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The Watersons: For Pence and Spicy Ale

The Watersons: For Pence and Spicy Ale (Topic 12TS265)

For Pence and Spicy Ale
The Watersons

Topic Records 12TS265 (LP, UK, 1975)
Antilles AN 7020 (LP, USA, 1975)
Shanachie 79056 (LP, USA, 1985)
Topic Records TSCD462 (CD w/ bonus tracks, UK, 1993)

The Watersons: For Pence and Spicy Ale (Antilles AN 7020)
The Watersons: For Pence and Spicy Ale (Topic TSCD574)

Topic Records TSCD574 (CD, UK, April 28, 2008)

The Watersons: For Pence and Spicy Ale (Topic TSCD574, sleeve notes cover)

Recorded at Livingston Studios, Barnet, March 1975;
Recording engineer Nic Kinsey;
Produced by Tony Engle.

Front sleeve illustration: postcard of Molly dancers probably from Hunstanton; hand-coloured by Julia Bennett Studio, London.

The tracks on the LP were re-released on CD in 1993 with the addition of three tracks [4, 11, 16] from Mike Waterson's solo LP Mike Waterson and four tracks [6, 9, 15, 20] from Lal & Norma Waterson's duo LP A True Hearted Girl. The 2008 CD reissue has the remastered original LP tracks only.

Musicians

Mike Waterson, Lal (Elaine) Waterson, Norma Waterson, and Martin Carthy.

LP tracks

Side 1Side 2
  1. Country Life (Roud 1752) (1.58)
  2. Swarthfell Rocks (Roud 1578) - Mike, Lal, Norma (5.24)
  3. Barney (Roud 1422; Henry H7) - Lal, Norma (2.59)
  4. Swinton May Song (Roud 305) (2.17)
  5. Bellman - Mike leading (3.55)
  6. Adieu, Adieu (The Flash Lad) (Roud 490; Laws L12; G/D 2:260; Henry H691) (3.22)
  7. Apple-Tree Wassailing Song (Roud 209) (2.39)
  1. Sheepshearing (Roud 1379) (2.20)
  2. Three Day Millionaire - Mike (1.35)
  3. King Pharim (Roud 306; Child 55) (3.41)
  4. T Stands for Thomas (Roud 419) - Lal, Norma (3.42)
  5. Malpas Wassail Song (Roud 209) (4.11)
  6. Chickens in the Garden (Roud 2552) (2.29)
  7. The Good Old Way (Roud 23864) (3.26)

All tracks trad. arr. Watersons pub Mole Music Ltd except
Track 8 trad. arr. Waterson.
Track 9 Mike Waterson pub Mole Music Ltd

1993 CD tracks

  1. Country Life (Roud 1752) (1.58)
  2. Swarthfell Rocks (Roud 1578) - Mike, Lal, Norma (5.24)
  3. Barney (Roud 1422; Henry H7) - Lal, Norma (2.59)
  4. Swansea Town (Roud 1416) - Mike (4.22)
  5. Swinton May Song (Roud 305) (2.17)
  6. The Beggar Man (Roud 118; Child 279; G/D 2:274; Henry H183) - Lal, Norma (3.29)
  7. Bellman - Mike leading (3.55)
  8. Adieu, Adieu (The Flash Lad) (Roud 490; Laws L12; G/D 2:260; Henry H691) (3.22)
  9. The Welcome Sailor (Roud 604; Laws N29) - Lal, Norma (3.15)
  10. Apple Tree Wassail (Roud 209) (2.39)
  11. Seven Yellow Gypsies (Roud 1; Child 200; G/D 2:278) - Mike (4.12)
  12. Sheepshearing (Roud 1379) (2.20)
  13. Three Day Millionaire - Mike (1.35)
  14. King Pharim (Roud 306; Child 55) (3.41)
  15. The Bonny Light Horseman (Roud 1185; G/D 8:1584; Henry H122a) - Lal, Norma (1.58)
  16. Tamlyn (Roud 35; Child 39; G/D 2:330) - Mike (10.54)
  17. T Stands for Thomas (Roud 419) - Lal, Norma (3.42)
  18. Malpas Wassail (Roud 209) (4.11)
  19. Chickens in the Garden (Roud 2552) (2.29)
  20. Grace Darling (Roud 1441) - Lal, Norma (4.42)
  21. The Good Old Way (Roud 23864) (3.26)

All tracks trad. arr. Watersons except
Track 13 Mike Waterson

Producer's note by Tony Engle

In the early summer of 1975 Topic released For Pence and Spicy Ale by the Watersons. At the recording the group was at the top of their form. It had been several years since they had recorded and this new record marked their return to the British Folk Scene. Mike, Lal and Norma Waterson were three-quarters of the original group and Martin Carthy was the new member - he had replaced the original fourth member, John Harrison. The record was greeted with considerable acclaim from critics and audiences alike and is considered by many to have been the group's finest recording. Two years later the Watersons were back in the studio, but this time it was not as a group. The Watersons have always been fine individual voices in their own right so the plan was to make two records - one featuring Mike solo and a second, featuring the solo and duet talents of Lal and Norma. This didn't stop them helping out on each others' records, however. In addition Lal's daughter, Maria, also lends her voice to these recordings and the occasional accompaniments are by Jim Eldon (flute & whistle), Peta Webb (fiddle), Rod Stradling (melodeon) and Tony Engle (Anglo concertina). With this reissue the extra playing time available on CD has allowed me to mix in some of the best tracks from the solo projects with the original album. I hope that you, the listener, enjoy these recordings as much as I did making them and subsequently compiling them for this record.

-- Tony Engle, 1993

Review:

This lovely album, almost entirely a cappella, was first released by the Watersons in 1975. It is considered by many to be their finest recording and includes the participation of Martin Carthy in addition to family members. This reissue also includes some later solo Waterson recordings which feature others helping out. This record sounds like the back room of an old pub in its charming immediacy. You really get a sense of the fun it is to sing these old songs with affection and respect.

-- Richard Meyer