Lal Waterson

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Lal Waterson (born Elaine Waterson; 15 February 1943 - 4 September 1998) was an English folksinger and songwriter. She sang with, among others, The Watersons, The Waterdaughters and Blue Murder. She was born in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire and died suddenly in Robin Hood's Bay, of cancer diagnosed only ten days before. 'Lal Waterson's voice was stark but captivating, her songs lyrically ambitious and melodically powerful.'

Lal Waterson was the sister of Norma Waterson and Mike Waterson, the aunt of Eliza Carthy, and the sister-in-law of Martin Carthy. She was survived by her husband of 30 years, George Knight, and her two children, Oliver Knight and Maria Gilhooley, with both of whom she had recorded albums.


Lal, Norma, and Mike Waterson were orphans and brought up by their grandmother who was of part gypsy descent. Always very close, they began singing together, with cousin John Harrison, in the 1950s, with Lal 'singing unexpected harmonies.' Having opened their own folk club in a pub in the fishing port of Hull where they grew up, by the mid 1960s they had developed their own unaccompanied style singing harmony style re-workings of traditional English songs. In 1968 they stopped touring and became geographically separate for the first time - Norma went to Montserrat, and Lal to Leeds where her husband George lived, while Mike stayed in Hull. Both Mike and Lal were writing...
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