Mighty River of Song

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Now this is a box set. The Watersons are the true first family of Great Britain when it comes to traditional Celtic folk music. This four-CD, one-DVD deluxe package is a grand overview of the various Waterson incarnations over a couple of generations. The box traces the careers of Lal, Mike, and Norma Waterson through their earliest groups, like the Folksons with Pete Ogley and John Harrison in 1964. "Blood Red Roses," is a performance from a live gig, and was previously unreleased. It is true that it's only a fragment of the song, but it does offer, even if just a snippet, a view of the entire Waterson universe as it was contained even then. The sound of straining at the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Now this is a box set. The Watersons are the true first family of Great Britain when it comes to traditional Celtic folk music. This four-CD, one-DVD deluxe package is a grand overview of the various Waterson incarnations over a couple of generations. The box traces the careers of Lal, Mike, and Norma Waterson through their earliest groups, like the Folksons with Pete Ogley and John Harrison in 1964. "Blood Red Roses," is a performance from a live gig, and was previously unreleased. It is true that it's only a fragment of the song, but it does offer, even if just a snippet, a view of the entire Waterson universe as it was contained even then. The sound of straining at the margins is everywhere evident. Tracks from the Folk Songs of Britain: Songs of Courtship LP from 1965 and long out of print is here, as well as cuts from the Early Days and Frost and Fire albums also from that year, and Folk Union One from 1966. There are also cuts from Yorkshire Garland -- also out of print, and the TV documentary Traveling for a Living the video of which is included in its entirety on the enclosed DVD. If anything, this single DVD is a startling overview of the range and ambition of the Watersons from the outset: there were no boundaries to the song collecting antics of Mike Waterson and John Harrison, and it is reflected in the wildly diverse traditional and obscuro offerings on this disc. Disc Two commences in 1974 with the first appearance of Norma's husband, the inimitable guitarist and vocalist Martin Carthy as a member of the Watersons, thus marking the group's most well-known lineup. There are several previously unissued gems here, too, including gorgeous readings of the "Pace-Egging Song," "Boston Harbour," and "Sweet William." Other cuts are taken from the classic For Pence & Spicey Ale, and Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy, and solo outings by Norma and Lal with Maria Gilhooley on True Hearted Girl, and solo offerings from Mike, as well. There is a plethora of unreleased live tracks here to round it all out. Disc Three boasts a wealth of live unissued tracks, though there are cuts from the reunion efforts Green Fields and Sounds of Yorkshire. In addition, there are previously unavailable solo cuts by Mike and Carthy, as well as an appearance by the group on Peter Bellamy's Both Sides Then outing. Finally, the last slab in this package turns its gaze on the final Hard Cash album, in addition to numerous festival, concert hall, and radio program visits by the group and individual members, and moves into more current territory with Norma's fine solo albums, the addition of Carthy and Norma's daughter, Eliza Carthy, to the group, and the formation of Waterson: Carthy and Blue Murder, which