skeith

Need recs on Pentangle/Fairport Convention

155 posts in this topic

19 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

Of those I'd not heard before:

Watersons - Seven Virgins
Anne Briggs - The Time Has come
Mark Hollis - A New Jerusalem
Bill Fay - Til The Christ Come Back
Sheelagh McDonald - Stargazer
Tim Hollier - Streets Of Gold

for starters........it also confirmed that Pentangle are my favourite folk band

except for the Unthanks who I saw last night on their 10th Anniversary Tour. Career spanning set starting with unaccompanied duet from Becky and Rachel. They do seem to manage to scale up to quite big arrangements without losing the integral soul of a song - I think because the voices hold sway no matter what else is going on

 

3 minutes ago, A Lark Ascending said:

Only know the Watersons and Briggs there. 

Pentangle are a band I had to learn to like and still find Jacqui McShee's voice a bit of a strain (not to mention Bert!)...too high! But there's some very good music there.

Glad you enjoyed The Unthanks. Utterly unique and still unspoiled despite the grand nature of some of their arrangements.

I listened to that Lynched record this afternoon - Cold Old Fire. It's excellent...not a trace of Celtic mist anywhere. Reminds me in places of the Dubliners or the very early Christy Moore records. Really strong accents, rough and ready (but expert) instrumentation, a mixture of serious and jokey almost music hall songs. And then on some of the tracks they drift off into these lengthy, almost minimalist instrumental arrangements, quite unlike anything I've heard on an Irish folk record. Shot to the top of my list of bands to catch live...they were everywhere in the summer.  

Shelagh McDonald's 'Stargazer' is one of my all time favourite songs. Her albums included support from the likes of Richard Thompson and Keith Tippett. She disappeared from the scene in the early 70s, apparently after a bad LSD trip left her with a ruined voice. She did make a comeback though a couple of years back.

Mark Hollis's solo, self-titled album is well worth hearing. He was a member of Talk Talk, the 80s band who had a few pop hits like 'It's My Life' and 'Life Is What You Make It'. They took a sort of left turn in the late 80s and their albums 'Spirit of Eden' and 'Laughing Stock' are worth seeking out, a mixture of experimental, ambient, folk and jazz.. Sometime band member and producer, Tim Friese-Greene is the great grandson of pioneer photographer and inventor William Friese-Greene.

 

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4 minutes ago, Jazzjet said:

Shelagh McDonald's 'Stargazer' is one of my all time favourite songs. Her albums included support from the likes of Richard Thompson and Keith Tippett. She disappeared from the scene in the early 70s, apparently after a bad LSD trip left her with a ruined voice. She did make a comeback though a couple of years back.

Mark Hollis's solo, self-titled album is well worth hearing. He was a member of Talk Talk, the 80s band who had a few pop hits like 'It's My Life' and 'Life Is What You Make It'. They took a sort of left turn in the late 80s and their albums 'Spirit of Eden' and 'Laughing Stock' are worth seeking out, a mixture of experimental, ambient, folk and jazz.. Sometime band member and producer, Tim Friese-Greene is the great grandson of pioneer photographer and inventor William Friese-Greene.

 

I've added what seems to be a compilation album by McDonald to my Spotify playlist (the folk one). I remember the cover vaguely from the time. At the very least I can play spot the Tippett/Thompson!

Another one who I've never listened to who has enjoyed a comeback is Vashti Bunyan...the name always sounded a bit brown rice and sandals (though god knows why that should put me off as my record collection is awash with indigestible grains and dodgy footwear). 

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On 11/15/2015, 10:27:08, danasgoodstuff said:

I was listening to the Sandy Denny box and something came on that sounded like Weather Report in the middle ages, where can I get more of that?

Little help here?  Really would like to hear some more of this...

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Just now, danasgoodstuff said:

Little help here?  Really would like to hear some more of this...

What was the track? 

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1 minute ago, A Lark Ascending said:

What was the track? 

That's the thing about library records, sooner or later you have to give them back - it was a few cuts past FC's version of "If You've Got to Go' (In French!) on that box, I'll have to see if I can figure out the name!

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9 hours ago, danasgoodstuff said:

That's the thing about library records, sooner or later you have to give them back - it was a few cuts past FC's version of "If You've Got to Go' (In French!) on that box, I'll have to see if I can figure out the name!

I'm not sure which Denny box you mean - there are several. If it is the 19CD behemoth (which I don't know) then 'A Sailor's Life' comes up a couple of tracks after 'Si Tu Dois Partir'. Plain singing of a folk song with no beat, instruments embroidering around; then the beat kicks in and the song part rises to a climax followed by an extended instrumental jam hitting another peak, finally ebbing away to just cymbals. Ring any bells? Check here:

If it's that one you're talking about, it's the song that (arguably) launched folk rock. There's not a lot in that vein but I can recommend a few things. 

You puzzled me with the Weather Report reference. WR were usually pretty 'funky' and English folk rock was rarely funky (apart from when they did covers and then they could be like Uncle Bob 'getting down' at the wedding!). I suspect you meant the spacier side of the early WR records. 

 

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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15 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

I've added what seems to be a compilation album by McDonald to my Spotify playlist (the folk one). I remember the cover vaguely from the time. At the very least I can play spot the Tippett/Thompson!

Another one who I've never listened to who has enjoyed a comeback is Vashti Bunyan...the name always sounded a bit brown rice and sandals (though god knows why that should put me off as my record collection is awash with indigestible grains and dodgy footwear). 

Pretty much the staple diet and clothing choice in some parts of Cornwall, particularly Penzance (twinned with Narnia).

Bridget St John was another singer from that era who disappeared after her initial success, in her case emigrating to Greenwich Village. She made 2 or 3 LPs for John Peel's Dandelion label, the first one with the help of John Martyn if I remember correctly.

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10 minutes ago, Jazzjet said:

Pretty much the staple diet and clothing choice in some parts of Cornwall, particularly Penzance (twinned with Narnia).

Bridget St John was another singer from that era who disappeared after her initial success, in her case emigrating to Greenwich Village. She made 2 or 3 LPs for John Peel's Dandelion label, the first one with the help of John Martyn if I remember correctly.

According to this month's fRoots Totnes is twinned with Narnia! 

I listened to those Bridget St John records on Spotify earlier in the year - remember her as a regular on the Peel show (no conflict of interest there, then). There's still a charm to those records. The reason she stayed in my mind since the early 70s was her 'harmony' vocal on 'The Oyster and the Flying Fish' on the second Kevin Ayers record, a great favourite over the years.   

*******************************

I was listening to disc 1 of Dust on the Nettles last night and this track jumped out again:

Seemed to be from a bunch of students at Radley College in Oxfordshire in 1971. They sound like character's from Jonathan Coe's 'The Rotter's Club'. Very much of its time but quite lovely. 

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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18 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

Only know the Watersons and Briggs there. 

Pentangle are a band I had to learn to like and still find Jacqui McShee's voice a bit of a strain (not to mention Bert!)...too high! But there's some very good music there.

Glad you enjoyed The Unthanks. Utterly unique and still unspoiled despite the grand nature of some of their arrangements.

I listened to that Lynched record this afternoon - Cold Old Fire. It's excellent...not a trace of Celtic mist anywhere. Reminds me in places of the Dubliners or the very early Christy Moore records. Really strong accents, rough and ready (but expert) instrumentation, a mixture of serious and jokey almost music hall songs. And then on some of the tracks they drift off into these lengthy, almost minimalist instrumental arrangements, quite unlike anything I've heard on an Irish folk record. Shot to the top of my list of bands to catch live...they were everywhere in the summer.  

 

18 hours ago, mjazzg said:

Of those I'd not heard before:

Watersons - Seven Virgins
Anne Briggs - The Time Has come
Mark Hollis - A New Jerusalem
Bill Fay - Til The Christ Come Back
Sheelagh McDonald - Stargazer
Tim Hollier - Streets Of Gold

for starters........it also confirmed that Pentangle are my favourite folk band

except for the Unthanks who I saw last night on their 10th Anniversary Tour. Career spanning set starting with unaccompanied duet from Becky and Rachel. They do seem to manage to scale up to quite big arrangements without losing the integral soul of a song - I think because the voices hold sway no matter what else is going on

 

Very nice. Supports my theory that 'the Sixties' actually happened in the 70s. It's also unusual, I would have thought, to hear a drum solo - and a lengthy one at that - on a folk track. I can't think of any other examples.

Sorry. My comment above referred to the Oberon track.

 

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I'm a fan of Bridget St. John.

Bought a 4 CD set from Dusty Groove earlier in the year. Good stuff.

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10 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

I'm not sure which Denny box you mean - there are several. If it is the 19CD behemoth (which I don't know) then 'A Sailor's Life' comes up a couple of tracks after 'Si Tu Dois Partir'. Plain singing of a folk song with no beat, instruments embroidering around; then the beat kicks in and the song part rises to a climax followed by an extended instrumental jam hitting another peak, finally ebbing away to just cymbals. Ring any bells? Check here:

If it's that one you're talking about, it's the song that (arguably) launched folk rock. There's not a lot in that vein but I can recommend a few things. 

You puzzled me with the Weather Report reference. WR were usually pretty 'funky' and English folk rock was rarely funky (apart from when they did covers and then they could be like Uncle Bob 'getting down' at the wedding!). I suspect you meant the spacier side of the early WR records. 

