No Masters, the northern-based song-writing co-operative, was formed by John Tams and Jim Boyes in 1990. It sought out writers, performers and musicians who were, in their various ways, seeking to celebrate and extend those bits of the people's tradition invariably described as 'radical' or 'political'.
Since then, its membership has expanded to include outstanding writers and performers such as Mike Waterson, Jo Freya, Lester Simpson, Barry Coope, Fi Fraser, Ray Hearne, Chumbawamba, and the late Lal Waterson.
No Masters celebrates songwriting that addresses issues: that is rooted in its time and its communities: that is engaged with the struggles confronting and reshaping those communities: that pays homage to its traditions by reworking them; and that is unafraid to take sides whilst eschewing propaganda. It is a unique force in folk music.
The first of four releases on No Masters in 2016. Look out for forthcoming CDs from Ray Hearne, Coope Boyes & Simpson, and O'Hooley & Tidow.