Shirley Collins On World Cafe : World Cafe The British folk icon is singing again for the first time in almost 40 years — and she certainly has stories to tell.
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Shirley Collins On World Cafe

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Shirley Collins On World Cafe

Shirley Collins On World Cafe

Shirley Collins On World Cafe

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Shirley Collins' latest album is called Lodestar. Eva Vermandel/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Eva Vermandel/Courtesy of the artist

Shirley Collins' latest album is called Lodestar.

Eva Vermandel/Courtesy of the artist

Shirley Collins has been a servant of folk songs — mostly from the U.K., some collected in her native Sussex — throughout her life. Born in 1935, she made some of the most important recordings in British folk and folk-rock through the '60s and '70s. She recorded on her own, with her sister Dolly and then with her second husband, Ashley Hutchings, in The Albion Dance Band. But nearly 40 years ago, she stopped singing, struck by dysphonia — an inability to sustain singing — while in a production at the National Theatre. (The cause, she explains, had to do with heartbreak.) She occupied her time with many other things until a little over a year ago, when she was persuaded to start singing again.

In this session, hear Collins perform once again — as usual, in service to the songs. You'll hear songs from her new album, Lodestar: some that come from the U.K. and others that had their origins in the U.S., including a Cajun song. And oh, does she have stories to tell.

Playlist

  • Dolly Collins & Shirley Collins, "Barbara Allen" (The Power Of The True Love Knot)
  • Nic Jones, "Canadee-I-O" (Penguin Eggs)
  • John Kirkpatrick, "The Wild, Wild Berry" (Make No Bones)
  • Richard & Linda Thompson, "Dimming Of The Day" (Pour Down Like Silver)
  • The Copper Family, "Spencer The Rover (Bob & Ron)" (Come Write Me Down - Early Recordings Of The Copper Family Of Rottingdean)
  • Ollie Gilbert, "Pretty Polly Oliver" (Wave The Ocean, Wave The Sea: Alan Lomax's Southern Journey 1959-1960)
  • Shirley Collins, "Pretty Polly" (Recorded live for World Cafe)
  • Mississippi Fred McDowell, "61 Highway" (Portraits: The First Recordings)
  • Shirley Collins, "Dabbling In The Dew" (Folk Song Today: Songs And Ballads Of England And Scotland)
  • The Albion Dance Band, "Merry Sherwood Rangers" (The Prospect Before Us)
  • The Albion Dance Band, "Witch Elder" (Lark Rise To Candleford: A Country Tapestry)
  • Shirley Collins, "Old Johnny Buckle" (Recorded live for World Cafe)

Episode Playlist