British Folk (and Revival)

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I heard a piece on NPR today about the revival of British Folk. They also spoke of the older original British Folk bands. Does anyone know of a list or website that has all the info about this? You know, lists the bands, shows a tree, and the revival bands as well as the original ones... Let me know! Thanks, Jay

Jay Boucher, Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:04 (sixteen years ago) link

It's suprisingly hard to find good Brit folk revival (and folk revival revival etc) info... partially bcz folkies generally don't like to think too hard about their music bcz it wld disrupt some of their foundational myths.

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:15 (sixteen years ago) link

Tricky one, I've no idea about a 'revival' of British folk - it seems to have been going pretty strong since the popularisation of folk clubs over the last half-century. It's interesting what Raw Patrick says about folkies' "foundational myths"... I often find that most folkies actually have quite a narrow minded approach to folk-ish music that does not fall within certain boundaries. A friend of mine who runs a local folk club sees 60s 'psych folk' type bands as some kind of hideous embarassment and not something to be imitated at any cost! Then again, he's quite happy to listen to the vomit-inducing Jim Moray's cheesy electronic folk excursions, since he's somehow endorsed by the folk "establishment" (Radio 3?).

FWIW - a few of my favorite original British folkies:
Shiley & Dolly Collins
John Kirkpatrick (early 70s stuff is great)
The Watersons
Andy Irvine & Paul Brady
A L Lloyd
Nic Jones (criminally unsung!?)
...and many more...

Rombald, Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:35 (sixteen years ago) link

From the top of my mind, a British folk revival would include:

- Espers
- the return of Vashti Bunyan

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:43 (sixteen years ago) link

- Feathers
- Faun Fables
- In Gowan Ring
- Colossus

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:44 (sixteen years ago) link

The English folk revival proper covers pretty much the whole of the 20th C., but I presume that what they were talking about on the radio is stuff a lot more modern than early Topic records recordings on 78. From the late 19th C. people begin trying to write down folk songs that are being lost as systems of local oral transmission are breaking down (even then the only people who knew some of these songs were the oldest people in the village.) But try discussing w/folkies that maybe there isn't a system of oral transmission anymore, or that folk, as is any music, is a social construct and not something that has existed forever, unchanging. They tend to get pissy, put it that way.

I would recommend these records as a way of getting into folk, or just for any reason whatsoever bcz they're fucking amazing:

Fairport Convention - Liege and Lief (Tam Lyn is amybe my favourite song ever.)
Steeleye Span - The Lark in the Morning (a two CD comp. of their first 3 LPs which is all you need by them - includes a transcendent version of When I Was on Horeseback. These LPs are also a big fave with Simon Reynolds)
Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band - No Roses (the only folk album to feature someone to have played on a damned LP)

They should all be able to be found cheaply.

Alasdair Roberts - Farewell Sorrow is an excellent modern LP and on Drag City/Rough Trade so easy to find for indie kids.

The show might've been talking about Spiers and Boden or Eliza Carthy, who're more part of folk music 'proper' or anyone though, so this may be of no help.

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 00:30 (sixteen years ago) link

This would be a good book about the folk revival if the author could write, wasn't thick and it wasn't shit.

If anyone can point me toward good books on this subject I'd be very happy.

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Also, Summerisle by Momus and Anne Laplantine is fucking great.

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 00:40 (sixteen years ago) link

"As a long-time Momus fan I can hardly bring myself to utter these next few words - this album is by far his worst piece of work to date and I will not be listening to it again - EVER!!! I have never begrudged handing over my cash for a Momus album but this one will be going straight back to where I bought it for a refund." sez one satisfied Amazon reviewer!

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 00:42 (sixteen years ago) link

I dunno what Robald's talking about though bcz Jim Moray sounds groovy:

"English-rose front-man, Moray, laces the lyrics of folklore with powerful Matrix-styled guitars, film-score piano and a backing band which grinds together electric double bass and thundering drums. His presence on stage is something to behold. He looks scruffy on his website but he's beautiful in person.

Don't confuse this fresh indie approach with the folk rock of Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span, but rather be surprised to sense impressions of Ben Folds greets Depeche Mode greets Evanescence. It's all here, whichever musical genre ticks your box, Moray can offer it up without confusion or the awkwardness of musical experimentations. He even played the piano with his arms crossed at one point."

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 00:47 (sixteen years ago) link

There is no doubt that British Folk from the 60s/70s is having a large influence on the Freak Folk/Free Folk/New Weird America scene.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Thursday, 15 December 2005 00:49 (sixteen years ago) link

No doubt at all.. the new stuff doesn't measure up though, it's mostly pretty wussy. A lot of the 60s/70s stuff is rhythmically pretty hot and heavy in a way that the newer stuff isn't.

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 01:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Raw Patrick - good call on Spiers & Boden, I've seen them live a few times - always a pleasure.

Re: Jim Moray - I suppose the artists that provoke the strongest reactions are the most interesting... I like the idea that folk can be moved in new and strange directions, but what I've heard of Jim's music does nothing for me - the beats and sounds seemed a little clichéd and it all felt a bit MOR to me, I'm afraid. Shame, because I'd really like to like him! :(

Rombald, Thursday, 15 December 2005 08:09 (sixteen years ago) link

As an addendum - perhaps JM will cut loose a bit more on his second album? IIRC his first was done as part of a university music course, so he may have had to play a bit safer?

