The Wire

The world's greatest print and online music magazine. Independent since 1982

In Writing

The Mire: Tangents, threads and opinions from The Wire HQ

Cath & Phil Tyler's Lovely Molly

Nathan Budzinski

A great part of Cath & Phil Tyler gig at Dalston's Café Oto a couple Friday's ago (20 March) was hearing their version of the trad tune "Courting Is A Pleasure" one of my favourite recordings by the guitarist/vocalist/fiddler Nic Jones - a tune from his excellent Penguin Eggs album. Jones's recording is a great example of his impressive guitar skills, with its faultless and quick, almost harsh rhythmic picking complementing and intertwining with his vocals creating an uncomfortable and driving effect.
The Tyler's version on the other hand, broke the song down into slowly shifting fragments and a sleepy pace, a great version that translated the song into a kind of lullaby (well, compared to Jones's version...) Either way, the Tyler's show was a great gig, different from the studio recordings I've heard (Dumb Supper) which were far more dry, droning and harsh, than the rounded folkiness I heard on Friday.

There's other arrangements of the song out there... One by the Watersons called "Meeting Is A Pleasure" and another version that goes by the name "Loving Hannah" and another whose title is also the refrain of the tune, "Lovely Molly"... I'm pretty sure Cath said that she first heard a version of it on a fund raising compilation released by the New Jersey free form radio station WFMU... I tried to find out which CD she was talking about but to no avail...