Return No More
Many of the songs on Return No More deal with exile in one form or another. Many are related to the Highland clearances. Cooper, Phil Cooper grew up with folk music, opera, and Evangelical Lutheran church music. He began his career as a guitarist in 1969 with a Sears Silvertone guitar, a photocopied sheet of chords, and a Phil Ochs songbook. Exposure in college to the folk-rock of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention led him straight back to traditional ballads and the vigorous finger-picked guitar playing of Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, and Bert Jansch. Phil performed in the 1970's with guitarist Brent Chilton and fiddler Kirk Chilton. In 1981 Depot Records released his solo album 'Hawk in the Morn.' Since 1982 Phil has travelled, performed, and recorded seventeen albums with singer Margaret Nelson, who shares his enthusiasm for a strong story paired with a lovely melody. Phil is also an ardent admirer of traditional Scottish fiddle music, and has recorded two CD's of his guitar settings of music from the Fraser, Skye, and Gow collections of fiddle tunes. Nelson Margaret Nelson has been singing as long as she can remember. As a child and teenager she sang in church and school choirs. In the early 60's her sisters brought home the Vanguard Joan Baez albums and a recording by the Berea College choir which included the ballad 'Earl O'Bran.' These albums permanently shifted her vocal interests toward the Anglo-American ballad tradition. Margaret sang with the Chicago trio Duck Duck Goose in 1980-81. Since teaming up with Phil Cooper in 1982, she has provided lead alto and harmony vocals, percussion and comic relief for Cooper & Nelson, and Cooper, Nelson & Early performances. Margaret is also active as a puppet teacher and maker of 'Maggie's Fancy Hand Puppets.' & Early Kate Early springs from Chicago's old West Side Irish enclave. Her musical roots run deep: there are two or more generations of musicians on both sides of her family. Kate herself is active as both a presenter and performer of traditional music and dance: She has Morris danced with the Windy City Women and Ravenswood Morris teams, has also taken up Belly dance, and is an active member and past President of the University of Chicago Folklore Society. She adds elegant mid-range vocal leads and harmonies, plus incidental percussion, to the Cooper, Nelson & Early musical mix.