Slipcue.Com Celtic & UK Folk Guide

Martin Simpson portrait Guitarist Martin Simpson


Martin Simpson "Golden Vanity" (Trailer, 1976) (LP)

Martin Simpson & June Tabor "A Cut Above" (Topic, 1980)
Another beautiful album, featuring the ever-lofty June Tabor still performing in a mostly-trad setting, singing ballads and aires with great gusto and warmth. The album's closer, "Unicorns," is a hint of things to come, with a tinkly piano and dolorous feel, but for fans who like their folk music simple and clean, this acoustic outing will swiftly become a cherished favorite. Simpson's role is mostly in the background, providing subtle, solid accompaniment, and plenty of Nic Jones-style slap-and-tickle guitar work. Recommended!

Martin Simpson "Special Agent" (Fledg'ling, 1981)

Martin Simpson "Grinning In Your Face" (Topic, 1983)

Martin Simpson "Sad Or High Kicking" (Fledgling, 1985)

Martin Simpson "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (Dambuster, 1986)

Martin Simpson & Jessica Ruby Simpson "True Dare Or Promise" (Topic, 1987)

Martin Simpson "Leaves Of Life" (Shanachie, 1990)
An all-instrumental set...

Martin Simpson "When I Was On Horseback" (Shanachie, 1992)

Martin Simpson "A Closer Walk With Thee" (Gourd, 1994)
A contemplative set of instrumental, acoustic reinterpetations of classic American gospel themes such as "I'll Fly Away," "Palms Of Victory," "Wayfaring Stranger," "What A Friend We Have In Jesus," and many other, much more obscure tunes. Some of these tracks are gorgeous, some are a bit goopy, and some go way out in left field... in a very nice way. Simpson really makes this material his own, and slows the pace way down, with the express purpose of getting us out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This didn't really move me as much as I thought it might, but it's still quite nice.

Martin Simpson "Smoke And Mirrors" (Thunderbird, 1995)

Martin Simpson & Jessica Ruby Simpson "Red Roses" (Thunderbird, 1995)

Martin Simpson & Jessica Ruby Simpson "Band Of Angels" (Red House, 1996)

Martin Simpson & Wu Man "Music For The Motherless Child" (Water Lily Acoustics, 1996)

Martin Simpson "Cool And Unusual" (Red House, 1997)

Martin Simpson "Live" (recorded 1994, Oxford) (Red House, 1997)

Martin Simpson, David Hidalgo & Viji Krishnan "Kambara Music In Native Tongues" (Water Lily Acoustics, 1998)

Martin Simpson "Bootleg USA" (Topic, 1999)

Martin Simpson "61 Highway" (EP) (Beautiful Jo, 1999)
A 3-song EP...

Martin Simpson "The Bramble Briar" (Topic, 2001)

Martin Simpson, Jessica Radcliffe & Lisa Ekstrom "Beautiful Darkness: Celebrating The Winter Solstice" (High Bohemia, 2001)

Martin Simpson "Righteousness And Humidity" (Topic/Red House, 2003)

Martin Simpson "Kind Letters" (Topic, 2005)

Martin Simpson "Prodigal Son" (Compass/Topic, 2007)
(Produced by Martin Simpson)

A majestic album from British trad-folk singer-songwriter Martin Simpson, a veteran performer who also, by the way, picks one helluva fine acoustic guitar. This album is something of a summary of all that is best about his career, the elegant bridging between traditional and contemporary folk, with equal shares of Celtic, English and American influences. Alongside cover tunes such as Randy Newman's "Louisiana, 1927" (an astonishingly prescient song about corruption and natural disasters, widely resurrected in the wake of Hurricane Katrina) are ancient ballads such as the grim, seductive "Little Musgrave" and the yearning "Andrew Lammie." Simpson also includes two of his finest and most personal original compositions, "She Slips Away," written after his mother died, and "Never Any Good," a song that both catalogs and celebrates the apparent shortcomings of his father. And, throughout, there is achingly beautiful guitar work, reminding us yet again why Simpson has long been considered one of the best players in the modern English folk scene. Certainly one of the finest trad-folk albums of the last few years.

Martin Simpson "True Stories" (Compass, 2009)

Martin Simpson "Purpose + Grace" (Topic, 2011)


Martin Simpson "The Collection" (Topic, 1994)

Martin Simpson "The Definitive Martin Collection" (Highpoint, 2005)


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