ONE OF THE GREAT albums to emerge from the British folk music scene – Lal & Mike Waterson's Bright Phoebus – is to be celebrated by a touring show featuring special guests including Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley and Kami Thompson – daughter of Richard and Linda. Siblings Mike and Lal made their name in '60s folk revival group the Watersons, with sister Norma and cousin John Harrison. Their only album as a duo, 1972's Bright Phoebus branched out into original composition and pop/rock/jazz arrangements, mixing traditional themes with post-hippy surrealism. It has remained one of the treasures of the British folk canon and, latterly, a touchstone for crate-digging neo-folkies.
The Bright Phoebus Revisited tour – MD'd by oboist/arranger Kate St John – will be accompanied by the publication of a book Teach Me To Be A Summer's Morning (Fledg'ling Books, in association with Topic Records). Collated by Marry Waterson and David Suff, the book features paintings, drawings, stained glass designs, poems and lyrics by Lal, as well as a CD of previously unreleased Bright Phoebus-era material.
"These are intimate performances from mum at the piano or playing guitar," Lal's daughter Marry told MOJO, "almost as if you were in her front room with her. The sun is shining in, the walls are painted mustard yellow and she is singing to you – a private audience.
"Song For Thirsa, Pipers Path, Shine, Evon Our Darling, Marvellous Companion and One Of Those Days were all written in the same period as Bright Phoebus, but never made it onto the original album, though they are infused with the same poetic imagery and startlingly good melodies."
The unearthed material will be performed on the Bright Phoebus Revisited tour by a group containing Cocker, Hawley, Martin and Eliza Carthy, Marry, Norma, Eleanor and Ann Waterson, plus Lal's son Oliver Knight.
11th October - London, Barbican - www.barbican.org.uk 12th October - Warwick, Arts Centre - www.warwickartscentre.co.uk 14th October - Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall - www.liverpoolphil.com 15th October - Brighton, Dome - www.brightondome.org 16th October - Bristol, Colston Hall - www.colstonhall.org