Martin Carthy

Just before he played at a wassail night in south-east London, I asked Martin Carthy whether he is currently on tour. He looked at me with a surprised smile and said: “I’m always touring.” For a man in his 70s he has amazing energy – and his musicianship is as magnificent as ever. In a one-hour set at Charlton House he showed off his unique guitar-playing style – percussive and minimalist yet laidback and melodious – and sang a programme of songs dating back centuries, including The Devil And The Feathery Wife, the wonderfully bawdy Tailor’s Britches and The Downfall Of Paris. He finished off with a brilliant take on the theme from The Third Man. But there’s no doubt he’s Number One.

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