Shirley Collins hasn't played live for 35 years - she's suffered from dysphonia, which effectively scuppered her folk career.
Hadn't played live, that should read. On Saturday night, she returned as an unbilled support at Current 93's date at Union Chapel. Attn Magazine was there:
“I don’t think I would have done this for anyone else but David Tibet,” she announces to a stunned applause, before quietly slipping into a rich, earthly rendition of “All The Pretty Little Horses”. Her voice swoops at the commencement of each line, channelling the sound of age into a sort of momentum; gorgeous vocal curvatures both smoothed and textured like pebble edges, wearing her years of existence like a cloak that trails and dances behind every lyric.There's something magnificent about a gig review which can make you well up, isn't there?
It later transpires that David Tibet has been trying to encourage her to perform again since he met her back in 1994, and as he stumbles over words in an attempt to express his gratitude for her appearance, the magnitude of the occasion becomes clear.