Shirley Collins – No Roses

Definitive 1971 gathering of British folk-rock elite in their absolute prime

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On her first electric album, collaborating closely with then husband Ashley Hutchings, Shirley Collins pits her quintessentially English voice against an impeccable assembly of Brit-folk musicians. Members of Fairport, Steeleye, The Watersons, The Dransfields and Nic Jones head a distinguished cast playing and acting out epic English ballads.

Although it’s far less well known, No Roses is easily the match of Fairport’s Liege & Lief (1969), with its centrepiece song, “Murder Of Maria Marten”, outstripping even Unhalfbricking’s “A Sailor’s Life” for passion and electricity. Collins is fearless, singing louder than ever required of her, but pitch perfect and drawing out every ounce of drama and emotion.

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