They now began to collaborate with one another, generally fine-tuning those songs which they had originally written on their own. On occasion, however, as with the classic song The Scarecrow, the song would emerge from the trading of ideas and verses between them.
They both remained unsure, however, about the quality of the work that they were producing. After Lal had played some of Album) songs to him, he was so enthused that he insisted that they should be recorded as soon as was practically possible.
He then gathered some of the best folk musicians in England these included the great Richard Thompson on guitar, Ashley Hutchings on bass and Dave Mattacks on drums in order to do so. The album which eventually emerged from these sessions proved to be one of the greatest records of the English Folk Revival. The album was also distinctive for its combination of influences, on the one hand from the folk tradition, with which The Watersons were primarily Album), and, on the other, from contemporary songwriters like Richard Thompson, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and, perhaps most especially and surprisingly, Midnight Feast - Lal Waterson & Oliver Knight - Once In A Blue Moon (CD, The Beatles.
They are of such a consistently high standard that it was very difficult to choose between them for this toppermost. In the end, however, my choice was based on selecting those tracks which gave a good representation of the qualities of the album as a whole. Like many of her songs, there is a mysterious, dream-like quality to the lyric, which does Midnight Feast - Lal Waterson & Oliver Knight - Once In A Blue Moon (CD lend itself to any simple or straightforward explanation.
My next choice, Child Among The Weedswas written in response to the stillbirth of the twin sister of her son, Oliver. It is a devastatingly haunting song, made even more so by the remarkable high part sung by the great English folk singer, Bob Davenport. It also features one of the best images for being completely plastered that I have come across:. At the time it was released, however, this superb record did not achieve the commercial success that its quality deserved.
Indeed, having signed an agreement that they would not receive any royalties unless the record sold over two thousand copies, Mike and Lal were left in a position where they received virtually no financial reward from the album at all. To compound a bad situation, the later release of the album in CD format was very poorly handled and the sound quality on it was of a very inferior quality.
The commercial failure of the album also meant that these two fine songwriters were not really given the chance to further explore the new avenues in English folk-influenced songwriting which they had opened up.
Indeed, soon afterwards, they were to resume their folk music careers, re-joining the reformed Watersons, in which Martin Carthy eventually became the permanent replacement for the departed John Harrison. My next two selections here are from the fine album, A True Hearted Girlwhich Lal made with her sister, Norma, in This album clearly displayed the fact that neither had lost any of their supreme skills as interpreters of folk songs.
It also caught two magnificent singers at the peak of their powers. Although the album is mainly made up of duets between the two sisters, it also includes a small number of solo performances by both.
Indeed, there was nothing rarefied about their singing style but, rather, they were both brilliant examples of singers who treated folk songs as part of a living tradition. The commercial failure of Bright Phoebus also meant that, sadly, it was not until late in her life that Lal returned to recording her own songs. She did this in collaboration with her son, Oliver Knight, who is a very fine guitarist and arranger in his own right.
Memories from A Bed Of Roses is a beautifully elegiac song and one that serves as a fitting finale to the Midnight Feast - Lal Waterson & Oliver Knight - Once In A Blue Moon (CD of this superb artist, who had never really received the recognition she deserved in her lifetime.
However, in the years since Lal died ininterest in her work has seemed to increase at a remarkable rate.
Along with the book, there was also a CD which included demo versions of many of her best known songs. Many of these had a beautifully raw and unvarnished quality to them which made them, in some instances, more effective than the already released versions. It is for this reason Album) I have included the great version of To Make You Stay from this collection rather than the one which was included on Bright Phoebus as good as that rendition of the song is.
To sum up, then, Lal Waterson was a very special artist indeed and, in my opinion, ranks among the handful of great songwriters who emerged from the English Folk Revival of the s and s. In recent and relatively recent times, there has been an ever growing number of excellent cover versions of her songs. I have chosen ten here. Note: For those interested in finding out more about the genesis of Bright Phoebus there is an excellent radio documentary about it available in two parts, first part here.
Lal Waterson — Old drooling moon is shining down on us At the end of the street. Damned if I do my love, damned if I don't my sweet. Dare I declare this morning's love turned evening deep. Well we went down the road, got soaked in moonlight, Hedged in roses on either side. And all was in our ears was the sound of the ocean, All was in the distance was an indigo sky.
Come away with me, or leave me. Come nearer me or go away. Just the sound of your breathing, Come a feeling worth feeling. Come a summer's evening at the close of day.
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