“The cast is remarkable. Seek it out” Guardian
“(Shirley Inspired) preserves these songs for future generations...It's the great triumph of this collection, one that goes beyond whether it hangs together as a body of work.” Quietus
“Fresh accents open up the material in intriguing ways…and through heartfelt performances such as these they continue to live” The Wire
"There are these unique voices, these unique songs that would not have survived if it were not for Shirley... she has kept that entire tradition alive." - Alan Moore
July 2015 will see Shirley Collins celebrate her 80th year - an age that would seem frankly ridiculous for a woman as spritely as her, had it not been for all she's achieved. From her seminal field-recording trip to America to her lauded musical career; from her role as historian and protector of the folk tradition, to the very fact that this record can exist - more than half a century after her career began - all of these things are testament to the breadth of her influence. And so we arrive at 'Shirley Inspired'.
It would be almost lazy to the talk about the resurgence of folk music or the 'new folk' sound - the recordings found here are so much more than that. This is the very essence of folk - songs handed down from person to person, interpreted by modern musicians - as a way of keeping these songs alive.
Originally released on deluxe 3L gatefold, this CD versions enjoys 12 more stunning interpretations, including contributions from Paul Armfield, Jack Sharp (Wolf People), Rob St. John and Elle Osborne. Make no mistake these are modern versions; we've the soulful dirge of Bitchin Bonnie Billy Bajas' 'Pretty Saro'; the rabble-rousing minimalism of Stewart Lee (yes him) and Stuart Estell's 'Polly On The Shore'; the prism-like vocals of Ela Stiles' 'Murder of Maria Marten'... even Graham Coxon's traditional affair evokes something altogether more rebellious, his clawing, feral style is much in evidence here.
This compilation was an inheritance of sorts: borne to us from the kickstarter appeal that funded 'The Ballad of Shirley Collins' - a film that is currently being made about the First Lady of Folk Music's life. We here at Earth now have the privilege of giving these songs a tangible existence in the shape of this special recording.
The woman herself had this to say: "I've been overwhelmed by the generosity of the singers and musicians who responded to the invitation to be part of the Shirley Inspired collection. Their choice of songs is fascinating, the interpretations of them fresh and various, beautiful and sometimes challenging! Listening to these recreations shows me again that English folk music has timeless power and significance." Proceeds of this album go directly towards the production of 'The Ballad of Shirley Collins', a film by Fifth Column. Tracks kindly donated by the musicians involved.
1. Bitchin Bonnie Billy Bajas - Pretty Saro
2. Trembling Bells - Richie's Story
3. Stewart Lee & Stuart Estell - Polly On The Shore
4. Johnny Flynn – Rambleaway
5. Lee Ranaldo - The Plains Of Waterloo
6. Alasdair Roberts and David McGuinness - A Blacksmith Courted Me
7. Graham Coxon - Cruel Mother
8. Meg Baird - Locks And Bolts
9. Angel Olsen - The Blacksmith
10. Ela Stiles - The Murder Of Maria Marten
11. Stuart Estell - Just As The Tide Was Flowing
12. Bonnie Dobson and The Lords of Thyme - Hares On The Mountain
13. Rachael Dadd - Polly Vaughan
14. Josephine Foster - Love Is Pleasing
15. The Owl Service and Laura Cannell - Edi Beo
16. Jackie Oates - Banks Of The Bann.
1. Crying Lion - Shepherd's Arise
2. Ned Oldham - The Blacksmith
3. Ulver - Poor Murdered Woman
4. Sally Timms With The Mini Mekons - Go From My Window
5. Chris Joynes - It Was Pleasant and Delightful
6. Sharron Kraus - Gilderoy (Heart's Delight)
7. Joe Murphy - Adieu To All Judges And Juries
8. Slate Islands - Proud Maisrie
9. Sophie Williams – Charlie
10. Rozi Plain - Long Years Ago
11. Paul Smith – Geordie
12. Olivia Chaney - Oxford Girl
13. Orlando and Tom Furse - My False True Love
14. Barbarossa - Dearest Dear
15. Belbury Poly - Cambridgeshire May Carol
16. Eric Chenaux - Just As The Tide Was Flowing
17. Tunng and Farao - Never Again
18. Findlay Brown - Sweet England..
1. Jack Sharp - Adieu To Old England
2. Miz Stefani - My Bonnie Boy
3. Marco Pirroni & Jen Vix - Turpin Hero
4. Rosemary Lippard - The Unquiet Grave
5. Sam Gleaves - Greenwood Laddie
6. Elle Osborne - The Murder Of Allen Bain
7. Ruby - Bad Girl
8. Rob St. John - The Bold Fisherman
9. MV & EE - T Devil
10. Susan Stenger - Barbara Allen / Idumea
11. Paul Armfield - Adieu To Old England