June 15, 2004
Highpoint Recordings
Folk, Traditional Folk, British Folk

Album Review

In the wake of the recent, superb box set, it's hard to imagine a single disc being definitive of one of Britain's great folk singing groups. At best, you can touch on their different facets and legacy. But Definitive Collection actually does a splendid job. There are the hymns, the traditional songs, and some of the permutations (Lal and Norma, Mike, even the late Peter Bellamy), as well as tracks by Waterson:Carthy and Blue Murder, who carry on the flame of the original Watersons in many ways (especially Blue Murder, which is essentially Waterson:Carthy plus Barry Coope, Jim Boyes and Lester Simpson). The tracks are from their "Topic" albums (which means, because of licensing, nothing from the original, wonderful Bright Phoebus release is here), but all of those that are here are wonderful, and sung with such naturalness that they epitomize what folk singing should be about. There's no sense of premeditation about their performances. This is simply who they are, and their way of expressing themselves. It's not Mighty River of Song, which really is definitive, but as an introduction to the Watersons, and an overview of their massive achievements in folk music, this works excellently.
Chris Nickson, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. God Bless the Master
  2. Dido Bendigo
  3. The Welcome Sailor
  4. Emmanuel
  5. Idumea
  6. The Still and Silent Ocean
  7. Fathom the Bowl
  8. Fare Thee Well Cold Winter
  9. The Holmfirth Anthem
  10. Stormy Winds
  11. Rosebuds in June
  12. Bellman
  13. Sleep on Beloved
  14. Swansea Town
  15. The Beggar Man
  16. Amazing Grace
  17. The Old Church Yard
  18. Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
  19. Malpas Wassail