VARIOUS ARTISTS – Dust on the Nettles: A Journey Through the British Underground Folk Scene 1967-72 (Grapefruit/Cherry Red CRSEGBOX030)

Dust on the NettlesIt was a time not only of music’s charting big names but also exploration by the Incredible String Band, Dr. Strangely Strange, developing folk rock (Pentangle; Fairport Convention; Steeleye Span), folk boomers pushing boundaries (Mick Softley; John Renbourn to whom the box is dedicated with Clive Palmer), and also a vibrant scene of counterculture comics, Alice in Wonderland on the Beeb in experimental form, revived novels by Hermann Hesse, Aldous Huxley, Tolkien, Krishna Consciousness, New Age, and Jesus Movements (one of which is here). David Wells’ myth-dispelling notes tells us that acid-folk was applied in the late ’60s, not retrospectively, as a quieter parallel to acid-rock. Martin Carthy called it “pagan” at the time.

Here, from 1967-72, are not only the famous, plus those of cult status, but also the obscure pressed in a few dozen copies to avoid VAT, unreleased demos, rare singles and soundtrack samples (Magnet, aka Hocket or Lodestone, for The Wicker Man; a very early Vashti Bunyan from Swinging London). It is a cornucopia, an extensive botanical garden of species and one-off hybrids, but why the absence of Dr. Strangely Strange, Forest, Third Ear Band, Blondel, Sweeney’s Men, Strawbs, Dulcimer, Dawnwind, ‘Mac’ Macleod…Why ‘British underground’ without leading Irish or Welsh for what was a cosmopolitan scene? Were Pentangle, Steeleye Span and Joan Armatrading ever underground pray tell? The title seems a bit like a punt into the wrong neighbours’ garden, the link to the sub-title eludes me, but such points are as titchy as a gnat’s boil regarding the overall musical delight. Nowadays box-sets are as much due to label ownership as personal taste or accuracy, hence contents as elastic as an elastic band used to be. Continue reading VARIOUS ARTISTS – Dust on the Nettles: A Journey Through the British Underground Folk Scene 1967-72 (Grapefruit/Cherry Red CRSEGBOX030)

Electric Eden now out on Universal Music…

Presenting the soundtrack to Rob Young’s ground-breaking survey of music making in the British Isles.

Universal Music Catalogue has now released Electric Eden, a new compilation, hand-picked by author and journalist Rob Young. The two disc set is designed to serve as a companion to Young’s highly acclaimed book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music which was published by Faber & Faber in 2010.

Just as the book mapped out a native British musical voice that reflected the complex relationships between town and country, progress and nostalgia, radicalism and conservatism, so too does this compilation.

It’s a veritable connoisseur’s choice of folk music which collects together such diverse artists as Archie Fisher, Meic Stevens, Bill Fay, Comus, and Mick Softley, even David Bowie – alongside the more expected names such as Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson, John Martyn, The Incredible String Band and Nick Drake.

The two disc set is divided into an Acoustic Eden and an Electric Eden and comes with comprehensive, track-by-track notes by Rob Young.

Comments Rob young: ‘This compilation is designed to follow the flow from acoustic to electric folk in the late 60s and early 70s, a magical time in British music. I’ve tried to include a mixture of rarities, unheard versions, familiar names and unjustly neglected heroes and heroines. I’m particularly proud of including a rare original version of ‘A Sailor’s Life’ by Fairport Convention, literally the first time a rock drum kit was ever used on a traditional folk song. History in the making!’

CD1

ACOUSTIC EDEN

1. Peter Bellamy – ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’

2. Traffic – ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’

3. Bert Jansch – ‘The Waggoner’s Lad’

4. Fairport Convention – ‘Stranger to Himself’

5. Archie Fisher – ‘Reynardine’

6. Bread, Love and Dreams – ‘Brother John’

7. Bill Fay – ‘Garden Song’

8. Water Into Wine Band – ‘Stranger in the World’

9. Tudor Lodge – ‘Willow Tree’

10. Comus – ‘Diana’

11. Meic Stevens – ‘Yorric’

12. Magic Carpet – ‘The Dream’

13. Sweeney’s Men – ‘The Pipe on the Hob’

14. Tim Hart & Maddy Prior – ‘False Knight on the Road’

15. Dr Strangely Strange – ‘Dark-Haired Lady’

16. Albion Country Band – ‘I Was a Young Man’

17. COB – ‘Music of the Ages’

18. Roger Nicholson – ‘The Carman’s Whistle’

19. Bridget St John – ‘Fly High’

20. John Martyn – ‘She Moves Through the Fair’

 

CD 2

ELECTRIC ALBION

1. Richard Thompson – ‘Roll over Vaughn Williams’

2. Steeleye Span – ‘The Lark in the Morning’

3. Unicorn – ‘Country Road’

4. Fairport Convention – ‘A Sailor’s Life’

5. Trees – ‘Glasgerion’

6. Fotheringay – ‘Gypsy Davey’

7. David Bowie – ‘Black Country Rock’

8. John Martyn – ‘Glistening Glyndebourne’

9. Mike Cooper – ‘Paper and Smoke’

10. Shelagh McDonald – ‘Mirage’

11. Spirogyra – ‘Disraeli’s Problem’

12. Mick Softley – ‘Time Machine’

13. Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band – ‘Murder of Maria Marten’

14. Pentangle – ‘Jack Orion’

15. Incredible String Band – ‘Painted Chariot’

16. Nick Drake – ‘Voices’

Listen to tracks or order/ download from the links below: