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Crowlink EP

Pitchfork
Pitchfork
 2021-07-30
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Shirley Collins’ new EP begins with the octogenarian folk singer reciting a short stanza of a poem, her only accompaniment a flock of birds and the gentle brush of a breeze. “One morning in the month of May, when all the birds were singing,” she says, bending the rhythm of the words slightly upward, as though posing a question to the listener. “I saw a lovely lady stray across the fields at break of day and softly sang a roundelay.” It’s a short, simple musing on the motivation to make art and the passage of time—which is fitting because Collins has been singing a version of this song her entire life. The new track is called “Across the Field,” but Collins has long known it as “Just as the Tide Was a’ Turning.” She learned it from her aunt and recorded it first in 1959, then again in 1967 with her sister Dolly Collins. In 1971 she recorded it once more with the Albion Country Band, a loose collective of English folk musicians including members of Fairport Convention and the Young Tradition.

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