair,

      Hoping you’re the same Alistair Banfield who resided at Cramptons Road in Sevenoaks. I sent replacement record jackets for the ones which were ruined in the post, but my package came back with a GPO notice stating that you’d “gone away”. If you can e-mail me with your new address, I’ll send them out again.

      Mike Dinsmore

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Some of Topic’s finest albums

A bunch of Topic Record covers

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