For anyone who's ever been a fan of any of Carthy's music -- solo or with Steeleye Span or anyone else -- The Collection is probably superfluous. On the other hand, for someone who's only heard of him, this 20-song, 65-minute anthology, with songs chosen by Carthy himself from 28 years of recording, is a fair overview of his work. One can argue that the order might have been shuffled a bit, and the notes could have identified the albums off of which each of these songs were taken (you'd think the record label would insist upon it). On the other hand, the music is sufficiently diverse -- from Rosselson back to Ralph Vaughan Williams and Cecil Sharp, the various trails of English folk music are represented -- and the notes give enough history on each to leave the listener wanting lots more. Featured numbers include "Palaces of Gold," and the ubiquitous "Lord Randal," the epic "Cottage in the Wood," the concertina-driven "I Sowed Some Seeds," the haunting "Lovely Joan," the mysterious gypsy-originated "Eggs In Her Basket," and the dance "Swaggering Boney" (i.e. Napoleon).
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder