An English folk group from Hull, Yorkshire, the Watersons performed mainly traditional songs with little or no accompaniment. Their distinctive sound came from their close harmonies.
Original members were Norma Waterson, Mike Waterson, and Lal Waterson, with their cousin John Harrison from Kingston High School. They had a skiffle band in the early 1960s but moved on to playing more traditional material. They were briefly known as "The Folksons".
Their first album was Frost and Fire 1965 (awarded the "Melody Maker" Album of the Year, a rarity for a debut album) followed by The Watersons and A Yorkshire Garland in 1966. The Watersons split up in 1968 when Norma went to work as a disc jockey on a radio station on Montserrat.
The group reformed in 1972 with John Harrison briefly replaced by Bernie Vickers. He in turn was replaced the same year by Norma's husband, and respected folk singer in his own right, Martin Carthy. This lineup recorded For Pence and Spicy Ale (1975), Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy (1977), and Green Fields (1981).
Later lineups featured Mike Waterson's daughter Rachel Waterson, who briefly replaced Lal during a leave of absence caused by ill health in the mid-1980s, then continued to sing with the group on Lal's return.
Lal Waterson died in 1998 and by the early 1990s Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson and their daughter Eliza Carthy had formed the group Waterson:Carthy.
The Watersons gradually ceased to sing live on a regular basis but the family occasionally reconvened for special events and festival appearances. The most recent of these were A Mighty River of Song at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 May 2007, the BBC Electric Proms concert Once in a Blue Moon: A Tribute to Lal Waterson at Cecil Sharp House in London on 25 October 2007 and 'A Tribute to Bert,' a concert celebrating the life and work of Albert Lloyd, at Cecil Sharp House on the 15th November 2008. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.