I don't know how helpful it will be to the original poster, but might turn up some interesting stuff, although it's more concerned with psychedelic, odd and abstract folky stuff (oldies like Incredible String Band, Comus, Forest and new stuff like the 'New Weird America' thing).

Rombald, Thursday, 15 December 2005 08:17 (sixteen years ago) link

this is a pretty gd bk on the english folk revival:

Ward Fowler (Ward Fowler), Thursday, 15 December 2005 09:55 (sixteen years ago) link

These LPs are also a big fave with Simon Reynolds

... and this is significant in what way exactly?

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 09:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I really like the Karine Polwart album.

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:07 (sixteen years ago) link

The thing I don't really get is that the stuff which the young people seem to be calling new folk or wyrd folk or whatever doesn't really sound like folk to me, it sounds like folk-tinged singer songwriter material. Not that there's anything at all wrong with that, I like some of the stuff (especially King Creosote and some of his Fence mates). (NB this is an observation adapted from a theme taught to me in a pub one evening by Dadaismus, who knows a lot more about this stuff than I.)

The Eighteenth Day of May come closer than anyone else I've heard to that late 60s / early 70s British folk-rock sound. They're good.

Tim (Tim), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:07 (sixteen years ago) link

Folkies aren't generally very hip people, no matter what age they are. That's just the way it seems to be. That's in Britain of course.

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:12 (sixteen years ago) link

Lucky Luke and Espers are both rockin' the actual britfolk thing, Pentangle and Fairport Convention style, but the latter suck.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:15 (sixteen years ago) link

I heard a song by each and wasn't enormously taken with eiter. I had it in my head that Espers were real actual Americans. Am I wrong about that?

Tim (Tim), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:24 (sixteen years ago) link

I think they're Americans, but they totally sound exactly like Fairport Convention, only with the occasional (disappointing) freak-out and much, much weaker songs.

Lucky Luke (from Glasgow) are great, though... go see them live and/or anticipate the next record.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:28 (sixteen years ago) link

A lot of the 60s/70s stuff is rhythmically pretty hot and heavy in a way that the newer stuff isn't.

Okay, so we're talking about folk rock here right,rather than straight-up trad folk, which can hot and heavy enough in its own addled way? I would love it if I could stumble on some decent bands that were ploughing the same sort of furrow as peak-era Fairport or Trees or whatever and that didn't suck outright. I know it's sort of backwards looking of me, but there's a certain clanging and organic feel and texture and god damn guitar sound that I never really feel I can hear enough of. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. All I can think of right now that fit the bill in any way are Ghost and Acid Mothers Temple ca. La Novia. Certainly no British bands that I've come across.

X-posts: I don't mind Espers, but they seem rather too gentle for me. Lucky Luke I've heard of, but am yet to hear.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:32 (sixteen years ago) link

this is the place to go:

for all your brit-folk needs!

also worth looking out for, a new compilation called Strange Folk, with tracks from the aforementioned Vashti, Tyranosaurus Rex, Donovan, Espers, Incredible String Band, Lucky Luke (iirc) and loads of other ace people I can't remember cos i left it at home.

CharlieNo4 (Charlie), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:34 (sixteen years ago) link

To play that sort of stuff you have to be a really shit hot musician - I mean, Richard Thompson, Swarbrick, Dave Mattacks, Martin Carthy etc etc. Prime time Fairport are like the Mahavishnu Orchestra in Arran sweaters.

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:37 (sixteen years ago) link

That is a fucking good way of putting it.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:39 (sixteen years ago) link

I wish more bands were interested in causing a ruckus rather than dancing round the bong like doe-eyed gnomes. I'm afraid we've left the bacchnalian part to Julian Cope and I think that's a fucking travesty.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Sorry, way too much coffee.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:50 (sixteen years ago) link

ISB are easier to do than Fairport/Steeleye... I know, I've tried

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 10:59 (sixteen years ago) link

These LPs are also a big fave with Simon Reynolds

... and this is significant in what way exactly?

-- We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (dadaismu...), December 15th, 2005 9:56 AM. (Dada) (later)

I just thought it was ILM law to mention Reynolds whenever possible.

I wish there were more songs like Tam Lyn by Fairport, i.e funky Black Sabbath. Swedish doom band Witchcraft get there sometimes.

most of the the wyrd-folk stuff is only surface level weird. The second Steeleye recording of The Blacksmith is so much more bizarre than any of them, and that isn't even what it's trtying to do - what an amazing arrangement it has. Modern wyrd-folk types too much like Colin Hunt types... "You do have to be mad to work here but it doesn't help" etc.

Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:04 (sixteen years ago) link

I just thought it was ILM law to mention Reynolds whenever possible.

You're right

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Who was it who came up with the term "Wyrd Folk" in the first place? What a shit genre term! It stinks of a decal job - of someone imposing their bullshit meaning/issues or wtfe on something that already existed. Fuck that shit. I mean really. Fuck it.

The message I'm getting from this thread is that newer musicans aren't up to the standard of older musicians in folk music? Obviously ppl like mattacks, dransfield, guys from gryphon, thompson etc are hard to follow (evidence on eg Fairport's ROCKING live album "House Full") but I had kind of thought folk would be a genre where powerful/expressive musicianship/group playing would still be at some sort of premium. Dissapointing if not so.

