Well, the group still consists of sister Pat and brothers Tom, Chris, Steve, Ken and Mike. They still record and release the odd album every now and again, the most recent being "Stocking Tops" produced by the wonderful Mr Steve Rusby. They still sing traditionally orientated songs in unaccompanied harmony, like to have a bit of a laugh and wash it all down with a few odd pints. That's about it really!
It seems unbelievable, though inescapable, that 2008 marks 35 years since Tom, Chris and Steve made their first, tentative foray into harmony group singing. Even more incredible is that it’s almost 30 years since Pat, Ken and Mike joined in, and the line-up has barely altered in that time.
We have always thought of ourselves as quite an unremarkable family, living quite unremarkable lives indeed. When festivals programme us to do a "meet the Wilson family" we are invariably at a loss for words.
What people say...
"There`s a musical honesty about them that links past and present together. They are among the people who go about singing traditional songs that move me - which I really love, because that's what I try to do. But what appeals to me about them, apart from their musical skill, is their honesty. They are what they are and do what they do and say what they say and it's very direct and I love that. They're not pretenders.” - Dick Gaughan
"The Northern Wilsonia - a vocal orchestra…" - Peter Bellamy (RIP)
"They have synthesised the qualities of all their major influences, which sets them apart as one of the foremost harmony groups entertaining folk audiences today” - Roy Harris (RIP)
"Singing with the Wilson Family makes life a whole lot easier” - Louis Killen (RIP)
The Wilson Family’s Recordings On Harbourtown Records
"The Wilson Family Album"
Tracks: John Barleycorn / The Mistress's Health / Beggars Carol / May Garlands / Thyme / The Jolly Ploughboys / Bay of Mexico / Sweep Chimney Sweep / Byker Hill / Young Banker / Hawks and Eagles / Children of Africa / Somewhere in Japan / Think Again / Big Steamers / Nelson's Death and Victory / Close the Coalhouse Door
The Wilson Family is an instantly recognisable and unfailingly popular feature of the English folk festival and club scene. Born and bred in Billingham with the heavy industries of Teesside all around and the Durham coalfield to the North, the five Wilson brothers have developed a uniquely muscular approach to the art of unaccompanied harmony singing.
Like other family groups such as the Watersons and the Coppers - both of whom remain major influences - The Wilsons have an instinctive mutual understanding. They sing as they feel, and the sheer power of these five voices is awesome. At last The Wilson Family has set down a collection of their own favourites, and they have never sounded better.
Here is a collection of songs drawn from an enormous repertoire and refined by years of performance delivered with a conviction driven by a love of song and the very joy of singing - the wait has surely been worthwhile!
This album was originally recorded in 1992 and was only available on vinyl LP or cassette. When we began to listen to the material to re-master for CD we found an extra track (Rap Her T'Bank) which had not been included in the original release due to the time limitations of the LP format. So here is the full set of tracks remastered for CD.
Other Recordings By The Wilson Family:
“Horumarye” - Greenwich Village GVR219
“Aal Tegithor Like The Foalks O’Sheilds” - Greenwich Village GVR223
“The Third World War” - Greenwich Village GVR239
“Stocking Tops - The Wilson Family Live” - Pure Records PRCD02