AN ECHO OF HOOVES ~ Released September 2003


 EoH.jpg (31133 bytes)

photo/sleeve design:john haxby

          Long, long ago, almost 40 years ago in fact, I borrowed a record from my school library. It was called The Jupiter Book of  Ballads, and the most important thing about it (apart from a stunning recitation of McGonagall’s Tay Bridge Disaster by John Laurie, alias Private Fraser of Dad’s Army) was that some of the Ballads were sung. To someone accustomed to seeing them only as printed lyrics in a school anthology of poetry, this was a revelation. And so began a life-long love affair with the Ballads of the English (and Scots) speaking peoples.

         A strong story-line has always attracted me, no matter what a song’s origins might be, and in the Ballad you have story-telling at its stark, urgent best. The narrative can be brutally direct, subtly oblique, or a mixture of the two, but it always unfolds itself vividly in the mind’s eye as a sequence of unforgettable images. The Ballad-Maker, whoever he/she/they might have been, never missed anything that matters. In this most intensely dramatic of all poetic forms, it is the music that controls phrasing, expression and the shape of dialogue. It is unique and timeless in its appeal.

            Consequently, on almost all my solo albums from Airs and Graces (1976) and  Ashes and Diamonds (1977) to the most recent Aleyn (1997), A Quiet Eye (1999) and Rosa Mundi (2001), and indeed, on the collaborations both with Maddy Prior (Silly Sisters,1976,  No More to the Dance,1988) and Oysterband (Freedom and Rain, 1990) you will find a Ballad.

  And from a simple act of theft (because I didn’t take that LP back – I’ve still got it – and to think that I became a Librarian !) an entire album of Ballads has finally evolved. They come from the wild Debateable Lands of the Anglo-Scottish Border, from Scotland and from the Appalachian Mountains of the South-Eastern United States. They feature both my long-time (and treasured) accompanists Huw Warren and Mark Emerson, and the most recent recruit to our quartet, Tim Harries, as well as a guest appearance by Northumbrian pipes virtuosa Kathryn Tickell, and a re-union with guitarist extraordinary Martin Simpson.

           Each Ballad is the equivalent of a private cinema in your head. As you listen, feel the wind and rain, see the Hunter’s moon rise and catch an echo of hooves on the night air. ”


For press comment on An Echo of Hooves, see further down the page


  1. Bonnie James Campbell

words traditional,   tune Tabor

arr. Tabor, Warren, Harries

pub. Topic Records


2. The Duke of Athole’s Nurse

(Click to hear Sample..)


arr.Tabor, Simpson 

pub.Topic Records

  1. The Battle of Otterburn


arr. Tabor, Tickell

pub. Topic Records

  1. Lord Maxwell’s Last Goodnight


(Click to hear Sample..)


words traditional, tune traditional, Tabor   

arr.Tabor, Warren, Emerson, Harries

pub. Topic Records

  1. Hughie Graeme

words traditional, tune traditional, Tabor, Emerson 


pub. Topic Records

  1. The Border Widow’s Lament


arr. Tabor,Warren

pub. Topic Records

  1. Fair Margaret and Sweet William

(Click to hear Sample..)



pub. Topic Records

  1. Rare Willie


arr. Tabor

pub. Topic Records

9. Young Johnstone

words traditional, tune traditional, Tabor, Simpson  

arr. Tabor, Simpson 

pub. Topic Records

10. The Cruel Mother

traditional arr. Tabor, Emerson 

pub. Topic Records   

 11. Sir Patrick Spens

      words traditional,

      tune traditional, Tabor  arr.Tabor, Warren, Emerson, Harries

pub. Topic Records



The photographs in the CD booklet were taken by John Haxby in June 2003 at Auchencairn Bay and Old Buittle Tower, a lovingly restored C16th tower house near Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbrightshire. For more information about Old Buittle, visit






'..majestic album. A harrowing stunner' - 5 Stars – Mojo

'..the year's finest folk record' - The Sunday Times

 '..a superb album that is as uncompromisingly contemporary as the songs are timeless' - The Scotsman

 'This year's finest traditional album ...from a long-established artist who is in remarkable, even startling form'  -The Guardian

'a serious record that also happens to be hugely entertaining’.... ‘Tabor...manages to combine the maturity of a seasoned star with a newcomer's freshness and imagination....- Daily Telegraph

'an extraordinary piece of work by any standards' - Stephen Fry at the 2004 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

'Its music is surely one of her finest achievements.....Few in any genre sing words with such directness and focus'   BBC Music Magazine

MOJO Folk Album of the Year.

“The greatest female traditional singer of our time" WORD

“A sublime collection of traditional ballads” Sheffield Telegraph

“As a paragon of the virtues that folk music holds in its cultural armoury June Tabor must surely rate as number one. Unafraid, unadorned and completely beautiful” BBC Radio 2 review

“An Echo of Hooves is an act of daring in a televisual age – Tabor is here to plant pictures in the head” Penguin Eggs magazine

“A return to traditional song, exquisitely sung, in a perfect setting. Quintessential English balladry.” Uncut magazine

"She is a singer of intense clarity, her delivery can be dramatic but her restraint is admirable. It is as if she sees the songs as films – indeed, they are streams of images – which she projects through her performance" Songlines Magazine

"It’s a great album and required listening for those of you that are looking for something a little more substantial" CD Review / Folk Roundabout

"The greatest interpreter and curator of indigenous British music. Unafraid, unadorned and completely beautiful." BBC Radio Folk Music Review

"A stunning jewel in a remarkable career, and one of the best things Tabor’s ever released." All Music Guide

"A beauteous collection of traditional ballads – backed by her regular trio of accompanists and supplanted [! augmented?] by Martin Simpson’s gently driving guitar and Kathryn Tickell’s mournful Northumbrian pipes, Tabor is on top form." HMV Choice

"Tabor remains the unchallenged queen of the genre." Roots and Branches

“Tabor achieves a genuine timelessness with this material…solidifies her claim as the world’s foremost" New York Time Out

“June Tabor is a major artist with an untouchable string of recordings who can turn an audience inside out with one unaccompanied song”

”This is folk whose dark beauty will send shivers up and down your spine” Metro

"Surely one of her finest achievements. Few in any genre sing words with such directness and focus.” BBC Music Magazine

”Best album of the year” World Music Web: Portugal

”As with just about everything Tabor has recorded over the years, An Echo of Hooves is full of music that is gripping, intelligent and highly recommended." Dirty Linen Magazine