RIP Caroline Crawley

Shelleyan Orphan left a four album legacy encompassing many unforgettable songs. Caroline Crawley – one of the least heralded victims in 2016’s celebrity death epidemic – left a larger recorded legacy including outstanding performances with Babacar and [especially] This Mortal Coil, plus worthy lesser-spotted guest appearances (e,g with The Cure in Mansfield 1989: not inconsequential given her relationship with Boris Williams).

Obviously she wrote or co-wrote, and sang lead or co-lead, on those four outstanding Shelleyan Orphan albums. Century Flower – though arguably the least satisfying of those albums, in nuts-and-bolts songwriting terms – is the keynote work in terms of Caroline’s vocal performances. Her voice wasn’t, in truth, S.O’s unique characterizing determining factor (that would be Jem Tayle’s peculiar contra-tenor voice) – but on Century Flower the voice matures, gains some added roughness (no longer merely a pretty-little-thing) and possibly expands in range. (It’s here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TRiIgdn9JI)

I hope the other three albums are uploaded to YouTube shortly.

Newcomers are directed to Humroot and We Have Everything We Need, these being the most consistent and certainly the most musically diverse (also Caroline sounds divine throughout the latter album!). [Try these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zDh1PtksoQ and then https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAA3hJA9JdY). Meanwhile their debut Helleborine demands attention as an “aesthetic manifesto” – with all the neo-chamber-music stylings and literary references the band name might suggest. (try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwttiOkdIHs)