June Tabor

Infobox musical artist
Name = June Tabor
Img_capt = rfu-c|2007-09-06
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|1947|12|31|df=y
Died =
Origin = Warwick, England
Instrument =
Genre = English Folk
Occupation = Singer
Years_active = 1972 – present
Label = Topic Records
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.junetabor.co.uk JuneTabor.co.uk]
Notable_instruments =

June Tabor (born December 31 1947 in Warwick, England) is an English folk singer.

Early years

June Tabor was inspired to sing by hearing Anne Briggs' EP "Hazards of Love" in 1965.

"I went and locked myself in the bathroom for a fortnight and drove my mother mad. I learned the songs on that EP note for note, twiddle for twiddle. That's how I started singing. If I hadn't heard her I'd have probably done something entirely different." [liner notes on the album "A Collection" by Anne Briggs.]

She attended St Hugh's College, Oxford University and appeared on "University Challenge" [ [http://www.martin-kingsbury.co.uk/articles/june%20tabor.htm University Challenge] ] in 1968, as captain of the college team. She joined the Heritage Society at Oxford University and sang with a group called Mistral. One of her earliest recordings was in 1972 on an anthology called "Stagfolk Live" [ [http://www.netrhythms.co.uk/reviewst.html stagfolk Live] ] . Her breakthrough occurred in 1976 when she recorded the album "Silly Sisters" with Maddy Prior. Shortly thereafter in the same year, she recorded her solo debut, "Airs and Graces". She later joined again with Prior, this time using the name Silly Sisters for their duo. Starting in 1977 Martin Simpson joined her in the recording studio for three albums before he moved to America in 1987. (Simpson has returned from America to be a guest guitarist on albums in the 2000s.) After his departure, she started working closely with pianist Huw Warren.

Tabor stopped performing professionally for a time after working for decades as a singer. During this time, she worked as a librarian [ [http://www.brightfieldproductions.co.uk/june_tabor_biog.htm Librarian] ] [ [http://www.abctales.com/node/147154 Librarian] ] [ [http://www.thewire.co.uk/archive/charts/50rhythms.html The Wire - Librarian] ] [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/maddyprior/albums/album/183396/review/5945160/silly_sisters Rolling Stone - Librarian] ] and, with her then-husband David Taylor, ran a restaurant called "Passepartout" in Penrith, Cumbria, England before returning to music professionally in the 1990s.

Solo work

In 1990, June Tabor recorded an album with the folk-rock band The Oyster Band titled "Freedom and Rain". She went on tour with the Oyster Band, and the Rykodisc label published a limited-run promotional live album the following year. Many of her current fans first discovered her through this tour and album with the Oyster Band. In 1992 Elvis Costello [ [http://www.salon.com/weekly/music960513.html Elvis Costello] ] wrote "All this Useless Beauty" specifically for Tabor, and she recorded it on "Angel Tiger". Costello didn't record it himself until 1996, on his album of the same title.

In 1983 the BBC TV series "Spyship" [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0142054/combined Spyship] ] was broadcast, with June singing the title song. In 1997 she appeared on Ken Russell's "In Search of English Folk Song" [ [http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=99777&messages=12 Ken Russell] ] broadcast of Channel 4. Tim Winton, author of the 2001 novel "Dirt Music" which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, made a selection of music to echo the themes of the novel. The CD "Dirt Music" (2001) includes "He Fades Away" by June Tabor, a painful tale of the slow death of a miner. (The song originally appeared on her 1994 CD "Against the Streams.") In 2002 the "Passchendale Peace Concert" [ [http://www.greatwar.nl/frames/default-music.html Passchendale] ] in Flanders had June sharing the stage with Coope Boyes and Simpson. On 30th June 2006 BBC Radio 3 broadcast "Night Waves" to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. It was broadcast live, with World War I songs sung by June Tabor, and a discussion with Michael Morpurgo and Kate Adie.

Over the years she has worked in various genres including jazz and art song, but generally with a sparse and sombre tone to it. Her 2003 album "An Echo of Hooves" marked a return to the traditional ballad form after concentrating on other styles for several years, and was highly acclaimed. The "All Music Guide" said of this album "A stunning jewel in a remarkable career, and one of the best things Tabor’s ever released." "Always" (2005) is a boxed set of four CDs, spanning her whole career and containing rare recordings.

Collaborations and recent developments

On 24th October 2003 Tabor appeared on "Later With Jools Holland" (BBC TV) [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/later/show/index_20031024.shtml Jools Holland] ] , singing "Hughie Graeme". This was later issued as part of a compilation DVD from the series. "Folk Britannia" was the name of a concert at the Barbican centre, and a TV mini-series (February 2006, repeated in October). She sang "Fair Margaret and Sweet William" at the Barbican, under the heading "Daughters of Albion". Tabor contributed one song to Ashley Hutchings' project "Street Cries" (2001) and one to a collection of folk musicians singing songs by the Beatles - "Rubber Folk" (2006). She chose to sing Lennon's "In My Life" a cappella. June tends to be adventurous in a way that avoids modernism. For example she frequently sings traditional songs with a piano accompaniment. On the album "Singing The Storm" (2000) she sings to the accompaniment of Savourna Stevenson's harp, and Danny Thompson's bass. In May 2004 she performed as part of "The Big Session" and sang an adaptation of Love Will Tear Us Apart as a duet with John Jones of The Oyster Band. In 1992, The Wire voted "Queen Among the Heather" one of the "Top 50 Rhythms of all Time".

The lighter side of her character can be seen in her work with Les Barker's The Mrs Ackroyd Band which performs his comic work. So far Tabor has performed on 3 of their albums, the 1990 "Oranges and Lemmings" (singing "The Trains of Waterloo", a parody of the folk song "The Plains of Waterloo" in a duet with Martin Carthy), the 1994 "Gnus and Roses" (singing "The January June", a send up of her perceived sombre character) and the 2003 "Yelp!" (singing "There's a hole in my bodhran", to the tune of "There's a Hole in my Bucket"). She sang two songs on "Beat The Retreat", a tribute to Richard Thompson.


Duo with Maddy Prior
*"Silly Sisters" (1976)
*"No More to the Dance" (1988) (as The Silly Sisters)

Solo albums
*"Airs and Graces" (1976) (including And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda)
*"Ashes and Diamonds" (1977)
*"A Cut Above" (1980)
*"Abyssinians" (1983)
*"The Peel Sessions" (1986)
*"Aqaba" (1988)
*"Some Other Time" (1989)
*"Angel Tiger" (1992)
*"Against the Streams" (1994)
*"Aleyn (album)" (1997)
*"On Air" (1998)
*"A Quiet Eye" (1999)
*"Rosa Mundi" (2001)
*"An Echo of Hooves" (2003)
*"Always" (2005)
*"At the Wood's Heart" (2005)
*"Apples" (2007)

Collaboration with The Oyster Band
*"Freedom and Rain" (1990)

Collaborations with The Mrs Ackroyd Band
* "Oranges and Lemmings" (1990)
* "Gnus and Roses" (1994)
* "Yelp! (2003)"

* "Anthology" (1993)
* "The Definitive Collection" (2003)


*In 2004 she was named "Folk Singer of the Year" at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.


External links

* [http://www.junetabor.co.uk/ The official June Tabor web site]
* [http://ectoguide.org/alpha/t/tabor.june June Tabor page] on the Ecto Guide
* [http://www.mrsackroyd.com/ The Mrs Ackroyd Band web site]
* [http://www.garrygillard.net/watersons/search.html/ In Search of English Folk Song]

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