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Max Boyce

Max Boyce: Hymns & Arias – The Selected Poems, Songs and Stories (paperback)

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  • £20

This book will be released in October 2023.

Pre-orders are charged at time of order and the book will be posted to you as soon as it becomes available.

UK postage is 99 pence per order.


Max Boyce is a hero of mine and many others. We had his records in our house when I was growing up and my mother and father went to his concerts. To have the opportunity to work with him and produce this retrospective representing over fifty years of creativity is a real honour for Parthian. He captures the spirit and the story of the people of Wales with a warmth and charm that has made his words and music resonate with a worldwide audience. There is only one Max.  

‘a wonderful, illustrated volume capturing five decades of creativity... Max Boyce is a chronicler as much as a comedian, a poet as much as a performer’ – Carolyn Hitt, The Western Mail

‘gloriously put together, shot through with photographs, fine illustrations and perfectly apposite cartoons’ – Jon Gower, Nation.Cymru

‘a welcome, long overdue tribute to our much-loved Valleys troubadour’ – Liz Jones, New Welsh Review

‘Max Boyce has earned his place in the Cultural Pantheon of Wales.’ – Dai Smith, Wales Arts Review


When 'Hymns and Arias' rang out at Cardiff Arms Park some fifty years ago, those great Welsh anthems 'Calon Lân' and 'Cwm Rhondda' had found a companion and the valleys of south Wales had produced a new folk hero.

Max Boyce’s work, with over five decades of creativity, captures the spirit and the story of the people of Wales. It also has a warmth and charm that has made his words and music resonate with a worldwide audience.

From his early days touring the folk clubs and small concert halls of his native south Wales to sell-out shows at some of the world's most iconic venues, including the Albert Hall, the London Palladium and the opera houses of Sydney and Durban, Max has become an original and treasured performer whose songs and stories have become part of folk culture. His albums, including the No. 1 album We All Had Doctors' Papers and the iconic Live at Treorchy, have sold in their millions and earned him several gold discs. His greatest influence has always been the Valleys of Wales, with their inherent warmth and humour, their sadness and passion, and he has the remarkable ability to heighten, to an art form, the ‘hwyl’ that attends his nation's national game: rugby union.

Compiling – in some instances for the first time in print – the very best songs, poems and stories from across his celebrated career, Max Boyce: Hymns & Arias is the definitive selected work of a major cultural figure who, through his inimitable humour, uniquely Welsh pathos and masterful wordcraft, has defined a nation and its people for more than half a century.

Max Boyce, singer-songwriter, poet and entertainer, was born in the village of Glynneath in south Wales, where he still lives. Despite the fact that his father was killed in a mining explosion a month before Max was born, Max went on to work underground in the local colliery at the age of sixteen. In 1973, he recorded his breakthrough album, Live at Treorchy, and followed it with 1975’s We All Had Doctors’ Papers – still the only comedy album to top the UK Albums Chart. His BBC television series attracted over twenty million viewers and merely confirmed Max’s popularity among young and old alike. In 1999, he was awarded an MBE, which he received from Prince Charles at Cardiff Castle, and in 2013 he received the Freedom of the Borough of Neath and Port Talbot, following in the footsteps of Sir Richard Burton and Sir Anthony Hopkins.
In 2022, there are plans to unveil a bronze life-size statue of Max in his hometown – a fitting and deserved tribute to a modern-day folk hero whose poems, songs and stories have become part of Welsh legend.