All in the Downs review – a memorable Shirley Collins celebration

Graham Coxon

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Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

An emotional star-studded tribute to a people legend, with a uncommon look by the singer herself

This emotional concert featured a exceptional array of celebrities and one people legend, who was celebrating her 80th birthday in type. Shirley Collins spent a lot of the evening in the audience, and eventually arrived on stage earlier than the encore, to be greeted with a spontaneous Completely happy Birthday to You. She has suffered from dysphonia, and infrequently sung in public because the early 1980s, however now she joined within the sing-along finale of Hundreds Or Extra, the cheerful Copper Household music about not needing riches to be glad.

Shirley Collins has had a unprecedented career, as song-collector, author and a singer who revived long-forgotten songs together with her pure, haunting voice, and who was all the time prepared to experiment. Her best-known recordings have been made in the 60s and 70s, however her persevering with influence was proven by the forged here. The present opened with eight artists performing songs (principally) from her repertoire, with Blur’s Graham Coxon including spectacular people baroque guitar to his sturdy acoustic remedy of Merciless Mom, Alasdair Roberts providing a strong unaccompanied rendition of Lord Gregory, and Olivia Chaney on the piano for a cool transforming of All Things Are Quite Silent.

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