Anyway, "No Roses" by Shirley Collins/Albion band is fucking great, and should get more props, basically.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Also, little known album is the comp of Etchingham Steam
Band recordings - Shirley C and Ashley H's "unplugged" ensemble from the early 1970's. Unplugged so they could still do gigs even when there power cuts! Worth picking up, anyway, as is anything w/Shirley C singing on it, TBH.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Yer right there Pash, "No Roses" is the fucking business

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:30 (sixteen years ago) link

For me "The Murder of Maria Marten" is a strong contender for the best piece of music ever recorded. I ration myself, not listening to it too often because it's TOO POWERFUL.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:32 (sixteen years ago) link

Pashmina - No Roses is great, but don't you find the bass and drums on Albion Band and related albums (such as Morris On) somewhat... plodding and uninspired? Especially compared to Span or Fairport...
That said, I'll agree Maria Marten is absolutely incredible!

AFAIK the terrible term wyrd-folk was coined by Stone Breath's Tim Renner.

Rombald, Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Errrrrrrrrrrrr, bass and drums on "No Roses" - Hutchings (definitely) and Mattacks (probably)? Or Gerry Conway at least?

But, before I begin to sound like a prog rocker, you don't have to be a brilliant musician to play folk music - in fact, one of the reasons I got sick of that whole scene was its muso-ishness (especially, fiddle players who only want to play as fast and as twiddly as possible!). To play like Fairport you have to be pretty good tho of course!

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Pash, you have "Rise Up Like the Sun"?

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:37 (sixteen years ago) link

That's how I got into liking folk music! John Peel playing "Poor Old Horse" after he'd finished playing siouxsie and the banshees etc back in the late '70's.

Morris On I like, other Albions stuff I'm not mad on, really. Perhaps the drums are why? I haven't listened to any for a while.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:39 (sixteen years ago) link

Another album not much talked about but which I'm very fond: "Storm Force Ten" by Steeleye, 1978 edition

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Pash, you have "Rise Up Like the Sun"?

That's a good record that is. 'Lay Me Low' or whatever it's called just kills me. Totally tramples over any sort of aesthetic barriers I might have erected against that sort of soppy twaddle and stomps all over my jaded old heart. Sniffle.

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, it's a heartbreaker that one... especially in conjunction with the "Ampleforth" tune. Then there's the "Gresford Disaster"! (Sniffles turned to floods by now)

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 11:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Also search Bert Jansch, Roy Harper.

Didn't really know there was any "revival" of British folk right now in terms of new bands playing it. I knew there was a revival of interest in the last few years, otherwise I wouldn't really know who Fairport Convention was, honestly.

I've often thought that 60s British folk revivalists treated folk music with much more respect and subtlty than their American counterparts did (who went for "simplicity" and "rawness"). This might also explain why I find Brit bands better at playing blues than their white American counterparts.

Abbadavid Berman (Hurting), Thursday, 15 December 2005 15:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Suspect the forthcoming, budget-priced 4 CD Anthems in Eden [An Anthology of British and Irish Folk 1955-1978] should be on your wish list for the new year. From Lonnie Donnegan to Comus is a weird ride....

ortho_bob (ortho_bob), Thursday, 15 December 2005 16:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Not to deny your 'Maria Marten' love, Pash, but I've always found that 'Poor Murdered Woman' slays me even more - it's not as weird, sure, but it genuinely affects me on a mental and physical level like little else I can think of (ie. it makes me want to cry).

myopic_void (myopic_void), Thursday, 15 December 2005 17:28 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm with you on that one, "Poor Murdered Woman", it's so journalistic and unsensational

We Buy a Hammer For Dadaismus (Dada), Thursday, 15 December 2005 17:38 (sixteen years ago) link

And I might as well declare that I prefer the first Steeleye album to Liege and Lief. And Full House is also superior imo. S: 'Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman', there's little better. And I've really been getting into those Richard & Linda albums. 'Calvary Cross', ... whoah.

myopic_void (myopic_void), Thursday, 15 December 2005 17:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Espers sound NOTHING like Fairport Convention.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Thursday, 15 December 2005 17:56 (sixteen years ago) link

so wait, Espers are trying to sound like Fairport Convention who were trying to sound like Jefferson Airplane?

search: Shirley and Dolly Collins "Plains of Waterloo."

and sweet heavens, some forty posts in let me be the first to say the hallowed name of Davy Graham.

imbidimts, Thursday, 15 December 2005 18:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Espers sound NOTHING like Fairport Convention.

Have you seen them? Because they fucking do. Or did when they opened for Devendra in Edinburgh. But crap.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Thursday, 15 December 2005 18:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I feel like there's something - maybe deliberate - that folk revival people were doing that generates a lot of the eerieness. Compare different versions of a standard like "Lord Bateman", Nic Jones's for example has a tune that's at odds with the lyric in adding this layer of melancholy to it v=wMI11GaHC00 v=0C_wyEpaNP8

Driving Drone for Christmas (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 December 2018 23:05 (three years ago) link v=wMI11GaHC00 v=0C_wyEpaNP8

Driving Drone for Christmas (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 December 2018 23:07 (three years ago) link

I'm in my cups listening to Bright Phoebus, which will probably be the tone of the holidays.

