Twenty Essential Albums for Me Today

There have been a lot of people on Facebook recently sharing albums that shaped them when they were teenagers, which is quite interesting. I thought I’d also like to share my current ‘Top Twenty’ – in alphabetical order by artist surname, with the proviso that I will not let myself pick more than one album per artist. These albums are by the artists I currently play the most and consider essential to my musical well-being and inspiration.

  1. Nicola Benedetti: ‘Vaughan Williams/Taverner’
  2. Billy Bragg: ‘Tooth and Nail’
  3. Anne Briggs: ‘A Collection’
  4. Matthew Byrne: ‘Hearts and Heroes’
  5. Martin Carthy: ‘Martin Carthy’
  6. Bruce Cockburn: ‘Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws’
  7. Maria Dunn: ‘Gathering’
  8. James Findlay, Bella Hardy, Brian Peters & Lucy Ward: ‘The Liberty to Choose: A Selection of Songs from the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs’
  9. Genticorum: ‘La Bibournoise’
  10. Nic Jones: ‘Penguin Eggs’
  11. Choir of King’s College Cambridge/Philip Ledger: ‘Orlando Gibbons: Tudor Church Music’
  12. Mark Knopfler: ‘The Ragpicker’s Dream’
  13. London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis: ‘Handel’s Messiah’
  14. Maddy Prior: ‘Seven for Old England’
  15. Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson: ‘At Folk City’
  16. Red Tail Ring: ‘Mountain Shout’
  17. Stan Rogers: ‘Northwest Passage’
  18. Kate Rusby: ‘Ten’
  19. Martin Simpson: ‘Kind Letters’
  20. Sting: ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’

Anyone else like to share their top twenty?

An early version of Kate Rusby’s take on ‘The Recruited Collier’

Live recording from 1996; similar to, but not exactly the same as, the version she eventually recorded on ’10’.

Kate Rusby website

Interesting background information about the history of the song (including the controversy about just how heavily Bert Lloyd ‘edited’ it) is found here. Note my take on this subject here.

 

Kate Rusby: The Blind Harper

The oldest version of ‘The Blind Harper’ in Francis Childs’ ‘The English and Scottish Popular Ballads’ dates back to 1791, but there are undoubtedly older versions. Nic Jones recorded his version on his 1978 album ‘From the Devil to a Stranger’, and most recordings since then have been strongly influenced by his. Kate Rusby has never concealed the fact that she regards Nic Jones as her musical hero, and her version follows his pretty closely, although her musical arrangement is quite different.

Kate Rusby: ’20’

Yes! This is absolutely brilliant!

19 of the best songs Kate has recorded in her twenty year career, and one brand new one – all completely re-recorded with the help of some of the most brilliant musicians in the folk music world today, including Sarah Jarosz, Ron Block, Richard Thompson, Aoife O’Donovan (of ‘Crooked Still’), Jerry Douglas, Dick Gaughen and many others – including my hero (and Kate’s too), Nic Jones!

Get it here!