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Topic is a record label much associated with Folk in England and having started in 1939 claims to be

'probably the oldest independent record label in the world ...'.

Many Folk, Roots and World artists have recorded through Topic and no Folkie's collection is without at least a few of these.

Actually, Topic separated from the Workers Music Association in 1960 so whether it is 69 years old or just 48 is a matter for debate.

Topic recordings were mainly vinyl but early shellac 78s and later CDs exist as does the odd cassette. The first recording, TRC1 is a Shellac 78 from 1939 containing the tracks:

The Man Who Put The Water In The Workers' Beer (Paddy Ryan; arr Alfred Roberts). Paddy Ryan (of the Unity Theatre) with guitar accomp.

The Internationale (Degeyter; arr. A. Bush). The Topic Singers & Band cond. Will Sahnow.

The collection includes recordings of all the greats of the Folk World (Albion Band, Aly Bain, Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Copper Family, Dick Gaughan, Ashley Hutchings, Ewan MacColl, Dave Swarbrick, June Tabor and the Watersons to name but a few) and compilation recordings such as Northumbrian Smallpipes or Sea Shanties. The Voice of the People series is a treat as real roots performances by working people rather than professional entertainers.

banjolin January 22, 2008