This is from what became Melody Maker’s Folk Album Of The Year in 1977 and Jon says, “From The Transports by Peter Bellamy, sung originally by Nic Jones in what is, for me, his finest vocal performance on record. Bellamy wrote all of the songs with particular singers in mind and, in most cases, this led to some pretty remarkable vocal performances.” Bellamy’s ballad opera has since been further lauded as a high water mark of the folk revival and is based on a true story, researched by Norfolk Historian Eric Fowler. If the notes I’ve read are to be believed (despite Peter changing his story) the whole thing was written in four days. He undoubtedly wrote with specific singers in mind, something that proved a logistical nightmare to produce at the time and a significant risk for Neil Wayne and his independent Free Reed label. Many others had already turned it down as commercially unviable. I will have to investigate this properly as this is one of my favourite songs so far and having just put my hands on a copy of the Silver Edition two CD box set of The Transports, I’m rather excited by it, especially the detailed book that comes with it. I’ll chalk this up as another eye-opener from Jon. As with anything Bellamy related the first point of reference is Mainly Norfolk where you’ll find some fine detail of the various recorded versions and more. You may also like to have a look at this for some more insight.
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