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English duo Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick release first album together in 14 years!

December 6, 2006

The legendary English duo of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick return with their newest collaboration—the first studio album from the duo in fourteen years called “Straws in the Wind” from Topic Records.

All their old skills are demonstrated with a new collection of traditional songs and instrumentals. Their experienced approach to their art lacks none of the fervor of their early days, and brings a maturity born of many years living with the music that is an integral part of their beings. Martin Carthy broke onto the emerging folk scene in the early 1960’s—influencing many like minded musicians with his intense and rhythmic style of guitar playing along with completely original adaptations of English folk songs. David Swarbrick may be known as one of the finest English fiddlers of all time. During the 1960’s heyday, Swarb was the hot new firebrand fiddler with the popular Ian Campbell Folk Group. Together, Carthy and Swarb recorded numerous albums during this time which have become classics in the English folk genre. At the suggestion of producer Joe Boyd, Swarbrick joined folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention to complete the all too important “Liege and Lief” record in 1969. Dave was a Fairport mainstay for close to ten years. Martin Carthy decided to get electric too as he joined Steeleye Span—one of the most poplar bands in the English folk-rock category. Carthy has been a hero to the English folk genre and has twice won the Folk Singer of the Year award by the BBC. Carthy and Swarbrick came together again in the early 1990’s with two albums “Life & Limb” and “Skin & Bone.” There followed a period of ill health for Swarbrick with a celebrated moment in 1999 when the Daily Telegraph ran a very premature obituary while Dave was ill in the hospital. With his usual good humor, Dave retorted, “It’s not the first time I have died in Coventry.” Luckily, Swarb made a full recovery and is back in the music which is an integral part of his life, re-joining with Carthy to record an album and tour extensively to support it. The new record “Straws in the Wind” brings Carthy and Swarbrick together again after fourteen years apart and shows no lack of creativity, power, and enlightened arrangements which made them both such legendary musicians.

Posted by Chris Boros at December 6, 2006 3:21 PM


Nice! I listened to all of the tune samples on Allmusic Guide and now I'd like to have these in my stocking, if you please!
"Straws in the Wind" is really very sweet and has, as you say, 'enlightened arrangements' and a depth which only maturity can give an artist.
Thanks for letting us all know about this great new album, Chris!

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at December 6, 2006 9:15 PM

[excited fumbling for Visa card]

Posted by: Huw Pryce at December 7, 2006 7:44 AM

I opened for these guys once back when they were touring America in the early 90s. They were great people, but the mix of their fans (cultured, intense) with my fans (rowdy, vulgar) was, in retrospect, not the best choice.

Ever since then there has been a promoter sticking pins into a little voodoo doll of me!

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at December 8, 2006 6:54 PM

My wife and I are going to see Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy at York University tonight. Saw them at the Black Swan pub in York last year- lovely small venue, only seats 40, so really friendly. The main concert hall will be very different.

We're also lucky enough to be seeing Steeleye Span next week in Bradford-where we live. And Grace Notes at the Black Swan in January. (a really good 3 piece acappella group. All 3 ladies have beautiful voices. Then Joan Baez in March.

The folk scene in Yorkshire is great!

Posted by: Chris Whitworth at December 14, 2006 4:56 AM

It sucks in London!

Posted by: Huw Pryce at December 14, 2006 10:24 AM

Chris--I am SO jealous!! Steeleye are one of my all time favs and I've only seen a few times. You are way too lucky. Hey Linda--let's move Folk Alley headquarters to England. What do ya say?

Posted by: Chris Boros at December 14, 2006 11:56 AM

I've scraped and clawed for every Martin Carthy recording I could ever find, whether with the Watersons, Steeleye Span, Albion Dance Band, Swarbrick, or solo. He is truly the greatest. Once he came to Norfolk, VA, and I was horrified when only 17 people showed up to hear him. Straws in the Wind will be a welcome addition, and my first non-vinyl recording of Carthy!

Posted by: Stephen Moore at December 15, 2006 10:04 PM

Move FA to London!

Posted by: Huw Pryce at December 18, 2006 10:32 AM

Erm... there may be a little difference in property prices etc... Maybe somewhere up North - Yorkshire might be comparable!

Posted by: Huw Pryce at December 18, 2006 10:35 AM

Waterson & Carthy were great at York! 11 artists on stage, including the 3 piece "Devils Elbow", (who are playing in January in Yorkshire- but I'm busy that night).

Was an excellent concert, with the wide range of entertainment we expect. The mummers play was great!

And Steeleye were great in Bradford. Sound was poor, but St Georges Hall is known for its bad acoustics. Pity cos its a mile from home. Maddy Prior can still knock it out, and the rest of the band can too. The Fiddle (Peter Knight) is great.

Oh well, no more live folk now for two weeks. Still, the CDs are great....

Posted by: Chris Whitworth at December 26, 2006 10:09 AM

saw steeleye in liverpools philharmonic (the hall--not the pub) and they retain the edge they always had---a great concert with some old and some new suff and some different interpretations- and yes! peter knight is a great musician.

Posted by: Michael Locke at January 2, 2007 1:05 AM

Dave Swarbrick at the British Folk Awards

"I said to Martin back in 1963; 'If we do this for long enough, they'll give us an award.' "

Posted by: Huw Pryce at February 14, 2007 4:04 PM

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