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Sunday, 23 December 2018 23:07 (three years ago) link

gah, phone links

Driving Drone for Christmas (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 23 December 2018 23:07 (three years ago) link

so this is the one that really sticks in my head and i find myself humming loudly in public.
got good seats for Shirley's roundhouse show early next year and really looking forward to it

Hmmmmm (jamiesummerz), Sunday, 23 December 2018 23:40 (three years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I think "Winifer Odd" is the best demo on the second disc of Bright Phoebus. It has something a little different from the official version, maybe it's mostly the guitars?

I saw another two copies in Fopp and bought one for a friend. Surprised there's still a bunch sitting around in shops.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 11 January 2019 17:43 (three years ago) link

nine months pass...

Listening to Once in a Blue Moon and Bed of Roses by Lal Waterson and Oliver Knight on this rainy November morning in the office. Lal's lyrics induce a pleasant vertigo, like being next in line for a roller coaster or when you get just a little bit of opiate and a chance to lie down.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 7 November 2019 16:38 (two years ago) link

i don't think i've heard that one ... will have to check it out.
i've been revisiting the Electric Muse comp in a big way over the past couple months — a really pleasurable and revealing listen.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 November 2019 16:52 (two years ago) link

It's two albums from the 90s that Lal Waterson recorded with her son... she sadly died while Bed of Roses was being recorded in 1998.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 7 November 2019 17:06 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Thanks for the heads up, I saw them in Fopp and picked them up.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 23 November 2019 15:48 (two years ago) link

three months pass...

I rewatched Olivier Assayas's Something in the Air last night and really took notice of Amazing Blondel's "Fantasia Lindum" (1971). Afterwards, was able to order it and another of their albums as a twofer CD.

clemenza, Saturday, 21 March 2020 15:01 (two years ago) link

from Post-Fahey etc. Pt 2 thread:
Just listened to John Rebourn's The Attic Tapes, out Oct. 16. They go back at least to '62---he died before getting all the dates, but his commentary is really fluent, analyzing some of the songs, without getting pedantic, and talking about how several of them came together, incl. ones whose (probable) sources were unguessed way back when he learned 'em: who knew "Can't Keep From Cryin'" was a Blind Willie, and it's one of several familiar titles who sound really different from any version I knew.
He also talks about finding traces of the UK songster Davey Graham in various cities, ideas that lodged in the heads of musos who may well have had no reel-to-reels, or anyway didn't need one to summon the bits that JR puts together here. Mind you, he does give Graham the writer's credit for the opening tightly loose bedsit version of "Anji"(that's from the box marked "1962").
Most are like that, as he says up front, with no thought they'd ever be heard---apprentice JR, but he's already got it, and the audio's a lot better than I expected: just whoosh on the hemp carpet, and You Are There. Ditto the live tracks, where you can tell he knew somebody was listening.
He's an okay-to-good singer, maybe more the former, but we also get a couple of nice jolts from Beverly Martyn, on young Donovan's Jansch-y "Picking Up The Sunshine." JR mentions her being on the cover of a Jansch LP...need to check out more of her stuff; I only know her from the album with hubbie John. She's even better on a tight blues. Though actually most of this is pretty concise--20 tracks in 60'48"---with no lack of atmosphere.
Also a couple guest shots from the Hurdy Gurdy Man, Mac Macleod (vocals and guitar only), and the grand finale teams JR with Graham himself, on "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out": jazzy-bluesy, duh, and rawther magical. What other Graham should I check out?
Oh yeah, audio and more info here:
PS: speaking of Jansch, this also has an intriguing solo Renbourn version of "Courtship Blues," which Renbourn says is Jansch's first song--they hadn't met then, and the writer hadn't recorded it yet, but Renbourn heard it when Tom Paley came down from Edinburgh.
Wantin those Graham tips yall.

― dow, Tuesday, September 8, 2015 6:11 PM (four years ago) bookmarkflaglink

lots of davy graham releases i've yet to hear but...

the comp that came out on see for miles is a great place to start, picks and chooses from most of his decca albums. not sure if this has been superseded by a more recent collection or not.

favourite dg lp of mine: large as life & twice as natural. stretched out folk blues jazz raga (love the joni both sides now cover that kicks it off), cd reissue has good notes from john renbourn himself.

& if you don't want to hear him sing (i like his voice personally) the collaboration with shirley collins is a+

― no lime tangier, Tuesday, September 8, 2015

dow, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:18 (two years ago) link

This was mostly good too:
Artist: John Renbourn & Wizz Jones
Title: Joint Control
Catalogue No: TUGCD1095
Barcode: 605633009521
Label: Riverboat Records
Release date: 9 September 2016

Wizz is among a host of performers appearing at a special John Renbourn Tribute concert on Thursday 22 September at Cecil Sharp House, London.

Riverboat Records is delighted and proud to be releasing Joint Control whose 13 songs wonderfully embody the fruits of that friendship, capturing the two great artists and consummate guitarists performing together live and in the studio. The album is all the more poignant because it represents the final recordings by John Renbourn, the final tracks made just days before his death on 26 March 2015 from a heart attack at his home in Hawick in the Scottish borders.

At the time of John’s death, Joint Control was almost entirely finished. The pair had been working together since the start of the year in a small studio, about an hour from John’s Hawick home. Alongside the sheer artistry of their playing you can’t but escape the warmth of the camaraderie permeating these performances. Most of the songs are drawn from a repertoire honed through their touring together since 2012; the only original composition, Wizz’s instrumental ‘Balham Moon’, was recorded at the insistence of John, who also gave it a title.

