June Tabor

June Tabor (born 31 December 1947 in Warwick, England) is an English folk singer. Her earliest public performances were at the Heart of England Folk Club, in the Fox and Vivian pub in Leamington Spa in the mid 1960s. She attended St Hugh's College, Oxford University and appeared on University Challenge in 1968, as captain of the college team. She joined the Heritage Society at Oxford University and sang with a group called Mistral. An appearance at Sidmouth Folk Festival led to folk club bookings and she contributed to various records. One of her earliest recordings was in 1972 on an anthology called Stagfolk Live. She also featured on Rosie Hardman's Firebird (1972) and The First Folk Review Record (1974). At the time she was singing purely traditional unaccompanied material but in 1976 she collaborated with Maddy Prior on the Silly Sisters album and tour, with a full band that included Nic Jones. It provided the launching pad that same year (1976) for her first album in her own right, Airs and Graces. She later joined again with Prior, this time using the name Silly Sisters for their duo. Starting in 1977 Martin Simpson joined her in the recording studio for three albums before he moved to America in 1987. After his departure, she started working closely with pianist Huw Warren. Tabor stopped performing professionally for a time after working for decades as a singer, although she made some guest appearances with Fairport Convention during this period. During this time, she worked as a librarian and, with her then-husband David Taylor, ran a restaurant called "Passepartout" in Penrith, Cumbria, England before returning to music professionally in the 1990s.

Links To Peel

Peel discovered June Tabor when Tim Hart, member of Steeleye Span, was due to perform a session for his show with his usual singing partner and fellow Steeleye member Maddy Prior in 1975 (Hart and Prior had already done previous sessions for Peel, beginning on Night Ride in 1969). However, she had a sore throat and Tim Hart decided to call June Tabor, who he knew from her work with other folk artists, to invite her to perform with him. After the session was performed, Peel said he very much liked her voice and, once she had begun her solo recording career with Topic Records, played her music regularly on his shows. He was impressed by her 1976 debut album, Airs and Graces, particularly the track "The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda'", which he played repeatedly. Tabor recorded a total of seven sessions, including one with Maddy Prior in September 1975 and another with the Oyster Band in November 1990. Tabor holds one of the Longest Gaps Between Peel Session Appearances from 1978 to 1990. In 1977, Peel nominated her track 'No Man's Land', as one of his favourite songs of the year in his own Festive Fifty.

After the 90's, Peel rarely played Tabor's subsequent music, but by then she had become a regular on Andy Kershaw's shows. (Her final Kershaw session was on what turned out to be the last of the DJ's weekly shows for Radio 3, on 14 May 2007.)

T is for..

T is for... June Tabor

In 2013, six June Tabor albums were found in the first 100 LPs by artists beginning with T when first details of Peel's record collection were released online.[1] In a related video for the John Peel Archive, she praised Peel and producer John Walters for allowing her to sing whatever she wanted on her Peel sessions, in contrast to the producers of Radio 2's specialist folk programmes. She also expressed her admiration and gratitude to Peel for his championing of her music.

Festive Fifty Entries


1. Recorded: 1975-03-04. Broadcast: 10 March 1975. Repeated: 02 June 1975

  • Seamus The Showman / Scarborough Fair Town / Dancing At Whitsun / And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

2. Recorded: 1975-09-23. Broadcast: 20 October 1975. Repeated: 10 December 1975

  • Four Loom Weaver / The Seven Joys Of Mary / Singing The Travels / The Doffin' Mistress

3. Recorded: 1976-08-26. Broadcast: 13 September 1976. Repeated: 04 November 1976

  • Young Waters / Pull Down Lads / Young Allan / Short Jacket And White Trousers

4. Recorded: 1977-01-25. Broadcast: 22 February 1977. Repeated: 15 August 1977

  • Lord Bateman / The Banks Of The Sweet Dundee / The Fiddle And The Drum / Donal Og

5. Recorded: 1977-07-11. Broadcast: 19 July 1977. Repeated: 28 December 1977

  • Derry Jail / Riding Down To Portsmouth / The Devil And The Bailiff McGlinn / Streets Of Forbes / No Man's Land / A Taboresque Utterance

6. Recorded: 1978-01-24. Broadcast: 01 February 1978. Repeated: 21 February 1978

  • The Overgate / Now I'm Easy / Unicorns / Flash Company / Furze Field

7. Recorded: 1990-11-27. Broadcast: 05 January 1991. Repeated: 03 March 1991

  • White Rabbit / Annachie Gordon / Wheels On Fire / All Along The Watchtower

Other Shows Played

Flowers of the Forest

Flowers of the Forest

'No Man's Land', #40 in the 1977 Festive Fifty

  • 26 February 1976: June Tabor and Maddy Prior: tracks (titles unknown) (LP - Silly Sisters)
  • 29 March 1976: Singing The Travels (Symondsbury Mummers) (LP - Silly Sisters) Chrysalis
  • 01 September 1976: Plains Of Waterloo (LP - Airs And Graces) Topic
  • 01 September 1976:  While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping (LP - Airs And Graces) Topic
  • 01 September 1976: The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (album - Airs and Graces) Topic
  • 20 March 1980: Strange Affair (LP - A Cut Above) Topic (with Martin Simpson)
  • 24 March 1980: 'Le Roi Renaud (LP-A Cut Above)' (Topic) (with Martin Simpson)
  • 28 May 1981: The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (album - Airs and Graces) Topic
  • 06 June 1988: The King Of Rome (CD - Aqaba) Topic
  • 21 June 1988: 'The Banks Of Red Roses (LP-Aqaba)' (Topic) (JP: 'Probably about Napoleon, most of her songs are, in my experience.')
  • 18 July 1990: Dark Eyed Sailor (album - Freedom And Rain) Cooking Vinyl (with the Oyster Band)
  • 19 July 1990: All Tomorrow's Parties (LP - Freedom And Rain) Cooking Vinyl (with the Oyster Band)
  • 26 July 1990: Dark Eyed Sailor (album - Freedom And Rain) Cooking Vinyl (with the Oyster Band)
  • 01 December 1990: Almost Every Circumstance (album - The Work Of June Tabor) Conifer
  • 22 December 1990: 'Dark Eyed Sailor (LP-Freedom And Rain)' (Cooking Vinyl) (with the Oyster Band)
  • 20 January 1995: 'Genesis Hall (Compilation CD-Beat The Retreat: Songs By Richard Thompson)' (Capitol)
  • 28 November 2002: 'The Band Played 'Waltzing Matilda' (LP - Airs And Graces)' (Topic) (JP: "There's no answer to that really.")
  • 05 December 2002 (Radio Eins): And The Band Played "Waltzing Matilda" (album - Airs And Graces) Topic

See Also

External Links

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