Shirley Collins – “High And Away”

Shirley Collins – “High And Away”

The legendary Shirley Collins has recorded another album, her third following a nearly four decade absence that she emerged from in 2016. Archangel Hill was produced by Collins’ musical director Ian Kearey, and features arrangements written by the pair of them as well as Pip Barnes, Dave Arthur, and Pete Cooper.

Today, we’re getting the album’s lead single “High And Away,” whose lyrics were inspired by Collins’ 2005 book America Over The Water, republished last year with a new introduction. Pip Barnes wrote the words for “High And Away,” and he had this to share:

There is a passage in Shirley’s book ‘America Over The Water’ where she relays a conversation with the Arkansas singer Almeda Riddle in 1959. It begins: ‘She told of the tricks a tornado can play’ and goes on to give four or five examples. Whenever I heard Shirley read this, I would note that alliterative and rhythmic first line of the passage, and the vividness of the images of a tornado’s doings, and say to myself, ‘There’s a song here, it’s almost written itself.’ I wrote the words, but with no strong idea of a tune for it, other than that it seemed to suggest itself into ¾ time. Shirley obliged with a tune of her own devising, and Ian with its arrangement.

Listen below.

01 “Fare Thee Well My Dearest Dear”
02 “Lost In A Wood”
03 “The Captain With The Whiskers”
04 “June Apple”
05 “The Golden Glove”
06 “High And Away”
07 “Oakham Poachers”
08 “Hares On The Mountain”
09 “Hand And Heart”
10 “The Bonny Labouring Boy”
11 “Swaggering Boney”
12 “How Far Is It To Bethlehem?”
13 “Archangel Hill”

Archangel Hill is out 5/26 via Domino. Pre-order it here.

Grant Gee

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