features all of the Watersons, as well as Lester Simpson. There are a number of solo cuts as well from Lal's beautiful duet with Maria Gilhooley on Ewan MacColl's "Just A Note," and Eliza's stunning "Stumbling On." In all, this box is almost too much of a good thing. It is wonderfully packaged with a fantastic set of liners by compilation producer and compiler David Suff, as well as a kind of oral biography not only told by the Watersons themselves, but by friends, family, and peers including Louis Killen, Christy Moore, Peggy Seeger, George Frasmpton, Bellamy, Anne Briggs, and others. There is also a poster that includes a complete discography, and the DVD transfer is brilliant. This is essential listening for any fan of British folk music, and the Holy Grail for the Watersons' fans. Along with the Shirley Collins box set, this is one of the greatest cultural artifacts of the last 50 years to come from the world of traditional music.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/17/2004
  • Label: Topic Records
  • UPC: 714822400220
  • Catalog Number: 4002

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Here We Come A-Wassailing (1:28)
  2. 2 Blood Red Roses (2:22)
  3. 3 Let the Bulgine Run (2:41)
  4. 4 The Plough Boy (3:16)
  5. 5 Holbeck Moor Cock Fight (1:39)
  6. 6 The Greenland Whale Fishery (2:36)
  7. 7 The Derby Ram (2:36)
  8. 8 Hal-An-Tow (2:07)
  9. 9 John Barleycorn (3:21)
  10. 10 The Barley and the Rye (1:25)
  11. 11 The Thirty-Foot Trailer (3:31)
  12. 12 I Am a Rover (5:02)
  13. 13 Rap Her to Bank (1:42)
  14. 14 Three Score and Ten (3:49)
  15. 15 The Jolly Waggoners (2:57)
  16. 16 Twanky-Dillo (3:42)
  17. 17 The Whitby Lad (3:17)
  18. 18 The Morning Looks Charming (2:06)
  19. 19 Willy Went to Westerdale (1:58)
  20. 20 The White Cockade (3:39)
  21. 21 Stow Brow (3:26)
  22. 22 The Bird - Mike Waterson (2:27)
  23. 23 Red Wine Promises - Mike Waterson (3:04)
  24. 24 Song for Thirza - Mike Waterson (4:23)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Pace-Egging Song (3:58)
  2. 2 Boston Harbour (1:56)
  3. 3 Sweet William (3:43)
  4. 4 Souling Song (4:20)
  5. 5 Barney - Norma Waterson (3:02)
  6. 6 Three Day Millionaire - Mike Waterson (1:38)
  7. 7 The Good Old Way (3:30)
  8. 8 The Light Dragoon (3:07)
  9. 9 Jenny Storm - Maria Gilhooley (2:29)
  10. 10 Tam Lyn - Mike Waterson (10:59)
  11. 11 Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy (4:31)
  12. 12 Heavenly Aeroplane (2:24)
  13. 13 Emmanuel (2:48)
  14. 14 Swansea Town - Mike Waterson (4:26)
  15. 15 The Unfortunate Lass - Norma Waterson (4:29)
  16. 16 The Welcome Sailor - Lal Waterson (3:18)
  17. 17 Young Billy Brown - Norma Waterson (2:25)
  18. 18 The Khaki and the Blue (3:18)
  19. 19 The Whitby Lad (3:14)
  20. 20 The Black and Bitter Night - Mike Waterson (7:16)
Disc 3
  1. 1 The Prickle Holly Bush (4:09)
  2. 2 When I Die - Peter Bellamy (2:46)
  3. 3 I Went to Market (3:35)
  4. 4 The Furze Field - Mike Waterson (3:14)
  5. 5 The King's Song (1:26)
  6. 6 Swarthfell Rocks (5:01)
  7. 7 Meeting Is a Pleasure - Norma Waterson (2:23)
  8. 8 Doing a Bit - Mike Waterson (2:30)
  9. 9 Young Banker (3:11)
  10. 10 Chickens in the Garden (2:37)
  11. 11 A Stitch in Time - Martin Carthy (2:37)
  12. 12 All I Have Is My Own - Mike Waterson (2:22)
  13. 13 Brave General Wolfe (4:46)
  14. 14 May Song - Norma Waterson (2:18)
  15. 15 Harvest Home (2:22)
  16. 16 Gower Wassail (3:22)
  17. 17 Rumpsy Bumpsy Toralee (Tumbled and Cut Me Bum) - Mike Waterson (2:35)
