Shirley Collins “High And Away” – Tornadoes are tricky

Photo: J. Aird

A new song from Shirley Collins’ latest album ‘Archangel Hill‘ which will be released on May 26th.  ‘High and Away‘ sounds incredibly traditional but is actually new – albeit drawing on writings that Collins made in 1959.  Her co-writer Pip Barnes explains: “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 [Kearey] with its arrangement.”

Shirley Collins – who is 87 years young – has suggested that ‘Archangel Hill‘ might be her last album – but hasn’t fully ruled out future releases.  She’ll be playing the Brighton Festival on May 21st.

About Jonathan Aird 2731 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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