Of course, many of the songs date back to that extraordinary period of the 1960s when Wizz and John first met, reflecting the ideas and techniques that were shared by all the young British pickers and the influences which neither Wizz nor John would have hesitated to acknowledge - Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Josh White and Davy Graham.

The version of ‘Glory Of Love’ here is one of two performances taken from a brace of Edinburgh shows in 2014; it was learnt via a version performed by Big Bill Broonzy rather than the million-selling hit by The Five Keys. Broonzy’s ‘Hey Hey’ also fittingly opens Joint Control. The other song taped at these shows, ‘Great Dream from Heaven’, is from the repertoire of Bahaman gospel singer Joseph Spence. John was a great admirer of Spence’s work but the song was also a staple of Davy Graham’s set. “It was through Davy that we knew it,” recalled Wizz to Peter Paphides whose fine notes grace this collection. “We didn’t know much more about it than that, but then John researched it and went back to the roots of it a bit more.”

Joint Control is fundamentally steeped in the history of British folk music in the 1960s with many songs by Wizz and John’s contemporaries such as Al Jones and Archie Fisher. Another on the scene was Jackson C. Frank who first arrived in London in 1965; his most famous song, ‘Blues Run The Game’, was one Wizz had never got round to recording. It was only in more recent years that he started to play it, albeit it from Bert Jansch’s version.

Bert Jansch himself is appropriately represented on this album by no less than three performances each one bearing the hallmarks of his unique technique and great songwriting. The unreleased instrumental ‘Joint Control’ is an early example of the reflective, intricate filigree work that would dramatically bear fruit on 1966’s Bert & John album. It was actually recorded for Jansch’s It Don’t Bother Me the previous year but inexplicably left off the final selection. Masterfully interpreted here by John with Wizz, it makes it’s presence here all the more special and significant.

The anthemic ‘Strolling Down The Highway’ first appeared on Jansch’s debut which in the hands of Wizz and John - as eloquently described by Peter Paphides: “now sounds like a careworn validation of the bohemian aspirations parlayed by Bert and all the contemporaries for whom the guitar represented an escape route from the expectations of their forebears.” The other Jansch song, ‘Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning’, from his LA Turnaround album, always provided one of the most moving moments in Wizz and John’s shows together; Wizz would usually look skywards at the song’s close. In the wake of John’s death, this recorded version becomes even more heartfelt and moving.

As much as Joint Control is steeped in the celebrated history that its two participants shared, these genuinely historic recordings also sound utterly fresh and contemporary. John and Wizz had only rarely appeared on record together in the past. John produced (and played a little) on Wizz’s 1972 album Right Now, as well as on 2011’s Lucky The Man so we can be particularly thankful that these recordings were made. As Peter Paphides concludes: “Joint Control is a fitting testament to two musicians who never forgot the spirit of joy and exploration which made them pick up their instruments in the first place; two fires of more than fifty years standing. We’re very fortunate that they managed to capture it in time.”

should be tracks from this and The Attic Tapes here:

― dow, Monday, July 4, 2016 5:18 PM (three years ago) bookmarkflaglink

Re "Glory of Love," John Martyn used to do a good extended version of it also.

― dow, Monday, July 4, 2016

dow, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:23 (two years ago) link

Oh, here's what I said about it later:
Listening to that John Renbourn & Wizz Jones set, Joint Control, which I posted info about recently. Somehow not yet into the opening and closing instrumentals---though appreciating the latter's it-ain't-over-yet diligent picking-as-digging as an end---but the one in the middle, Jones's "Balham Moon," is pretty cool, and the singing x playing of the others also bring several cycling shades of blues-as-a-feeling vs. purism, even in the Renaissance Faire come-on, "Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning," JR's notes got thee pangs. Mostly, though, it's closer to the relatively expected sort of UK and American rare birds, "Buckets of Rain" aside. Distinct approaches, but very cohesive (think Renbourn plays most of the solos).

― dow, Tuesday, July 12, 2016

dow, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:25 (two years ago) link

And this:

Listened to this---circle of friends on the living room carpet, late night but not too laid back---agreeable vocals, lyrics add roadmarks, guitars keep it moving through my attention (same label that put out those aforementioned posthumous Renbourns, the most recent a live set w Wizz):

