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Baker's Dozen

There's Always A Story: Martin Carthy's Favourite Music
Patrick Clarke , November 8th, 2023 10:32

Martin Carthy speaks to Patrick Clarke about his 13 favourite records, his love for the new wave of traditional musicians, encounters with Bob Dylan and The Beatles and more


Fontella Bass – The New Look

Shortly after she made this she was spectacularly ripped off, and what she did was she turned on her heel, walked out of the music business, broke every contract she’d ever made, and went off to do something else. She was just not going to stand for it. Apparently, people were begging her to make more stuff and she said no. I once met a bloke in Kansas City who was running a solo campaign to get her to do stuff again. I reckon he never got anywhere. I thought it was the most fantastic thing anybody had ever done. ‘If you're gonna fuck with me like this. I refuse to do any more. I’m out. You've got a contract to fill? Well, you know where you can put that.’ People probably made threats and everything, but she just walked away. What a brave thing to do, to stand against those thugs. And they are thugs, I’ve met them with ‘Scarborough Fair’.

Which Paul Simon learnt from you but was later credited only to Simon and Garfunkel, with both yourself and the traditional source erased…

They [music industry executives] are gangsters. They're not nice to know. All they’re interested in is the money, and they’ll do anything to get it. They made a complete fool out of me, I’ve got no excuses. I was presented with a wad of contracts that needed signing, and amongst them was the thing which would grant ownership of ‘Scarborough Fair’ to those buggers at that publishing house.