bears the expense

The Holly Bears the Crown

The Holly Bears The Crown is an album by The Young Tradition with Shirley and Dolly Collins.

This album was recorded in London in 1969. A few weeks later musical and financial differences caused the break-up of The Young Tradition. The trio "The Young Tradition" (Peter Bellamy, Royston Wood and Heather Wood) sang a capella folk songs in a style similar to the Copper Family. Royston and Heather Wood (not related) preferred early music. Peter Bellamy later carved a solo career. He drove and spent recklessly, to the irritation of the others.

The liner notes show Peter and Royston carrying lunettes, looking more than slightly ridiculous.

Following the break-up, the record company refused to issue the album, which did not appear until 1995. By this time Royston, Peter and Dolly were dead. The Young Tradition probably wanted to have the medieval sound of the pipe-organ which Dolly had borrowed from David Munrow. Shirley Collins' voice blends well with Heather Woods' voice. Adam and Roderick Skeaping were members of "Musica Reservata" and had played on Shirley albums. The only tracks on which everyone appears is the first song ("The Boars Head Carol") and the last ("Bring Us in Good Ale").

Two tracks are Shirley and Dolly without the others. These later appeared on a compilation called "The Classic Collection" (by Shirley Collins) in 2004. Recorded in 1969 but not released in full until 1995. Running time 32 minutes 50 seconds. Produced by John Gilbert. Photography by Brian Shuel. Cover artwork by David Suff.

Track listing

  1. "Prologue from "Hamlet"" (spoken) (Shakespeare)
  2. "The Boar's Head Carol" (Trad)
  3. : Ensemble. First published 1521 by Wynken de Worde
  4. "Is It Far To Bethlehem?" (Frances Chesterton/ Trad)
  5. : Shirley and Heather
  6. "Lullay My Liking" (Trad) (tune by Gustav Holst)
  7. : Lead by Peter Bellamy. From a fifteenth century text
  8. "The Cherry Tree Carol" (Trad) (tune by Shirley Collins)
  9. : Shirley and Dolly. A tree bows down to the infant Christ
  10. "Shepherds Arise" (Trad) (Copper Family)
  11. :Sung a cappela by The Young Tradition
  12. "I sing of a Maiden That Is Makeless" (Trad) (tune by Dolly Collins)
  13. : Shirley and Dolly. From the fifteenth century Sloane MS.
  14. "Interlude: the Great Frost" (spoken) (Virginia Woolf - "Orlando")
  15. :A winter scene in London in Jacobean London
  16. "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" (Trad)
  17. : The Young Tradition + Dolly and the Skeapings. A shortened version of the song.
  18. "A Virgin Most Pure" (Trad)
  19. : Shirley and Heather. A carol printed in 1822.
  20. "The Coventry Carol" (Trad)
  21. : Young Tradition a cappela. A song taken from the Coventry Mystery Plays
  22. "The Holly Bears the Crown" (Trad)
  23. : Ensemble lead by Heather. Previously recorded by The Watersons as "The Holly Bears a Berry"
  24. "March The Morning Sun" (Royston Wood)
  25. : Written by Royston as a carol for St Stephen's Day
  26. "Bring Us In Good Ale" (Trad)
  27. : Ensemble + instruments. A song dated to about 1460.


  • "The Young Tradition" consisting of Peter Bellamy (vocal), Heather Wood (vocals) and Royston Wood (vocals)
  • Shirley Collins (vocals)
  • Dolly Collins (pipe-organ)
  • Adam Skeaping (bass viol)
  • Roderick Skeaping (recorder)
  • Narrations by Gary Watson. Instrumental arrangements by Dolly Collins.
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