Perhaps best known for their tight vocal harmonies and recordings of old folk standards as The Watersons, Danny Rose comes off Lal and Mike Watersons now-beloved folk classic Bright Phoebus. The renewed interest in folk music in the 1960s was kind to the ancient sounding vocal work of The Waterson Family. However, many fans of their vocal work were not kind to Bright Phoebus because it incorporated elements of rock n’ roll and country music, an apparent betrayal to their central role in the folk revival. It was beset by further problems when half of the 2,000 albums were pressed with center holes which were not quite center followed by their label, Trailer Records, going bankrupt soon after.
Since this initial frosty response, it has since been embraced as a pioneering record and many covers have been recorded. The best version I’ve heard comes from Hiss Golden Messenger and William Tyler who I first heard perform it on a cassette recording of a session at Duke University’s WXDU. The record was recorded in a tizzy over a two week period, and includes performances from Richard Thompson and Steeleye Span’s Tim Hart. Lal Waterson passed away in 2009 and Mike went two years later, leaving behind a once-forgotten gem that has now become a collector’s items, with original pressings fetching as much as 280 bucks.