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Carthy Chronicles Best of, Box set


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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Godfather of English Folk Nov. 5 2001
By Peter Savage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Martin Carthy stands alone as one of the great figures of the English folk revival, but also can take a lot of credit for folk rock since 1970. This box is an excellent selection for Carthy enthusiasts, but is maybe not ideal for newcomers. It covers a broad sweep of his career to date, and features a lot of live performances and other 'alternate' versions of favorite songs.
I'd have given it five stars anyway, had it not been for some unfortunate choices on 'Carthy Contemporaries', where we get some hootenanny-era embarrassments that he'd probably have preferred to see buried in the vaults forever and a day-O. Better to have dumped half of this particular 'theme' CD and replaced it with more traditional material, of which there is, after all, a vast abundance. But that's just a personal take: nt everyone shares my taste for gloomy ballads and razorsharp playing, perhaps.
For beginners, you can't do better than the first two albums, both out on CD. Those, plus the third, "Byker Hill" feature the unsurpassable Dave Swarbrick on violin and mandolin, and are absolute classics, by any criteria, whatever your musical taste.
But if you want to see him in all his various incarnations: folk club strummer, then inventor of a new way of playing guitar (loosely derived from Davy Graham), followed by stints with Steeleye Span, The Watersons, Brass Monkey, and various other projects, this is a very good place to start. You can't fault him for not being musically adventurous! Some of the obscure stuff is quite astounding, but he's always at his best on 'big ballads.' Try 'Prince Heathen' or 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' for more obscure examples of this art, both with quite amazing guitar backing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A fitting tribute to a great folk traditionalist May 20 2003
By DJ Joe Sixpack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A 4-CD collection of British folk legend Martin Carthy's best work, spanning from the 1960s to the present day -- the motherlode for Martin Carthy true believers! This box set is divided thematically: "Classic Carthy," a disc of "hits," he's recorded over the years, "Carthy In Company," featuring rare, previously unreleased collaborations with various cohorts, including John Kirkpartick, The Albion Band, Steeleye Span, The Watersons, etc.; a third CD titled "Carthy Contemporaries," with Carthy providing interpretations of his favorite contemporary songwriters, and a fourth disc, "Child: Carthy," that focusses exclusively on the British folk treasure trove known as the Child Ballads. (The Child Ballads are the collected work of 19th Century folklorist James Francis Child, who gathered hundreds of the most striking English and Scottish folk ballads into a multi-volume codex that became one of the wellsprings of the '50s/'60s British folk revival... A new publisher called Loomis House Press began reprinting the complete series in 2002, well worth checking out if you're a hardcore folkie!)
This box set is a real tour de force, complete with a lavish, highly informative booklet, a flowchart showing the various stages of Carthy's career, and tons of rarities from folk concerts, TV shows and the like. Eighty-three tracks total... plenty of high-class listening for anyone who's ready!


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