SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR (1963) by Anne Briggs





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Published on Nov 4, 2009

I happened upon Anne Briggs via this song and 'Black Waterside', as guitarist Jimmy Page had adapted these songs and done guitar versions (White Summer and Black Mountain Side respectively), and was influenced by her and others such as Bert Jansch and Davey Graham. This song is like many of her songs, it is sung unaccompanied. Anne Briggs was 19 when she sang this at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963, where it was recorded and subsequently released on various albums.

The following is adapted from John Dougan of All Music Guide: Anne Briggs was a singer of traditional English folk music, possessing as beautiful a voice as one could hope to have. She was the single most important influence on a group of female British folk singers including Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior, June Tabor, and Linda Thompson. Even Norma Waterson, herself a hugely important figure in the British folk revival of the mid-'60s, admits to being influenced by Briggs' singing and notes that Anne Briggs singlehandedly changed the way that English women folk singers sang. What makes this story so odd is that Anne Briggs' entire recorded output consists of about 30 songs. She stopped singing at the age of 27, supposedly because she hated the sound of her recorded voice. As folk music became electrified and increasingly popular and bands such as Fairport Convention and Pentangle were reinventing the British folk tradition, and more and more women (Sandy Denny et al) were singing in a style started by Anne Briggs, her legend flourished, yet she still refused to sing. (An exception here was that she appeared and sang in the 1992 documentary 'Acoustic Routes', an excerpt of which can be seen on YouTube).

I have put together this video as a tribute to Anne Briggs. Comments are welcome.

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