Song of the Day, January 29: Nottamun Town by Shirley Collins and Davy Graham

CollinsGrahamFRNRToday’s song is a smart fusion of folk and jazz. Shirley Collins has an amazing, unadorned voice and a passion for traditional music. She also has a fondness for collaboration, working with a diverse array of musicians throughout her career. One of her early adventures found her paired with jazz guitarist Davy Graham. Their album Folk Roots, New Routes fuses their talents in surprising, effective ways. The standout track is the traditional song Nottamun Town.

Collins learned the song when she was collecting music in Appalachia in her early 20s. When master American song collector Jean Ritchie visited England, she spent some time with Collins and reignited the singer’s interest in the song. It’s an old tune [Roud 1044] that uses the device of riddles to explore magical themes, all in a narrative that seems nonsensical. Collins and Graham invest it with just the right majesty, creating the finest version of a much-rendered folk classic.

Enjoy this mysterious song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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