Love, Death and the Lady
|Love, Death and the Lady|
|Studio album by Shirley and Dolly Collins|
|Producer||Austin John Marshall|
|Shirley Collins chronology|
This is a companion-piece to Anthems in Eden (1969), but with a darker tone to it. Many of the same instrumentalists are present (Musica Reservata), but used more sparsely. The figure of Death appears as a character in the title track. "The Oxford Girl", sung unaccompanied, is about an apparently motiveless murder of a woman by her erstwhile lover. The long instrumental sections which were such a feature of the original album, are absent, apart from the start and end of "Plains of Waterloo". It is an epic track, at 8 minutes. The male chorus is present on only one track, "The Bold Fisherman". The thematic unity of the album centres on murder, class conflict and betrayal. "The Outlandish Knight" concerns a serial killer. The album was produced by Austin John Marshall, Shirley's husband at the time. Rejected love plays a part in some songs, and this echoes the fact that Shirley and Austin were on the verge of divorcing each other.
Arrangement are provided by Dolly Collins (Shirley's sister), who plays flute-organ and piano, and gives a minor key accompaniment to some songs, something which lesser singers would have found hard to sustain. It is almost as if the singer and the instrumentalists are in different worlds. On the tracks which have harpsichord accompaniment (Christopher Hogwood), the contrast lies in the intricacy of the instrumental line, compared to the straightforward vocal presentation of tragic events.
The most cheerful of all the sings is "Fair Maid of Islington", where a female cellar-keeper gets the better of a treacherous vintner. There is a laugh in her voice. It was the only one of the songs that she recorded again, once she had married Ashley Hutchings. The next time she sang it with even more of a laugh. Terry Cox, who was a member of Pentangle at this time, plays understated percussion.
The last four tracks were recorded at the original studio sessions, but were excluded by reasons of time constraints on long-paying records. They are of high standard. The album was chosen as "Folk Album of the month" by Melody Maker, and was short-listed for album of the year. Shirley comments, "It wasn't easy music to listen to, I'm surprised anybody bought any of it at all". Recorded 1970. Running time 65 minutes 21 seconds (including the bonus tracks).
All tracks Traditional
- "Death and the Lady"
- "The Oxford Girl"
- "Are You Going To Leave Me?"
- "The Outlandish Knight"
- "Go From My Window" (Traditional; arranged Collins and Wood)
- "Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime"
- "Salisbury Plain"
- "Fair Maid of Islington"
- "Six Dukes"
- "Polly on the Shore" (Traditional; arranged Collins and Wood)
- "Plains of Waterloo"
- "Sailor From Dover" (*)
- "Young John" (*) (Traditional; arranged Shirley and Dolly Collins)
- "Short Jacket and White Trousers" (*)
- "The Bold Fisherman" (*) (Traditional; arranged Bob Copper)
(* Bonus tracks not available on the original LP. They were recorded during the original studio sessions)
- Shirley Collins - vocals
- Chris Hogwood - harpsichord
- Alan Lumsden - sackbut
- Adam Skeaping - bass viol, violene
- Roderick Skeaping - bass viol
- Eleanor Sloan - rebec
- John Fordham - recorder
- Dolly Collins - flute-organ and piano
- Terry Cox - percussion
- Peter Wood - concertina
- Uncredited male chorus includes John Fordham and Royston Wood