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Penguin Eggs

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Editors’ Notes

Put simply, Penguin Eggs might be the most perfect album of the entire British folk revival. That it was released in 1980 — quite a few years after the revival first began in the late ‘50s — makes it all the more bittersweet. A debilitating 1982 car wreck left Jones unable to play guitar with the nimble facility with which he was accustomed, so he chose to abandon music-making altogether rather than continue in a compromised way. There's not a note out of place on this spare album. Though occasionally buoyed by rowdy "tavern-y" backing vocals, a melodeon, and a recorder, the dramatic focus of the music lies squarely on Jones' supple acoustic- guitar playing and plaintive, rich and soulful vocals. Jones' arrangements of centuries-old Anglo ballads bring them into clear focus, inspiring Bob Dylan to borrow from him for his version of "Canadee – I - O," and such youngsters as Alasdair Roberts and John Wesley Harding to record his arrangements, too. Anyone can sing a murder or romantic ballad and bring it to at least some kind of life; those songs practically sing themselves. But it's very hard to think of another singer who could bring such drama, subtlety and beauty to old songs about whaling and mining.


Born: 09 January 1947 in Orpington, Kent, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Singer Nic Jones was among the most acclaimed artists to emerge from the British folk revival, winning praise for his moving vocals as well as his prowess on guitar and fiddle. Greatly influenced by Martin Carthy, whose percussive guitar style Jones adopted for his own, he first surfaced during the late '60s as a member of the group the Halliard, mounting a solo career in 1970 with his debut album, Ballads and Songs. A collection of traditional tunes distinguished by Jones' outstanding instrumental...
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Penguin Eggs, Nic Jones
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