The Watersons Biography

This British band is regarded as one of the most important and influential of the UK folk revival outfits, and have been cited by numerous artists, such as Anne Briggs, as being responsible for the development of unaccompanied harmony singing. They were originally called the Mariners, then the Folksons, before using their family name. The essential group, with occasional later variations, comprised Mike Waterson (16 January 1941, England), Norma Waterson (b. 15 August 1939, Kingston Upon Hull, England) and Lal Waterson (b. Elaine Waterson, 15 February 1943, England, d. 4 September 1998). The other original member, their cousin John Harrison, left in 1966, with the group splitting up two years later. In 1972 the quartet re-formed, with Harrison’s place was taken by Bernie Vickers, and released the controversial Bright Phoebus. Vickers was then replaced by Martin Carthy (b. 21 May 1941, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England), who married Norma Waterson. The acclaimed For Pence And Spicy Ale followed in 1975. Sound, Sound Your Instruments Of Joy, was an album of traditional Victorian hymnals. In 1985, Mike’s daughter, Rachel (b. 3 April 1966, England), joined the group. The Watersons have the ability to perform traditional songs, while retaining the freshness in the arrangement of the individual vocal lines. The various members have recorded works in their own right, but the Watersons still appear occasionally at festivals. Lal Waterson retired from public performances, and died shortly after completing an album with her son Oliver Knight.


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


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