Ahead of the release of new album Heart’s Ease on Friday, Shirley Collins has now shared single “Barbara Allen” from the forthcoming record.
The ballad “Barbara Allen” has been loved for centuries; Collins first heard it in school and has recorded it twice before, one Appalachian version and one English version for which she wrote a new tune. On Heart’s Ease, Collins returns to the traditional English arrangement: “I watched the 1951 black and white film Scrooge and found myself in tears at the scene towards the end of the film where a changed and contrite Scrooge visits his nephew Fred on Boxing Day to beg forgiveness for his past behaviour. Fred welcomes him in, and as Scrooge enters the room, Fred’s wife is sitting at the keyboard singing Barbara Allen to the tune I learned at school…. It was utterly simple, utterly lovely. I knew if I ever recorded the song again, I would use that one.”
Shirley Collins has previously shared “Wondrous Love” and “Sweet Greens and Blues” from the album. Recorded at Metway in Brighton with The Lodestar Band, the album is a glorious reminder that Shirley Collins is still in a class of her own, both as a folk singer with a distinctive no-nonsense style that is all her own, and as an innovator. And she certainly doesn’t intend Heart’s Ease to be her last album. “I have such a huge memory of songs, so many of which I still want to sing. And I wasted all those years not singing, so now I’ve got to catch up a bit!”
Upcoming live dates…
31st July 2021 – Charleston Trust, East Sussex
1st August 2021 – Charleston Trust, East Sussex