Briggs was born in Nottinghamshire in 1944 and began singing folk music while still in her teens. Within a couple of years she was a regular at local folk clubs, getting her big break as a result of the Centre 42 tour of 1962. The Centre 42 tour was an attempt by musicians and other artists (backed and supported by trade unions) to deliver politically leftist cultural activities to areas outside of London. Part of Centre 42’s appeal was that in each city, local talent would audition for a slot as a support act. It was here that Briggs got her shot and was discovered by British folk legend Ewan MacColl. She was so good that MacColl convinced her to leave school and join the rest of the tour. While touring with Centre 42, Briggs began working with MacColl’s friend and co-architect of the British folk music revival, Bert Lloyd. Briggs considers him the most important influence on her work, and her debut EP, The Hazards of Love, had Lloyd’s fingerprints all over it. But he was not a mere Svengali trying to take advantage of a teenage folksinger; he wanted to give her the direction (as well as the songs) she needed to become a huge talent. Lloyd was smart enough to realize that this was an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime type of singer, and he treated her with kid gloves, getting her to relax (Briggs was notorious for her nervousness) and helping her record some wonderful music. But Briggs had a problem with recording her singing — she hated doing it and hated the way she sounded, so much so that she retired from music, three years shy of 30, already touted as the greatest legend in English folk music. Briggs still lives semi-reclusively in England and is still not recording or singing in public, but her influence remains powerful. As guitarist Martin Carthy so aptly put it: “She didn’t mess about. There were no histrionics. There was no posing. There was no self-conscious style. She sang fluidly, easily, with tremendous passion.” – John Dougan, Allmusic
Earth Recordings reissued ‘The Time Has Come’ on 30th June 2017.
‘The Time Has Come’ is an absolute master class on words and guitar twisting into one another – the poetry goes beyond simple observation into deeply personal and profound lore. A timeless document of sweet and haunting melodies. My favorite record of all time.’ Ryley Walker