6/22/17 – Anne Briggs “The Time Has Come” (1971)

After a wave of weird and experimental albums, I decided it was time to bring it back to a genre of music that I have always loved and likely always will, Folk. Anne Briggs is an English singer-songwriter who recorded all of her work in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and has been a musical recluse since. Her previous albums were much more focused on renditions of traditionals, and The Time Has Come was her first album with most of the songs self-written. It’s now known as a hidden gem of the genre, something I didn’t know when I picked it out of the handful of recommendations. It was just the album art that stuck out – her confident pose, guitar on her shoulder, and greyhound at her feet. Her voice is just beautiful, and she sings in between an urban and a more country Folk sound. Much to her dismay, the guitar and vocals were recorded with some slight reverb, but this gives the album a unique flavor hinting at Psychedelic, even it was unintended.

She opens the album with Sandman’s Song, featuring a very warm guitar and Brigg’s equally comforting voice. The structure of this song is very fluid and loose, nearly improvisational, and I like how she plays with it. I love how quickly the instrumental track comes in on this album; right after the opener is the equally sprawling Highlodge Hare. Soon after is Ride, Ride- an especially poignant song, the way she bends her notes during the bridge somehow hits straight to my core and I well up. It’s a song about the train robber “Railroad Bill”, but it feels more about the loneliness that comes with living on the fringe of society. If that wasn’t enough, the follow up is the eponymous The Time Has Come, a simple but melancholic break up song. It’s simplicity gives it some serious Nick Drake vibes, and I love the way she intones the chorus:
“Oh, my babe, don’t you know
The time has come for me to go.
Tomorrow comes like yesterday
The autumn fades our love away”

Anne Briggs’ version of Standing on the Shore is enchanting and soothing, the reverb helping out on this song more than any other. It’s such a lonely song but her voice is so ethereal and calming that I can’t help but daydream during it, and I only wish it lasted twice as long. Fine Horseman bookends the album with another flowing song like the opener. The melancholy emotion that is pervasive through the album is of course here too, and I really love this as the closer. It’s a real shame she wasn’t happy with her work, she recorded a follow up album but blocked it’s release because she didn’t like how it turned out. Although she hasn’t recorded another album since, she still left us with an absolute gem. The Time Has Come is a fantastic album from start to finish, and if you’re a fan of Folk like me – you need to check this out ASAP.