Tuesday, November 7, 2023

June Tabor - Always [2005] (4 x CDs)


June Tabor - Always [2005] (4 x CDs)

June Tabor (born 31 December 1947 in Warwick, England) is an English folk singer known for her solo work and her earlier collaborations with Maddy Prior and with Oysterband.


June Tabor is probably the finest female traditional British folksinger of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, if not the best British folksinger of her time, period. What links her to Britain's past traditions is the chilling and emotional qualities of her voice. What links her to the British present is her fine taste in material, arrangements, and backing musicians, along with a willingness to try different things and interpret work by contemporary songwriters.

The British folk revival of the late '60s and '70s had its fair share of formidable sirens, Shirley Collins, Norma Waterson, Anne Briggs but none so effortlessly took the genre outside as June Tabor. Her rich baritone needs no accompaniment, as evidenced on the numerous a cappella pieces that grace Always, her first official box set, but when it does find itself among pianos, horns, or an upright bass it holds onto a frequency all its own. Like 2002's Shirley Collins retrospective Within Sound, Topic's sprawling four-disc anthology eschews the usual artist "career overview" for a festival of rarities, outtakes, and live tracks, numerous studio cuts appear as well, that are anything but ordinary. Always follows no predetermined timeline, and it shouldn't really, opting for early classics from Airs and Graces and her 1983 Martin Simpson collaboration, A Cut Above, to sit side by side with newly recorded live cuts like "Seeds of Love." Selections from her work with the Oyster Band as well as standout tracks from both Silly Sisters albums with Maddy Prior -- though it would have been nice to hear a newly remastered version of Cyril Tawney's haunting seafaring lament "The Grey Funnel Line" instead of the amiable but empty "Geordie" -- help to give the ballad-heavy collection some occasional pep, while the inclusion of previously unreleased gems like a live, horn-laden cover of Kris Kristofferson's "Casey's Last Ride" with the Creative Jazz Orchestra and rustic demos of "The Week Before Easter" and "Four Loom Weaver" that sound like Tabor was just popping her head out of the window and there happened to be a running tape machine below continuously surprise with their inventiveness. Always, like all of the minutia-obsessed Topic box sets, is exhaustive from a visual standpoint as well. A 46-page booklet chronicles the artist's rise from awkward teen in the English Midlands to British-folk legend through a series of photos, interviews, and a track-by-track commentary by Tabor herself. The overall effect is as intimate as the genre is vast, providing a tea-room listening party for both artist and consumer that's both congenial and cordial, like the deep, warm knowing voice it celebrates. (ALLMUSIC review by James Christopher Monger)






Track lists


01 June Tabor - Seeds Of Love (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 6:10

02 June Tabor - King Of Rome 3:43

03 June Tabor - Hard Love 5:06

04 June Tabor - Casey's Last Ride (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 5:43

05 June Tabor - What Will We Do [Silly Sisters] 2:00

06 June Tabor - Skewball (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:44

07 June Tabor - While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 1:38

08 June Tabor - The Week Before Easter (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 4:16

09 June Tabor - Strange Affair 5:46

10 June Tabor - Sir Patrick Spens 7:02

11 June Tabor - Gypsum Davey (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 4:49

12 June Tabor - Buried In Killenny [Silly Sisters] (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:02

13 June Tabor - Behind The Wall (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 1:46

14 June Tabor - Zaida's Poem (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:42

15 June Tabor - Young Johnstone (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 6:16

16 June Tabor - Mississippi Summer [Oyster Band] 3:17

17 June Tabor - A Place Called England 4:42


01 June Tabor - I Never Thought My Love Would Leave Me 4:17

02 June Tabor - Beat The Retreat 6:10

03 June Tabor - Fine Horseman (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 6:16

04 June Tabor - The Overgate 2:23

05 June Tabor - The Fair Maid Of Wallington 4:31

06 June Tabor - Meditation (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:53

07 June Tabor - Geordie [Silly Sisters] 4:01

08 June Tabor - All This Useless Beauty (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:52

09 June Tabor - Love Henry, The Cherokee Shuffle 4:13

10 June Tabor - Illusions (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 4:26

11 June Tabor - Four Loom Weaver (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:28

12 June Tabor - I Will Put My Ship In Order 6:10

13 June Tabor - Cold And Raw, Down The Hill (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:33

14 June Tabor - The Nurse, Dorothy Nichol, The Long Long Trail, The Reaper (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 8:20

15 June Tabor - The Band Played 'waltzing Matilda' 6:25

16 June Tabor - Maybe Then I'll Be A Rose 4:23


01 June Tabor - April Morning 5:01

02 June Tabor - Johnny O'bredislee - Glory Of The West (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 7:03

03 June Tabor - Singing The Travels [Silly Sisters] 2:48

04 June Tabor - Waiting For The Lark 4:11

05 June Tabor - 10,000 Miles 5:31

06 June Tabor - Hunting The Cutty Wren [Les Barker] 3:22

07 June Tabor - Willie Taylor (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:52

08 June Tabor - Bonny May 4:58

09 June Tabor - Aqaba 4:35

10 June Tabor - Anachie Gordon (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 5:46

11 June Tabor - Reynardine [Live] [Silly Sisters] 5:17

12 June Tabor - Dashing Away With The Smoothing Iron [Silly Sisters] (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:36

13 June Tabor - Pharaoh (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 4:40

14 June Tabor - Belle Rose 2:50

15 June Tabor - Will Ye Go To Flanders (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:52

16 June Tabor - Shallow Brown 5:17

17 June Tabor - Now I'm Easy 4:27


01 June Tabor - Mrs. Rita [With Richard Thompson] (Previously Unreleased) 2:46

02 June Tabor - All Tomorrow's Parties [W. Oyster Band] 3:48

03 June Tabor - The Wind And The Rain,The Falls Of Richmond (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 4:49

04 June Tabor - Bonnie James Campbell 3:38

05 June Tabor - A Proper Sort Of Gardener 4:15

06 June Tabor - The Royal Oak (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:40

07 June Tabor - False False 3:42

08 June Tabor - Roseville Fair [Les Barker] (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:46

09 June Tabor - Eights And Aces [Bill Caddick] 2:08

10 June Tabor - The Baker 4:26

11 June Tabor - This Is Always 4:36

12 June Tabor - Queen Cruelty (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 3:41

13 June Tabor - Joe Peel 3:44

14 June Tabor - All Our Trades Are Gone (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 5:33

15 June Tabor - Virginia's Bloody Soil (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 2:47

16 June Tabor - Hug Pine (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 5:12

17 June Tabor - The Late Passenger, Unicorns (Live) (Previously Unreleased) 10:37




  1. Excellent, thanks. Her version of "The Band Played 'waltzing Matilda'" never fails to knock me for six

    1. What a fantastic box set this is, JohnF.
      You should get acquainted if you don't have it and reacquainted if you do.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Everyone should hear Matilda.

    1. Hi lemonflag.
      The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda' is a terrific track.