released September 2003


 EoH.jpg (31133 bytes)

          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. ”



  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 www.theborderers.bravepages.com




'..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.


all content June Tabor 2004