Cambridge-based Gott Discs has just released a unique album of songs taken from the acclaimed BBC Radio 2 documentary series The 2006 Radio Ballads – a stand-alone companion piece to the six-CD Radio Ballads collection (also released by the label over the past few months).

The Radio 2 series was built on interviews about issues of our time – hunting with hounds, the decline of the steel and shipbuilding industries, living with HIV/AIDS, the lives of the showmen and women of the travelling fairgrounds and how music attempted to heal Northern Ireland’s Troubles. The songs were inspired by, and written from, accounts of actual life experience, with speech and song were interwoven to create a rarely-attempted, self-narrating storytelling style.

Now, musical Director John Tams and series music producer Andy Seward have gone back and stripped out the speech to create a standalone album of twenty songs, drawn from across the Ballads programmes and representing just one-third of the songs specially commissioned for this remarkable and critically acclaimed radio series.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 2 between February and April 2006 The 2006 Radio Ballads took their inspiration from the Radio Ballads, made for the BBC by folk singer Ewan MacColl and BBC producer Charles Parker in the 1950s and 1960s. The original Ballads are widely considered masterpieces of radio, weaving direct personal experience with songs written from, and about, the tales told.

Songs of the Radio Ballads includes performances by Kate Rusby, Cara Dillon, Tommy Sands, Karine Polwart, Jez Lowe, John Tams, Julie Matthews, Chris While, Bob Fox, Barry Coope, Kellie While, Lester Simpson, Martin Simpson and Michael McGoldrick, with musical backing from John McCusker (whistle and fiddle), Andy Cutting (accordion), Andy Seward (bass) and Graeme Taylor (guitar).

1. Mucky River John Tams
2. Curtains Kate Rusby
3. Crane Driver Julie Matthews
4. Fireland John Tams
5. Hobo Karine Polwart
6. Unprotected Bob Fox
7. Comes The Hour Chris While
8. The King George Hunt Lester Simpson & Martin Simpson
9. On Horseback Kellie While
10. Good Dog And True Bob Fox
11. Tradition Never Dies Chris While
12. Lily Gilders John Tams
13. Scholars In Winter Barry Coope
14. Different Drums Cara Dillon
15. These Troubles Tommy Sands
16. When The Music Starts To Play Cara Dillon
17. Old Hammerhead Jez Lowe
18. The Great Voltaire Bob Fox
19. You Can’t Weld A Body Karine Polwart
20. Only Remembered Bob Fox

For more information on this and other titles in the Radio Ballads CD series, go to or contact Gott Discs at PO Box 305 Cambridge CB1 7ZW Tel: +44 (0)1223 241241 Fax: +44 (0)1223 241221 E-mail: