Wednesday, March 04, 2009


at the Civic Theatre


Making light of arthritis and memory loss, folk legends Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson brought their years of experience to the Civic last week.

With Chris Parkinson on accordion, they kicked off with a song from the West Indies, which exists in many versions all over the world. And “Sailor Cut Down in His Prime”, delivered in Waterson's uniquely expressive voice, was typical of the breadth of their repertoire.

Mr Isaac's Maggot, a dance tune from the 18th century, an Australian ballad, Six Jovial Welshman [a carol, a confection or a nonsense song ?], tunes from the Morris Men, and the haunting lament Bay of Biscay, all showed this combo's deep love of authentic folk music.

I particularly enjoyed My Flower, My Companion and Me, and the Ohio number Since My Bird Has Flied Away.

There was original music too – Tom Waites' Strange Weather and Black Muddy River by the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia.

They ended their set with Midnight on the Water, a potently nostalgic waltz from Texas, which almost managed to generate some of the folk club/festival atmosphere which was sadly lacking in the dark, respectful theatre.

Fans will already know that Carthy and Waterson's daughter Eliza is playing the Civic on the 9th of May.

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