ALBUM REVIEW: Shirley Collins – Heart’s Ease | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 24.07.20







Heart’s Ease is Shirley Collins’ second album on Domino. 2016’s Lodestar marking a return to music after an absence of nearly 40 years (a painful divorce saw her confidence enormously damaged) in which she worked, among other things, in job centers and the British Library. Now at 84, Collins’ Indian Summer renaissance is something that can be appreciated in and of itself, and it’s a wonderful thing to see.

She remains one of Britain’s finest interpreters of folk music. Wondrous Love’s tune comes from an 18th Century English ballad about the infamous sea captain William Kidd who was hanged for piracy in 1701. Collins first heard the hymn at a Sacred Harp Convention in Alabama (Collins and Alan Lomax recorded it on their field recording trip in 1959). Shirley has decided to sing it now, she said, “because songs are stored in my memory for a great many years, and suddenly it seems the right time to bring them out again.” There is something of an irony to her working for the British Library, as Collins is as valuable an archive as the library itself, but as much as there are wonderful interpretations of tradition songs, it also contains more original compositions than Lodestar. A gorgeous set of compositions to bathe in.


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