June Tabor Biography

31 December 1947, Warwick, England. Possessing one of folk music’s greatest voices, Tabor is a fine interpreter of both contemporary and traditional songs. She first came to notice in the early 70s, working on albums by Rosie Hardman and Peter Bellamy while still employed as a librarian. Her acclaimed 1976 debut for Topic Records, Airs And Graces, made an immediate impact on the English folk scene, and was followed by the fine albums Ashes And Diamonds and Abyssinians. In addition to her solo work, Prior collaborated with Martin Simpson on several occasions, including the 1980 recording A Cut Above, and also worked with Maddy Prior from Steeleye Span, recording two albums as the Silly Sisters. She also made numerous session appearances during this period, working with the Albion Band, Fairport Convention, Andrew Cronshaw and Bill Caddick among others.

Tabor returned to solo work in the late 80s, recording Aqaba with a crack backing band including Simpson and pianist Huw Warren. She made her debut for the Hannibal label with 1989’s Some Other Time, a bold career move featuring her interpretations of jazz standards such as ‘Night And Day’, ‘Pork Pie Hat’, ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ and ‘Round Midnight’. The follow-up Freedom And Rain was recorded with the Oysterband, an experiment with the rock format which many felt was long overdue. The material on the album was drawn from the catalogues of a number of leading modern songwriters, including Richard Thompson, Shane MacGowan, Billy Bragg and Lou Reed.

Tabor’s work for the Cooking Vinyl Records label in the early 90s consolidated her position as one of the leading traditional singers in modern music. Recorded with her regular band, including Huw Warren, Andy Cutting (accordion), Mark Emerson (violin/viola), Mark Lockheart (clarinet/saxophone) and Dudley Philips (bass), Angel Tiger and Against The Streams saw Tabor tackling material by the aforementioned Bragg, Costello and Thompson alongside more traditional songs. Tabor resumed recording for the Topic label in the late 90s, releasing a series of quietly impressive albums that have established her as one of the UK folk scene’s most assured voices. Both 2001’s Rosa Mundi and the ballads collection An Echo Of Hooves, issued in 2003, concentrated on traditional material. Her earlier albums have been re-released and are highly recommended, as is the excellent Conifer compilation, Aspects.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.