Come What May
Artist: Wizz Jones, Pete Berryman &
Simeon Jones
Title: Come What May
Catalogue No: TUGCD1102
Barcode: 605633010220
Label: Riverboat Records
Release date: 26 May 2017
Fellow acoustic guitar innovators and long-time friends Wizz Jones and Pete Berryman have
unmistakable styles that beautifully complement each other. With textured accompaniment
by Simeon Jones on saxophone, harmonica and flute this is an album of great song writing and
seamless musicianship.
Inspired by hearing Big Bill Broonzy and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Wizz Jones learnt his guitar licks from
the likes of Davy Graham and Long John Baldry whilst playing in the coffee bars of London’s Soho
in the late 1950s. He then followed the time-honoured buskers trail from the streets of Paris to the
markets of Marrakech during the early 1960s and returned to Britain with a unique acoustic guitar
style, an eclectic repertoire and a right hand worthy of Broonzy! Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and John
Renbourn have all named him as an important early influence and in May 2012 Bruce Springsteen
opened his Berlin show with Wizz’s song ‘When I Leave Berlin’.
Back in 1960 a be-suited reporter Alan Whicker had filmed a piece for the BBC’s ‘Tonight’ programme
reporting on the ‘beatnik menace’ in Newquay, Cornwall. It included two musical offerings from Wizz,
one of them a song in the style of Woody Guthrie called ‘Hard Times In Newquay’ (if you’ve got long
hair!). The youthful Wizz explained to Alan ‘All I’m interested in is playing the guitar and travelling.’
Unfortunately for the local councillors who spoke about how they were trying to expel the beatniks,
the latter had already had a profound effect on the local youth in the shape of Pete Berryman; Pete’s
first experience of live acoustic guitar was seeing the very same Wizz Jones, barefoot and busking on
the beach in Newquay.
Pete Berryman arrived on the music scene in the 1960s with the Famous Jug Band which also
featured Clive Palmer of the Incredible String Band. At this time, he also recorded with Ralph McTell,
Al Stewart and in 1971 his influential LP with John James,
Sky In My Pie, was released.
Simeon Jones often travelled with father Wizz during the 1960s and 1970s to Cornwall in a variety of
jalopy VW buses and Citroens as well as to numerous festivals in the UK and Europe. Avoiding the
guitar (perhaps sensibly!) he developed into a superb sax, harmonica and flute player and has been
playing since the 1980s a wide variety of music in sessions and on tours with countless blues bands.
The music on this album results from three musicians who have nothing to prove, getting together
for a few days and playing assuredly on a few songs and tunes they all love. There are original songs
from both Pete and Wizz along with Bert Jansch’s ‘Moonshine’ and Fran Landesman’s wonderful
‘Ballad Of The Sad Young Men’.
Wizz’s song ‘Alone In My Car’ perhaps sums up the overall mood; driving through the night, heading
for Cornwall, looking forward to playing some music with Pete and other friends. ‘Playing the guitar
and travelling’ – still doing it after all these years. Long may it continue - come what may!
For more information, visit

― dow, Monday, May 1, 2017 5:08 PM (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink


(Hamilton/Sievier) pub Chappell Music Ltd
A song composed in 1933 and featured in a
stage musical called ‘Bow Bells’. Hearing this
on a cassette transcription from an old 78
rpm disc played and sung at the piano by that
old rascal Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson reminded
me of musical evenings when as a child at
home in Croydon, listening to the BBC, the
wind-up gramophone and my mother jauntily
playing the piano during the dark winters of
the 1940s.
(Tunbridge) Copyright Control
I make no excuses for revisiting this beautiful
Alan Tunbridge song yet again. There must be
so many generations who’ve yet to hear it!
(Jones) pub Year Zero Music
One cold night in November somewhere in
Germany back in the 1970s I was carousing
with the double bass master Danny Thompson.
‘That’s called a “Poacher’s Moon”, Wizz,’ he
said looking up at the Harvest Moon which
was briefly visible between the clouds. I
misunderstood and thought that a ‘Poacher’s
Moon’ meant a dark night with no moon,
hence the lyrics in my song. He then went
on to wax lyrical on his wild times on tour
with the guitarist John Martyn - up to their
waist in freezing water at midnight, fishing
in the Scottish Highlands. I just had to write
something to keep that vision in my mind!
(Berryman) Copyright Control
Pete’s imagining the story from another side.
(Jones) pub Year Zero Music
I guess sometimes my songs get too personal!
(Landesman/Wolf) Copyright Control
Davy Graham, a great inspiration to all
acoustic guitarists in the 1960s, recorded this
Fran Landesman poem on his second album
and I’ve always wanted to sing it.
(Jones) pub Year Zero Music
Not to be taken too seriously. A blues riff that
came out of one of my favourite guitar tunings
(Berryman) Copyright Control
Pete’s letter to his daughter
(Jansch) pub Leola Music Ltd
It was the great Bert Jansch who presented
a nine-year-old Simeon with an old wooden
flute, thus starting him off on a never ending
musical journey. When I heard Simeon’s son
Alfie playing Bert’s song, naturally I persuaded
him to come into the studio to play on this
(Berryman) Copyright Control
Some maritime musings from Pete.
(Jones) pub Year Zero Music
Heading for my beloved Cornwall for the
thousandth time.
(Sudbury) pub Cloud Valley Music
(Lowe/Sanders) pub Lowe Life Music
(Green) pub BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd
Wizz Jones: acoustic guitar, vocals
Pete Berryman: acoustic guitar, vocals
Simeon Jones: tenor saxaphone, flute, harmonica and
Guest Musicians:
Alfie Jones: acoustic guitar on track 9
Anne Sumner: vocals on tracks 8 and 11
Produced by Wizz Jones and Andy Levien
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Andy Levien at RMS
Studios, London, 2016
Track notes by Wizz Jones
Sleeve notes by Maggie Holland

Visit to hear sound samples of all
albums on Riverboat Records.

― dow, Monday, May 1, 2017

dow, Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:27 (two years ago) link

Interesting background, Davey Graham, he was mixed race: Scottish and English, no, seriously, his mother was Guyanese and his father was Scottish. I saw him play once and he was pretty terrible, I'm sure I must have posted about it on here.

Bridge Over Thorley Waters (Tom D.), Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:30 (two years ago) link

I saw John Renbourn playing with Robin Williamson too, which was much better!

