I think it's fair to say that Shirley Collins has been my favourite musical discovery of the last ten years. Her music seems to have followed me around in recent years and, like all good music, always seems relevant to my life on lots of different levels.
After spending two years in late-50s America making field recordings with Alan Lomax, Shirley returned to England, where she started recording traditional English and American folk songs. There's a tragic melancholy to these songs, sung with such a beautiful, unaffected voice. The songs sound like haunted reminders of a time now long gone.
Hearing Shirley's music was a revelation to me, having grown up listening to American-influenced rock for the most part, and taught me that it is most definitely possible to have an honest and authentic British voice in music without being self-conscious about it (something unspoken that the majority of British artists would not admit to).
It's my birthday, so I wanted to share this mix with you as my birthday gift. Orphan of the Storm is a collection of my favourite Shirley Collins songs. You can download it HERE