Peter Bellemy's ballad opera "The Transports"
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The Transports (import: Free Reed Records, UK)
(This price is for US shipments only. Outside of the US please contact me BEFORE you order to get proper shipping costs)

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of Peter Bellamy's classic Ballad Opera, the opus has been revisited, re-mixed, re-mastered and re-released with a Free Reed deluxe box-set accolade, including all the original materials - libretto, poster, other Transports ephemera and more, all restored to the set. As well as the remix of the original recordings, as performed by a virtual 'who's who' of the 1970s revival (Carthy, Swarbrick, Watersons, Nic Jones, A.L. Lloyd, Tawney - and of course Bellamy), a wealth of Peter's friends and admirers have contributed specially-recorded performances of all of the classic songs from the set to create "Peter's Friends" - the second CD of the set.

All done up in the usual elegant and informative style of all the Free Reed box sets.

"The British folk revival can be tracked by its seminal works. MacColl's Radio Ballads, The Coppers' A Song For Every Season, Mike and Lal Waterson's Bright Phoebus, Fairport's Liege & Lief, Steeleye's Please To See The King, Gaughan's Handful Of Earth, maybe even Eliza Carthy's Anglicana. Pete Bellamy's epic 1977 ballad opera The Transports, telling the story of the first fleet of convicts transported to Australia 200 years earlier, comfortably makes that list. It wasn't merely that it involved most of the leading folk figures of the day who responded by performing out of their skins; or that Bellamy created a song cycle of such brilliant clarity that it must rank as the apex of his career; or that he related a deeply moving tale that told you plenty about English life in the late 18th century; or that Dolly Collins's intricate orchestrations gave the whole thing rich cogency and rare gravitas. Above all that, the folk tradition had never made more sense. A human story running the full range of emotions, drawing on real British history and using all the musical and cultural characteristics most cherished by the folk movement yet fiercely contemporary and meriting serious consideration alongside opera, classical music, theatrical productions and all the other genres..." Read Colin Irwin's full review

Press from the record label:
It’s just over 25 years since the release of Peter Bellamy’s masterwork “The Transports - a Ballad Opera” - a work that is now recognised as one of the true masterpieces of the Folk Revival.

Bellamy’s masterwork, unavailable for some time, is now released as a 2-CD/Book/Box-set 25th anniversary ‘Silver Edition’ of the ballad opera, on Free Reed’s Revival Masters box set label.

Its 1977 vinyl release was voted ‘Folk LP of the year’ and 25 years on, it’s still way up there, recently in:

* MoJo Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Recordings of the 20th Century'
* BBC 2’s “Best folk albums of the 20th century”!

CD1 of this lavish Silver Edition box-set features the remastered original 1977 recordings, performed by singers who are a veritable time-capsule of the front rank of the 1970s folk revival

* Martin Carthy, Nic Jones
* Mike & Norma Waterson
* A L Lloyd, June Tabor
* Cyril Tawney, Dave Swarbrick and many more)

The set’s second CD ‘The Transports 2004 - Peter’s Friends’ is all new recordings by many of Peter’s close friends who have revisited and reinterpreted his classic Transports songs, and their startling performances feature as CD2 of the set. Performers include:

* Coope Boyes & Simpson, John Kirkpatrick, Steve Tilston
* Fairport Convention and Fairport’s Simon Nicol and Chris Leslie.
* Grace Notes, Witches of Elswick, Tom McConville
* Pete Morton, Damien Barber, and Bacca Pipes folk club.

The Set’s fine 136-page book details the History of the First Fleet and of the English ‘Transported Convicts’. There’s a full discography, detailed artist biographies of both the 1977 and 2004 casts, with reminiscences, many interviews, and a Recording The Transports rare picture archive of Tony Fisher’s previously unpublished photographs of the1977 sessions.

Free Reed are proud to make one of the classics of British recorded folk music available again, and to keep the memory of Peter Bellamy and of his epic creation at the forefront of our musical heritage.

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