Martin Carthy @ 80
Never mind Bob Dylan's eightieth next week. It's Martin Carthy's 80th today. Happy Birthday Martin!
He is the grand old man of English folk song. I've seen him perform three times - at an Oxford college in probably November 1974, at Ann Arbor in late 2003, and at a folk club in Islington perhaps ten years ago. And I was also at the Topic Records anniversary concert at the Barbican a couple of years back at which he made a brief guest appearance.
The three earlier gigs were all small, intimate almost, with an audience of under fifty. That's the sort of venue best suited to Carthy's fine guitar work and soulful vocal style. I hope I'll get to see Martin play again.
I mentioned Dylan - Martin Carthy came across Bob on the latter's first visit to England in December 1962 and pointed him towards some key English folk songs which Dylan adapted and transformed in his own inimitable way.
Martin Carthy's TV appearance below, with fiddler Dave Swarbrick, dates from 1967:
Carthy is probably best known for his adaptation of 'Scarborough Fair' - yes, it was his adaptation not Paul Simon's! - and here it is:
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