Folksongs and Ballads by Tia Blake & Her Folk-Group, is more than just a “lost classic”. As clear and honest as can be, Folksongs and Ballads is a magnetic record, a refuge like only Nick Drake, Nico, and a few others have been able to create. A graceful, delicately minimalist approach to classic Appalachian and British folk songs.The perfect balance between melancholy and daydream. Originally released only in France in 1971, Ici Bientôt is very pleased to present the first-ever reissue on vinyl.
When she recorded her only album, Tia Blake was nineteen years old and had just arrived in Paris a year and a half beforehand. She spent most of her time at Disco’Thé, a record shop in the Latin Quarter, a free space, peaceful and inspiring, a hub for students as well as the local artistic community.
There, Tia would occasionally sing—when she managed to overcome her shyness. Two young guitarists who were passionate fans of folk music and regulars at the shop began to accompany her, forming “Her Folk Group.” One year later, they cut 11 tracks at Pierre Barouh’s Studios Saravah.
Folksongs and Ballads is composed of traditional tunes that have been covered many times, but they’re not the best-known folk standards. A collection of stories ranging from the Middle Ages to the 1960s, bringing together sublimely doleful ballads, lamentations for a lost lover, and an unexpected, brilliant version of the road anthem “Plastic Jesus.”
Tia Blake’s haunting, unaffected voice captivates and comforts us, wrapping us in its cool embrace. Meanwhile, the tasteful, stripped-down, mellow acoustic arrangements provided by the guitarists, reminiscent of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, occasionally supported by a kena flute, have created the space Tia Blake needed to reinvent these traditional songs.
Folksongs and Ballads is a timeless record, deep and unique, a longtime companion for repeated listening, in the vein of works by Sibylle Baier, Bridget St. John and Vashti Bunyan.