  18. 18 John Ball (3:24)
  19. 19 A Stur Mo Chroi (3:56)
  20. 20 Stormy Winds (3:17)
  21. 21 Mole in a Hole - Blue Murder (4:37)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Hilda's Cabinet Band (2:19)
  2. 2 The Rambling Irish Man - Mike Waterson (4:34)
  3. 3 There Are No Lights on Our Christmas Tree (3:51)
  4. 4 Coal Not Dole - Norma Waterson (3:04)
  5. 5 The White Cockade (3:34)
  6. 6 Cob A-Coaling (2:00)
  7. 7 T Stands for Thomas - Waterson:Carthy (3:54)
  8. 8 I Bid You Goodnight - Blue Murder (3:13)
  9. 9 McIlroy the Emerald Cowboy - Mike Waterson (4:25)
  10. 10 Jack Frost - Mike Waterson (2:27)
  11. 11 Pleasure and Pain - Waterson:Carthy (5:12)
  12. 12 Stars in My Crown - Waterson:Carthy (3:03)
  13. 13 Flowers of Knaresborough Forest - Waterson:Carthy (5:33)
  14. 14 Ain't No Man Worth the Salt of My Tears - Norma Waterson (2:00)
  15. 15 Black Muddy River - Waterson:Carthy (4:06)
  16. 16 Just a Note - Maria Gilhooley (1:48)
  17. 17 Earth - Norma Waterson (3:05)
  18. 18 Stumbling On - Eliza Carthy (3:38)
  19. 19 Poor Boney - Norma Waterson (3:43)
  20. 20 Bright Phoebus - Blue Murder (2:53)
  21. 21 A Sweet Lullaby - Maria Gilhooley (5:18)
Disc 5
  1. 1 Travelling for a Living
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Watersons Primary Artist
Peter Bellamy Vocals
Martin Carthy Guitar, Vocals
Dave Swarbrick Fiddle
Rod Stradling Vocals
Jim Boyes Banjo, Vocals
Dave Brady Vocals
Heather Brady Vocals
Oliver Brookes Cello
Tony Engle Saxophone
Steafan Hannigan Banjo, Pipe
Bill Leader Drums
Alan Lumsden Serpent
John Tams Cymbals, Mouth Organ
Lal Waterson Vocals
Mike Waterson Guitar, Vocals
Royston Wood Vocals
Chris Parkinson Piano
Eliza Carthy Fiddle, Vocals
Ralph Jordan Bouzouki
Norma Waterson Vocals
Nancy Kerr Fiddle, Vocals
Barry Coope Piano, Vocals
Barnaby Stradling Percussion, Electric Bass
Alex West Tuba
Saul Rose Vocals, Melodeon
Jim Eldon Vocals
Oliver Knight Guitar, Electric Guitar
Rachel Waterson Vocals
Lester Simpson Vocals
Maria Gilhooley Vocals
Sam Thomas Percussion, Drums
Martin Green Piano
Technical Credits
Peter Bellamy Arranger, Composer, Producer
Martin Carthy Arranger
Ewan MacColl Composer
The Watersons Arranger
Jerry Garcia Composer
John Gill Engineer
Robert Hunter Composer
Paul Adams Engineer
Cyril Tawney Composer
Les Barker Composer
Jim Boyes Producer, Engineer
Dolly Collins Orchestral Arrangements
Tony Engle Producer
Stewart Field Engineer
Peter Filleul Producer
Edward Haber Engineer
Ben Harper Composer
Nic Kinsey Engineer
Bill Leader Producer, Engineer
Rod Skeaping Director
John Tams Producer
Lal Waterson Arranger, Composer, Producer
Mike Waterson Arranger, Composer
Roy Guest Producer
Norma Waterson Arranger
Ray Williams Engineer
John Haxby Art Direction, Photo Tinting
Dave Ward Engineer
Fred Fisher Composer
Kay Sutcliffe Composer
David Suff Producer, Compilation Research
Dusty Thompto Engineer
Peter Cutler Engineer
Ian Russell Engineer
Traditional Composer
Dave Kenny Engineer
Oliver Knight Composer, Producer, Engineer
Niall Macauley Producer
Sydney Carter Composer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Box Set... but DVD not coded for US region

    This is an excellent collection of music from the Watersons, together and separately, over the entire course of their career, but beware: although it's not indicated in the description, the DVD included with this imported set is not coded for the US region and will not play on most American DVD players. As I found out the hard way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews