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Baker's Dozen

Lodestars: Shirley Collins' Favourite Albums
Jude Rogers , July 8th, 2020 08:37

The return of Shirley Collins to song has been one of the most joyous music stories in recent times. Ahead of the release of her new album, the singer sits down with Jude Rogers to discus her 13 favourite records


Bob and Ron Copper – Come Write Me Down
[The Copper family are known as one of English folk’s most important family bands, coming from Rottingdean in West Sussex, near Brighton, where Shirley once lived.] These early recordings are so important to me, and I love to hear Bob and Ron as younger men. There’s a stalwart feeling about their singing, and the rapport between the two of them is full of warmth and affection. Hearing them singing ‘Babes In The Wood’ never gets dull for me. For me, the great thing about about folk songs is that they don’t have built-in obsolescence like pop songs.

Towards the end of his life, I lived fairly close to Bob and saw lots of him. Once I went for a walk on the Downs with him, and he suddenly stopped on the path – a beetle was crossing it, and he waited for him to go by. That was the kindness of the man! Bob was also instrumental in me becoming a folk singer. When I decided I wanted to be one at 15, I wrote to the BBC to let them know [laughs]. How embarrassing! Somehow my letter got passed to Bob. He came to the house to record me and Dolly, and I remember we sang in a Scottish accent at one point! Oh dear. But he had teenage children back then, and he was so sweet with us. That experience has stayed with me for decades.