Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Watersons

"Frost and Fire" 1965
"A Yorkshire Garland" 1966

The Watersons were one of England's premier singing families. Their early albums played an influential role in the revival of British folk music in the 1960s. British folklorist A.L. Lloyd recalled the group's "hand-crafted harmonies, an immediately recognizable and uniquely distinctive group sound which is uninhibited, spontaneous seeming, and rich in texture," while praised their mastery of "stark melodic scales, stunning polyphonic harmonies, and outstanding song selection." The Watersons represented the combined efforts of sisters Norma (born August 15, 1939) and Elaine "Lal" Waterson (born February 15, 1943), their brother Mike (born January 6, 1941), and their second cousin, John Harrison. Natives of Hull, a large village in East Yorkshire County, the Watersons were orphaned at an early age and raised by their Irish/Gypsy grandmother, who often sang at informal sessions. The group operated a folk club, Folk Union One, in Hull, where they established their early reputation.

Initially known as the Mariners and then the Folksons, the Watersons adapted their family name before recording their debut album, Frost and Fire, which Melody Maker named as "Best Folk Album of 1965." The same year, Derrick Knight filmed the group for a video, Travelling for a Living, produced for the BBC. The original lineup recorded two more albums -- The Watersons and A Yorkshire Garland -- before the departure of Harrison, who moved to London in 1966. The Watersons disbanded two years later, with Norma going on to host a radio show in the West Indies and Lal living with an extended family on a folk commune on the Yorkshire Moors. ~ Craig Harris, All Music Guide

Buy: Frost and Fire

A Yorkshire Garland:
Ten of the fourteen tracks on this record were re-released in 1994 on the Topic CD Early Days. The Pretty Drummer Boy was re-released in 1999 on Lal & Norma Waterson's CD A True Hearted Girl. Sorry the Day I Was Married and The Yorkshire Tup were re-released in 1999 on the CD Mike Waterson. The remaining track, The Morning Looks Charming, was finally reissued in 2004 on the Watersons' 4CD anthology Mighty River of Song.


Anonymous Peter said...

Thanks -- absolutely wonderful!

07 October, 2006 14:46  
Blogger Rod... said...

... great stuff... lost these two albums years ago but the music has always stayed in my head... saw the orginal line up a couple of times and they were awesome...

07 October, 2006 17:39  
Blogger vinylhed said...

Ta very much.
I live quite near Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson. I've happened to catch them a couple of times playing in a small pub on the Yorkshire Moors. The best place to hear traditional English folk music.

07 October, 2006 21:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply fantastic close harmony.

Thank you for introducing me to this hidden gem.

10 October, 2006 01:41  
Anonymous dan-the-man said...

Thanks a lot for fullfilling my request so fast!

There's not a lot of other music that can touch me as deeply as pure folk like the Watersons sing it can (whatever pure folk might be ...). I really like these simple and honest voices with a style all of their own.

Go on like this – or however you want to!

11 October, 2006 04:06  
Blogger bilbo1742 said...

Wonderful album thank you very much !

11 October, 2006 07:21  
Anonymous Terence said...

Hull is certainly not a village, it's a city, a fat hairy one (some TV show last year named it the worst place to live in the UK). And it's not in East Yorkshire county, it's in the county of East Yorkshire (i know i'm just being pedantic now but no one in the UK says that!).

Yes I realise that wrote that biography but they won't let me moan on their website.

14 November, 2006 00:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many, many thanks for this.....

29 January, 2007 16:40  
Blogger um pônei. said...

could you please please please re-post this again?

15 January, 2008 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance of reposting these? Would be great to get them.

28 March, 2008 05:41  
Blogger Ryan Shepard said...

Any chance that you could repost "Frost and Fire"? It's now out-of-print (at least in the U.S.) and selling for $40-50. Thanks in advance :)

07 May, 2009 02:45  
Blogger Panterrorist said...

Please upload it again. If you do it i will love you endlessly.

31 August, 2010 10:55  

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