Hey people! 🙂
Today I have a traditional English murder ballad for you. I am familiar with many different versions of it, but this one is the first that I have ever heard. Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy are mother and daughter from Yorkshire who are both very prominent English folk singers. This song comes from their first collaborative album called Gift.
Norma started her career in a group called The Watersons that she formed together with her siblings. Later, she married folk singer and guitarist Martin Carthy who also became part of the band’s line-up. Over time, the Waterson-Carthy family have become such influential musicians that they earned themselves the title of the English folk dynasty, with Norma (who passed away last year) considered its matriarch. Their daughter Eliza is also a great singer and a very skilled fiddle player.
I was introduced to the music of both women through this collaborative album, and I think this is my favourite track from it. Like this song alone, the whole album is also rather dark and sombre overall and the topic of death is quite prevalent throughout it. This ballad is also better known as the Cruel Brother.