Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Anne Briggs at 65
My book editor and I were recently bandying around ideas for fantasy projects and we both agreed that, one day, it would be great to write a book about Anne Briggs. But who would buy it? Some hipster-folksters regard Briggs in much the same way that excitable pop-culturists see Madonna, but back in the real world she's hardly what you'd call a unit-shifter. No matter. For those of us who have been enchanted by her music over the years, her impact can't be measured in pounds, pence and Amazon sales ranks.
I had the great - and very rare - pleasure of interviewing her a couple of years ago. She was very nervous, and lovely, and rather confused as to what all the fuss was about. Anyway, she turned 65 a few weeks ago, so in celebration of her extraordinary voice, and for having the guts to live her life according to her own instincts, and in the vain hope that we might yet get some new music from her, I thought it might interest a few devotees to unearth the interview feature, which first appeared in Record Collector.
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Anne Briggs’s journey into the annals of folk legend began with a hitch-hike to Edinburgh at the age of 15 and ended, 14 years later, with a retreat into nowhere. In the intervening years she established herself as not only perhaps the purest folk voice of her generation, but also as an elusive figure, uncomfortable operating within the confines of stage and studio. Briggs never truly lost her inhibitions in formal situations, hence perhaps why her recorded legacy is so slim: a handful of songs scattered across EPs and compilation albums, one album for Topic and two more for CBS. She has been silent since 1973. Read More