Cruel Sister (Rachel Unthank and the Winterset album)

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Cruel Sister
Studio album by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset
Released 11 May 2005 (UK)
Genre Folk
Label Rabble Rouser
Producer Adrian McNally
Rachel Unthank and the Winterset chronology
Cruel Sister (2007) The Bairns (2007)

Cruel Sister, the first album by English folk group Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (later to become The Unthanks) was released on 11 May 2005[1] and launched at Holmfirth Folk Festival.[1][2] It received support from a number of DJs on BBC Radio 2 and was subsequently awarded Folk Album of the Year by MOJO magazine.[3]

"Cruel Sister", the song which provides the title for the album, is a traditional ballad (known in some versions as "The Twa Sisters)". It tells the story of the violent rivalry between two sisters for the love of a knight. One of the sisters murders her sibling, whose bones and hair are turned into a harp by a passing musician.[4]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "On a Monday Morning" (Cyril Tawney, arranged by Rachel and Becky Unthank/Belinda O'Hooley)
  2. "January Man" (Dave Goulder, arranged by Rachel Unthank)
  3. "Fair Rosamund" (Traditional, arranged by Rachel Unthank/Belinda O'Hooley)
  4. "Cruel Sister" (Traditional, arranged by Rachel Unthank)
  5. "Rap Her to Bank" (Traditional, arranged by Becky Unthank)
  6. "Raven Girl" (Unknown/Ester Watson)
  7. "Twenty Long Weeks" (Alex Glasgow, arranged by Rachel and Becky Unthank/Belinda O'Hooley)
  8. "The Fair Flower of Northumberland" (Roud 25, Child 9), (Traditional, arranged by Rachel Unthank)
  9. "The Greatham Calling on Song" (Traditional, arranged by Rachel and Becky Unthank)
  10. "Riverman" (Nick Drake, published by Island, arranged by Rachel and Becky Unthank)
  11. "Bonny at Morn" (Traditional, arranged by Rachel Unthank)
  12. "John Dead" (Traditional, arranged by Rachel and Becky Unthank)
  13. "Troubled Waters" (Matt McGinn, arranged by Rachel and Becky Unthank)


Rachel Unthank and the Winterset
Additional musicians
  • Ben Green – voice
  • Bryony Griffith – fiddle
  • Kevin Hall – voice
  • Will Hampson – melodeon
  • Beth Hardy – voice
  • Mike Hockenhull  – banjo
  • David Kotsky  – guitar
  • Adrian McNally  – guitar, voice
  • Colin Mather – voice
  • Rosie Morton  – clarsach
  • Brian Pearce – voice
  • Chris Sherburn  – concertina
  • Julian Sutton – melodeon
  • George Unthank – voice
  • Mat Unthank – voice
  • Pat Unthank – voice
  • John Winton – voice


The album was produced and recorded by Adrian McNally and mixed and mastered at Panda Studios. The sound engineer was Oliver Knight.[1]

Album cover[edit]

The album cover, which was illustrated by Becky Unthank, incorporated photographs by Stephen Redfearn and Adrian McNally.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Zierke, Reinhard. "Rachel Unthank & The Winterset: Cruel Sister". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Unthanks Biography". 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Bennett, Ross (3 April 2008). "The MOJO Club: Rachel Unthank & The Winterset!". MOJO magazine. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Culshaw, Peter (17 April 2008). "Rachel Unthank: swapping clogs for high heels". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 

External links[edit]