Price: £14.16 (£16.99 Including VAT at 20%)
Each volume contains 1 exclusive track not on the CD edition
Released 6th April 2018
If I hadnt heard her, Id have probably done something entirely different. June Tabor
Anne Briggs was born in Nottinghamshire in 1944 and began singing in local folk clubs in her teens. Her break came through the Centre 42 tour of 1962. This was a distinctly leftist group of artists, writers, actors and musicians whose lofty aim was to make arts and culture accessible to the masses. Local artists were invited to audition where Ewan MacColl first heard Briggs remarkable voice and persuaded her to join the tour. There Briggs met MacColls broader minded comrade A.L. Bert Lloyd who became her mentor. Briggs debut EP, The Hazards Of Love, was produced by Lloyd although Briggs never enjoyed recording and it was only though Lloyds coaxing that she contributed to his pioneering conceptual albums The Iron Muse and The Bird In The Bush. The first six, traditional, unaccompanied songs presented here are taken from these outstanding recordings made between 1963 and 1966 which display all the hallmarks of Anne Briggs artistry pure, fluid and with lawless timing.
Briggs draws almost exclusively from the classic repertoire of British folk, her performances are both pure and unusual. Briggs was one of the few singers who could hold audiences attention recalls Linda Thompson who first met her in 1965. 'She was an intense singer with the ability to transfix an audience, it was almost hypnotic. Off stage, her behaviour was like a mans, she said and did what she wanted which was very unconventional for a woman. She was wild and wonderful., Briggs uninhibited behaviour represented the spirit of folks new age. She was a bridge between the stuffy revivalist world and the contemporary set.
She had a relationship with Bert Jansch rapidly becoming the poster boy for the alternative crowd. 'Annie just came and went as she pleased,' said Jansch. 'She was pretty wild and carefree. I taught her to play guitar. Very few of the other girls played guitar; it wasnt the done thing in her circle.'Famously, Briggs taught Jansch Blackwater Side, which he then made his own on his classic 1965 debut album; the next year his pivotal traditional album Jack Orion largely comprised songs he learnt from Briggs who helped him understand the structure of folk song. Briggs and Jansch also wrote a handful of songs together. One of these, Go Your Way (My Love), was eventually recorded for her Topic album, as was her definitive treatment of Blackwater Side.
Briggs had retreated to the Scottish Highlands in 1973 and is still an elusive figure all but cut off entirely from the music industry but her influence was and still is profound on contemporaries such as Maddy Prior, Norma Waterson and Sandy Denny whose song The Pond And the Stream was about Briggs rambling life style. Anything but forgotten, shes since been discovered by the present folk generation, male and female alike. Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby, Alasdair Roberts and Riley Walker, are among many who recognise Anne Briggs as an extraordinary, inspirational voice