Innovative and always fresh, Martin Carthy hits the stage

Martin Carthy
Martin Carthy

Either side of a dance music night, there is a reflective air, not to say an innovational one, about two other weekend gigs at Hebden Bridge Trades Club.

On Friday, August 15, U.S. singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel, perhaps still best known as the leading light of American Music Club, hits the stage (£14/ £12 members, doors open 8pm).

And on Sunday it is the turn of Martin Carthy, who has played a pivotal role in folk music, always with a dash of contemporary songwriting thrown in too, who is in the spotlight.

Music magazine Q says that Carthy is “arguably the greatest English folk song performer, writer, collector and editor of them all”, and there is certainly much in his history and back catalogue to prove it.

And that’s not just down to his arrangement of Scarborough Fair, which a visiting young folkie called Paul Simon would soon turn into a worldwide hit. Bob Dylan too, would use a Carthy arrangement.

Martin’s career is littered with great records.

Back in the 60s, his partnership with fiddle player Dave Swarbrick was highly influential on the folk scene, yielding such peerless albums as Prince Heathen and Byker Hill.

Bother joined folk rock bands at the turn of the decade, Swarb to Fairport Convention while Martin began the first of two spells in Steeleye Span, as well as turning out quality solo Lps lkie Sheerwater and Sweet Wivelsfield.

More recently his work with his wife and daughter Norma Of the Watersons) and Eliza have produced great work under the Waterson: Carthy name.

He’s a ballad singer, a ground-breaking acoustic and electric-guitarist and an authoritative interpreter of newly composed material. He always prefers to follow an insatiable musical curiosity rather than cash in on his unrivalled position. Which is why is music has always remained fresh and interesting.

Tickets are £15 (£12 for members) and the doors open at 7.30pm for this seated show.

Meanwhile, the dance night on Saturday, August 16, Love Mixture III (£6/£4, 9pm) presents and eclectic mix of DJs. This is a benefit gig by them for the Trades Club Refurbishment Fund.