Bridge Over Thorley Waters (Tom D.), Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:31 (two years ago) link

Ah, here we are...

Glad to say that I saw Bert Jansch (a few times), Davy Graham (which was, er, interesting) and John Renbourn live before they died, John with Robin Williamson... don't die yet, Robin!

― Betel-chewing Equipment of East New Guinea (Tom D.), Friday, 27 March 2015 07:51 (four years ago) link

Tom, curious about Davy Graham, what was the like? From what I've read he was an intense person

― kurt kobaïan (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 27 March 2015 12:27 (four years ago) link

Intensely fucked up on something or other - booze, pills, smack, who knows what. He basically couldn't play anymore but he couldn't play in a bewildering variety of styles and genres, Buxtehude to raga to calypso, his set must have covered about 6 centuries. At one point he brought a guy he was teaching to play guitar up on stage and, to be honest, it was a relief to have someone play without bum notes, fluffs, fumbles etc.

― Betel-chewing Equipment of East New Guinea (Tom D.), Friday, 27 March 2015 12:51 (four years ago) link

... that's all I could find but that's like 10 years after the gig and I'm sure I posted something about at the time. I remember turning up for the gig a bit early and seeing him stood on his own at the back of the venue, bolt upright and completely still, for an unnaturally long time.

Bridge Over Thorley Waters (Tom D.), Saturday, 21 March 2020 21:44 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

See the Ken Russell thread for folk documentary.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 10 August 2020 18:31 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

I'm devastated by the death of my friend and collaborator Celia Ford Drummond, formerly Humphris, singer for folk band Trees. I was honoured to have her beautiful voice on my Dodson and Fogg albums, to share vinyl space with her, and to know her. A kind, caring lady. RIP xxx

— Chris Wade (@dodsonandfogg) January 11, 2021

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 21:58 (one year ago) link

RIP! Been on a major Trees kick since that box set came out. Great voice / vibe.

tylerw, Monday, 11 January 2021 22:04 (one year ago) link

i missed out on the box, but catching up on all the extra tracks now via spotify. such a lovely band, horrible sad news this

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 22:30 (one year ago) link

more of a reminder to myself, but there's a big 1991 terrascope interview with celia here that i need to sit down and read:

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 22:37 (one year ago) link

gosh, her voice still sounds great on those 2018 live cuts

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 22:40 (one year ago) link

jesus christ, that bit where they come back in after the fake-out ending on murdoch *always* gets every hair in my brain standing on end

kites aren't fun (NickB), Monday, 11 January 2021 22:44 (one year ago) link

Sad top hear about her passing.
I'm hoping that a copy of the box set is actually going to arrive having now been told taht it was on its way to me as an Xmas present.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 12 January 2021 00:25 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

I've been listening to a lot of Davy Graham in the last few days and god I'd forgotten how transcendent he can be. Midnight Man in particular is sending me to all sorts of places. Anyone have any experience with the recent Bread & Wine reissues? I can't find much in the way of information about them anywhere (even the Hoffman forums seem empty of news or opinion!).

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 31 March 2021 18:13 (one year ago) link

Been on a Spotify kick of Scottish travelers and some English stuff:

Belle Stewart
Davie Stewart
Jeannie Robertson
Fred Jordan
Sam Larner

brimstead, Wednesday, 31 March 2021 18:18 (one year ago) link

Way upthread, I reposted my from one of the post-Fahey threads about xpost Davey Graham re Renbourn's early 60s-travelling The Attic Tapes, and no lime tangier provided me with some Graham tips:

(in the notes, Renbourn) also talks about finding traces of the UK songster Davey Graham in various cities, ideas that lodged in the heads of musos who may well have had no reel-to-reels, or anyway didn't need one to summon the bits that JR puts together here. Mind you, he does give Graham the writer's credit for the opening tightly loose bedsit version of "Anji"(that's from the box marked "1962").
...the grand finale teams JR with Graham himself, on "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out": jazzy-bluesy, duh, and rawther magical. What other Graham should I check out?
Oh yeah, audio and more info here:
Wantin those Graham tips yall.

― dow, Tuesday, September 8, 2015 6:11 PM (four years ago) bookmarkflaglink

lots of davy graham releases i've yet to hear but...

the comp that came out on see for miles is a great place to start, picks and chooses from most of his decca albums. not sure if this has been superseded by a more recent collection or not.

favourite dg lp of mine: large as life & twice as natural. stretched out folk blues jazz raga (love the joni both sides now cover that kicks it off), cd reissue has good notes from john renbourn himself.
& if you don't want to hear him sing (i like his voice personally) the collaboration with shirley collins is a+

― no lime tangier, Tuesday, September 8, 2015

dow, Wednesday, 31 March 2021 21:20 (one year ago) link

I'd not heard Large As Life - brilliant. The Joni cover is magnificent. Davy's magic aside, Danny Thompson is in imperious form, Jon Hiseman too.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Saturday, 3 April 2021 19:56 (one year ago) link

The live set from Hull University is pretty great. Or athat is to say the dorms after I think an earlier gig.
ITs called After hours at Hull or something

Stevolende, Saturday, 3 April 2021 23:38 (one year ago) link

I could really do with getting Caedmon but i think the current release had no cd version.

