Waterson Carthy contain the two godparents of modern folk, namely Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy. Between them they have performed literally hundreds of different songs and tunes. Like the best folk clubs, they have survived so long because they know how to adapt. Whilst some artists, and clubs, have floundered because nothing changed, Waterson Carthy, in their various guises survive because they do.
True, traditional songs remain at the heart of their repertoire, but then so do contemporary songs. Both continue to push away at the edges so that they can bring something new into the genre. This success can be measured by Normas Mercury nomination and Martins MBE awarded for services to folk music, the first of its kind.
As the couples daughter Eliza Carthy carves out a name for herself in her own right she is also paying Mum and Dad back for the love of music thats always been with her. Recently when Martin was buying a train ticket, the ticket master looked up and said "Your Elizas Dad." He went on to say "I liked your daughters album, when I noticed she also performed on the Waterson Carthy album I bought that. From there I went on to buy one of yours."
Both Martin and Norma are passionate about music, not just their own all music. That said if you really want to see their eyes light up then its for talk about folk music. Both have been asked the same questions time and time again, both are still willing to answer those questions for a new generation of listeners.
With so many songs under their collective belts, its no wonder that their memories seem to be in tip top shape. Hundreds of gigs have led to thousands of anecdotes about people still on the circuit and those long departed.
Its possible to argue that there are now two folk traditions in this country. One represented by Cambridge, the other by Sidmouth or Towersey. Waterson Carthy are one of the bridges that continues to link the two together.