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Shirley Collins - This Time Roses

Shirley Collins Brighton 1988
Shirley Collins Brighton 1988 Photo: Dave Peabody

What was the album that followed up No Roses?

Oh, Amaranth, yes. That came in…


Yes, but what was going on? That was strange. I don’t quite understand what was happening although something was obviously going on at the time because I had said on it that it was the last album I was going to make.

Why was that?

Because I think my confidence was being undermined all the time. It was being chipped away at and, like an idiot, I let it happen because… I don’t know… my domestic life has always been awfully important to me, my home life, as it is to everyone. And I’d got kids who were coming along to teenage, and I guess I wanted to get off the road and spend a bit of time at home, and Ashley needed an awful lot of support anyway.

I thought perhaps I would withdraw because being on the road with a band isn’t the greatest thing, especially if you’re the one woman in that band and you’ve got all your responsibilities at home as well. And I think in many ways I was quite happy to withdraw for a bit, but it all got a bit heavy and the decision seemed to have been made. I remember Ashley saying to me one night when we were writing the notes for that album, “If you’re going to write that, don’t come to me and say I’m changing my mind”, something like that.

I should have listened to the warning bells then but I didn’t. I know that in the studio he didn’t like me. He didn’t like my singing and my voice was mixed right down on a lot of the tracks. It amuses my friends that the bass was right up! We laugh about it now, but it’s a pity because the songs on that album are lovely songs – Fare Thee Well My Dearest Dear and so on – and some of the arrangements are really rather good. But I think that was the start of my demise with Ashley.

What numerous readers will want me to ask is “Are you going to sing again?”

Well, yes, I hope so… we’re working on it, me and Biggles!

You would like to?

Oh, I would love to, because I’m not Shirley Collins unless I sing and I haven’t been Shirley Collins for the last six years.

From Folk Roots 65, November 1988


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