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|Dorothy Ann Collins|
6 March 1933|
Hastings, Sussex, England
|Died||22 September 1995
Balcombe, West Sussex
|Instruments||Piano, portative organ|
|Labels||Harvest Records, Island Records|
|Shirley Collins, Albion Band, The Incredible String Band, Matthews' Southern Comfort, Peter Bellamy|
Born in Hastings, Sussex (now East Sussex), she grew up in an artistic, socialist, folk singing family. She learned the piano at school, and then studied with composer Alan Bush while taking odd jobs in London, including working as a bus conductor. In the mid-1960s she began working with her sister Shirley, who was establishing a reputation as a leading folk singer. She arranged some of Shirley's songs and, on the album Sweet Primeroses, accompanied her on portative organ.
Further work with Shirley followed: Shirley said "You could launch yourself off on a Dolly arrangement." In 1968 they produced the album Anthems in Eden, commissioned by BBC Radio and written for a six-piece early music consort directed by David Munrow, and regularly toured together. Dolly also worked as a musician and arranger with other singers and bands, including The Incredible String Band on The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1967), Matthews' Southern Comfort on their debut album (1969), and Peter Bellamy on the ballad opera The Transports (1977).
By the late 1970s she retreated from touring and live concerts, and earned a living from gardening. Her last recordings were with Shirley on the album For As Many as Will (1978). She continued to compose, however, and just before her death she completed a cycle of First World War poems and a new mass written with the poet Maureen Duffy. She died at home in Balcombe, West Sussex.