Stevolende, Saturday, 3 April 2021 23:52 (one year ago) link

Thought would be about next week’s release of Beeswing.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 April 2021 02:18 (one year ago) link

Next week?
Right time flies by.
There was an extract in the last Uncut the VU covered one.
Seemed to fly through some time that I would have hoped was more thoroughly covered so hope it was more of an intro.
But yeah do think it is pretty essential

Stevolende, Sunday, 4 April 2021 10:40 (one year ago) link

nine months pass... Also, Martin and Eliza Carthy are due to play live throughout the UK this winter, with an intermittent run of dates kicking off in Durham on 27 January. Eliza wrote that she had recorded a new album during the pandemic, proceeds from which would also help the family. No mention of Norma's participation; hope she's okay.

dow, Friday, 14 January 2022 19:51 (six months ago) link

Sad to read that story, will definitely bung them a few quid as soon as I can

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Saturday, 15 January 2022 13:52 (six months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Eliza posted that Norma passed away yesterday. RIP.

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Monday, 31 January 2022 09:41 (six months ago) link

;_; RIP Norma

Someone left a space telescope out in the rain (Tom D.), Monday, 31 January 2022 09:56 (six months ago) link

Tragic news. I'd gone to the record shop to buy a copy of For Pence and Spicy Ale, and was informed of her death by the shop owner.

vexingvexillologist, Monday, 31 January 2022 21:29 (six months ago) link

That version of Hal-An-Tow on Frost and Fire, I don't even know what half of it means tbh, but that to me is one of the most joyful and life-affirming songs I can think of, that song basically banishes death and that is how I will always think of her. RIP Norma

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Monday, 31 January 2022 21:42 (six months ago) link

oh :(

coming at it from the opposite direction to Nick, I feel like every word of Red Wine & Promises off of Bright Phoebus is seared into my brain and I feel as though I understand what she meant exactly, down to the last nuance, and it is one of the saddest and most beautiful songs I've ever heard. one of those rare songs i've listened to repeatedly at moments of crisis in my life, just poured my soul into it and internalised it and made it all about me and my parents. a fucking wonder of a song.

but yes, Hal-An-Tow is joyful, A Souling Song is terrifying.

my Dad got me hooked, he used to play this track in the car when I was quite young and still utterly obsessed with the Libertines (and through them the Smiths, the Clash, the Jam and all of that). this, along with Poor Old Horse by the Albion Band and Penguin Eggs, showed me a completely different vision of what constituted "distinctly British music" and i'll always be grateful for that


Windsor Davies, Tuesday, 1 February 2022 00:05 (six months ago) link

two weeks pass...

on his invaluable doomandgloomfromthetomb tumblr, ilxor tylerw sez:
...check out this fantastic 1960s documentary on the Watersons, capturing the group very early on in their folk club days. The inky black-and-white style of the film could easily fit in with those classic British kitchen sink realist films of the era — you almost expect Tom Courtenay to be lurking in the background (Instead, there’s Anne Briggs, which is even better). It’s a beautiful time capsule.

dow, Thursday, 17 February 2022 23:33 (five months ago) link

xzanfar, Thursday, 17 February 2022 23:48 (five months ago) link

four months pass...

Is this book good? Hadn't heard of it.

Enjoying this book called Dazzling Stranger by Colin Harper. Connecting a lot of dots for me. Recommended if you’re into this sort of thing—British folk, Bert Jansch, blues, what have you.

— Shane Parish (@shaneparishgtr) July 1, 2022

dow, Friday, 1 July 2022 20:42 (one month ago) link

Was out a long time ago? I read it but I can't remember much about beyond Bert saying he was never interested in the Beatles.

Eavis Has Left the Building (Tom D.), Friday, 1 July 2022 20:51 (one month ago) link

yeah thought it pretty great. Also looks at the Edinburgh and i think London folk scenes as they tie in with the narrative.
There is a companion cd in 2 versions one either side of the Atlantic. They change a couple of tracks presumably tie din with rights etc.
Unexpected appearance of Bruce Loose of Flipper whose dad was a promoter on the folk scene in the late 70s and also put Bert up a few times when he was drinking way too much. & Loose apparently started mimicking his behaviour.

I thought it was a good book as are the other couple of books by Harper I've read. Irish Folk, Trad & Blues: A Secret History and Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the emerald beyond

Stevolende, Saturday, 2 July 2022 09:29 (one month ago) link

.. Archie Fisher jumping out of a window to avoid Licorice McKechnie's dad is in there I think? Also Licorice and Bert almost getting married?

Eavis Has Left the Building (Tom D.), Saturday, 2 July 2022 09:33 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Hell yes.

— Tyler Wilcox (@tywilc) July 14, 2022

dow, Saturday, 16 July 2022 22:10 (four weeks ago) link

two weeks pass...

I love when a UK folk band expands their horizons to adopt the propulsive electric bass grooves and backbeat that characterized US folk-rock of the era. This LP is a great example, but Shirley Collins’ otherworldly voice and the song choices keep the vibeS trending traditional

— the modern folk (@themodernfolk) August 1, 2022

dow, Monday, 1 August 2022 22:29 (one week ago) link

Keep meaning to buy Show of Hands' Singled Out, but I'm little puzzled by what it's meant to be exactly. A compilation of assorted post-2001 songs(?), with two rare recordings from the early 90s Columbus EP and "Crazy Boy" from 1997's Dark Fields. But why? What's it for?

you can see me from westbury white horse, Monday, 1 August 2022 23:30 (one week ago) link

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