She Moves Through the Fair: Anne Briggs″

Anne Briggs, “She Moves Through the Fair” (1963).

Anne Briggs, from Nottinghamshire, sings the Colum version a capella in a voice that is pure and unaffected. She has said that she learnt the song from Margaret Barry (this statement appears in the liner notes of the anthology, A Collection).

Although Briggs recording career was brief (she was a ‘reluctant star’), she was closely involved in the nascent English folk revival of the 1960s and was an inspiration to many of the luminaries of that movement, including Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior and June Tabor. I believe that Denny learnt “She Moves Through the Fair” from Briggs, and then took the song with her to Fairport Convention. Briggs was romantically involved with Bert Jansch, who has also recorded the song.

Briggs’ version of “She Moves Through the Fair” is one of my favourites. To my mind, this recording is the first truly modern interpretation; Briggs’ recording was certainly responsible for the song’s subsequent popularity during the 1960s and beyond.

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