LOCAL FOLK LEGEND SHIRLEY COLLINS RETURNS TO BEXHILL AFTER 50 YEARS!
Sunday 6 November, 2022
Join us for a Sunday evening with Hastings-born Shirley Collins (MBE), for a very special show and a few Traditional Jack In The Green surprises…
Shirley’s love and support for the DLWP rings true as this is one of only two headline shows this year! We’re extremely proud to host a wonderful night of traditional folk, dancing and merriment with Shirley and the Traditional Jack In The Green team.
Shirley’s Lodestar Band comprise of Music Director, Ian Kearey (ex-Blue Aeroplanes and Oysterband), Pete Cooper and Dave Arthur (Rattle on the Stovepipe), Pip Barnes and of course her star dancer, Glen Redman, from Brighton Morris Men.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Shirley this week…
“This will be my second appearance at the De La Warr.
The first was well over fifty years ago! I think it was at a folk festival held there in 1965!
The poster for the event read:
The Waterson Quartets just back from their nationwide tour.
“(I think they’d just come down from Hull!)”
Shirley Collins – England ‘s versatile young instrumentalist.
(I could just about play a dozen chords on the banjo!)
Paul Simon – from Texas
(Yes! Bottom of the bill as it was most likely one of his first ever gigs in England as an unknown!)
From 1978 – 1982 I lived in Bexhill around the corner in Sea Road, just two minutes from the beach; one of our favourite evenings was sitting on the terrace drinking G&T’s and watching the sun go down and the domes glowing in the evening light.
I used to run along the sea front every morning – and one day I saw a sign outside one of the premises in front of the De La Warr that read ‘Gypsy Anita Lee – Your fortunes told, your problems solved…I went in…and I’ll tell the full story of that during the concert on November 6th!!
It was from Bexhill in 1980 that I flew to Australia to sing at The Sydney Opera House.
And the last time I visited was in 2018 to hear Richard Thompson’s wonderful concert. Before then, I’d seen the Grayson Perry exhibition in 2008 and Antony Gormley’s installation on the roof in 2010. That last one made me feel very nervous!
Lots more tales to tell about Bexhill…but I’ll save them for November 6th!”
Born in Hastings in 1935, Shirley was fascinated by folk songs as she was growing up, songs she heard on the radio or sung by her grandparents in Anderson shelters. She left home for London to immerse herself in the burgeoning folk scene; at a party held by Ewan MacColl she met Alan Lomax, and in 1959 she joined him in the USA on the renowned field trip ‘Southern Journey’, recording American folk songs and blues, a formative journey for her personally and professionally.
On her return to England, Shirley cemented her role at the forefront of the Folk Revival, recording over a dozen albums including the influential Folk Roots, New Routes with avant-garde guitarist Davy Graham, and No Roses, from which The Albion Country Band was formed. However, in the 1980s, Shirley lost her singing voice – later diagnosed as a form of dysphonia – and withdrew from performing live. It was only in 2014, after coaxing from David Tibet (Current 93), that Shirley sang in public for the first time since 1982. Since then, she has produced two acclaimed albums for Domino Records, Lodestar and Heart’s Ease and performed live at a handful of important festivals with her Lodestar Band including Celtic Connections, Brighton Festival, Green Man, Cambridge Folk Festival, Copenhagen Documentary Festival, Supersonic, as well at major venues including The Barbican, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and The Sage Gateshead.
Though Shirley Collins (MBE) was absent from the music scene for many years, her impact did not diminish, as the likes of Graham Coxon, Jonny Greenwood, Stewart Lee and Angel Olsen lauded her. A documentary The Ballad of Shirley Collins was released about her in Autumn 2017. She was given the ‘Good Tradition’ award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2008, elected President of the English Folk Dance & Song Society and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Sussex University all in the same year. Shirley released her first memoir, America Over the Water, in 2004, (re-printed by White Rabbit in 2021) and has published her autobiography, All In The Downs (2018). Heart’s Ease was released by Domino in 2019, just as the COVID lockdown started, it has been toured very little and this will be a rare chance to hear some of that material live.
Posted by sally on Thursday 13 October 2022