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.