Friday, April 11, 2008

Shirley & Dolly Collins: Love, Death & The Lady

In these last days I have tried to dig into british (and irish) folk music. I've been a Fairport Convention/Sandy Denny/Richard Thompson for a long time and I've decided to search for more (and then comes to mind a great song by the Who, The seeker, with its character -the seeker, of course- who is alway looking for another band, for more music), when I accidentally stumbled into a little italian manual on that. That's how I discovered Shirley Collins. Her first release dates back to 1955 (a compilation called "Folksong Today"), and then her carreer flourished, also thanks to the collaboration with her sister Dolly, that went on until 1995 when she passed away.
In order to be clear: in Shirley Collins rock is sometimes present (she also was -Fairport Convention/Albion Band man- Ashley Hutchings' wife) but what is always close to her heart is folk. Be it british or american (as a young woman she travelled trough the USA to study american folk roots, and later on she worked with Alan Lomax, who produced her second LP).
I can't say I'm no expert on Collins, yet "Love, death and the lady" struck me, it actually almost hit me like a truck: her voice may not be as beautiful as Denny's (it sure isn't), but how it cuts into my brain, into my heart...there is so much gloom in "Love, death...", much pain, and lots and lots of dark ballads (wouldn't Nick Cave like them? I guess he would). And there are no fillers (we're talking 13 songs plus 4 bonus tracks here).
Take a good breath and jump.

Some may know Shirley Collins through Decemberists' Colin Meloy's fine "Colin sings Shirley Collins EP".

For more on Shirley Collins check out Wiki.

Love, Death & The Lady


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I`m an old bastard and remember Shirley Collins well. I agree about not having the voice of Sandy, but Sandy was unique (and to me, a godess).

Russ said...

Thank You for this wonderful music, I love calling in on your blog,great comments and taste! more please.

Anonymous said...

Really inspired stuff. Thanks!