 

It was indeed "A Sailor's Life" that I was thinking of, from this more modest boxset http://www.amazon.com/A-Boxful-Treasures-Sandy-Denny/dp/B0004O5STA/ref=pd_sim_sbs_15_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=61E7S42LF9L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0DRF2JZWCRWH5HKEDF1Z  and Weather Report was more a qualitative reference than a stylistic one and I think we have different understandings of 'funk', to me anything that smells of real life is funky.  But thanks to you and uncle Bob!

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On 12/11/2015, 11:59:19, Jazzjet said:

Mark Hollis's solo, self-titled album is well worth hearing. He was a member of Talk Talk, the 80s band who had a few pop hits like 'It's My Life' and 'Life Is What You Make It'. They took a sort of left turn in the late 80s and their albums 'Spirit of Eden' and 'Laughing Stock' are worth seeking out, a mixture of experimental, ambient, folk and jazz.. Sometime band member and producer, Tim Friese-Greene is the great grandson of pioneer photographer and inventor William Friese-Greene.

 

Mark Hollis' career arc is fascinating. In a very small discography of 5 Talk Talk albums and 1 solo, he went from pure synth pop new-wave to a classic pop album, and then evolved from there into more improvisational, tranquil, minimalistic music.  I don't listen to the first one very often, but the rest are wonderful albums.  

I wish Hollis had kept making music instead of disappearing off the face of the earth.

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13 hours ago, danasgoodstuff said:

It was indeed "A Sailor's Life" that I was thinking of, from this more modest boxset http://www.amazon.com/A-Boxful-Treasures-Sandy-Denny/dp/B0004O5STA/ref=pd_sim_sbs_15_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=61E7S42LF9L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0DRF2JZWCRWH5HKEDF1Z  and Weather Report was more a qualitative reference than a stylistic one and I think we have different understandings of 'funk', to me anything that smells of real life is funky.  But thanks to you and uncle Bob!

As you probably know Fairport began playing West Coast (California, not Cornwall!) music - covers of Airplane, Dead, Elektra stuff etc. They'd do long jams on things like 'East-West' (no recorded evidence) and 'Reno Nevada' (tracks have appeared). 'A Sailor's Life' was their experiment to try this on a traditional English folk song (although it was probably Irish, Scottish or even Appalachian! Most were!).

Not a lot around of that type. Most folk music tends to be short without much jamming even in the folk rock variety...unless it's a 175 verse Child ballad when the instruments tend to colour or embroider a little. 

The things that come to mind in the more jammy area:

Fairport: Sloth

This became the staple for solo display. The original is on their 'Full House' album of 1970 after Denny left with Thompson afire in the two solo bits:

There's also a brilliant version on 'Fairport Live Convention' from 1974 when Denny had rejoined. Dave Swarbrick using his electric effects on fiddle to the max, a fine bass solo and then, best of all, one of the most carefully constructed guitar solos on a rock record I know from Jerry Donahue.

Fairport: Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman

 Wasn't released initially but turned up on compilations and is now on the 'Full House' reissue. Blistering soloing from Thompson.

The Albion Band: The Gresford Disaster

This might sound like a dirge for the first two minutes (it is about a mining disaster!) but then a wonderful instrumental section kicks in - treated fiddle and then guitar. 

Sandy Denny's 'John the Gun' and a lot of Richard Thompson's later music might also fit the bill - he's fond of sticking in hurdy-gurdies and crumhorns in unlikely places, even when the music is a long way from folk.  

*************************************

Always sad this area was not mined more. Improvisation in the jazz sense has never been a big thing in British folk music and after 1976 it got a dirty name. 

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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There's a nice little interview with Wizz Jones here about the infamous Beatnik problem in Newquay, Cornwall of 1960:

 

You can see the original 1960 TV report here:

If the councillors of 1960 only knew what was coming with Club 18-30! 

 

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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On 12/11/2015 at 5:44 PM, A Lark Ascending said:

 

 

13 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

There's a nice little interview with Wizz Jones here about the infamous Beatnik problem in Newquay, Cornwall of 1960:

 

You can see the original 1960 TV report here:

If the councillors of 1960 only knew what was coming with Club 18-30! 

 

Nice clip. I seem to recall that Donovan was one of the beatniks around this period. I'm not sure whether he was one of the originals but he was definitely there during this period. There's a good book by Rupert White called 'Folk In Cornwall' that covers this period and much else in great detail.

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Yes, I read that book. Fascinating if you know the area. My Chemistry teacher was involved in the late 60s folk club just outside Newquay.

I suspect Donovan arrived a bit later - interesting to hear Jones chatting about how informal it was in 1959, then a flood of followers in 1960. The funniest bit was Jones being out-Kerouaced by the 'square' Alan Whicker. 

At the Normafest event earlier this month Norma Waterson mentioned how she was in Padstow in the mid/late 60s and a resident had a similar reaction to Newquay council, complaining about Cyril Tawdry and them there hippies. 

 

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For anyone with an interest in British (and beyond) folk music who can also access BBC Radio 3. 

Lots of folk related programmes coming up this weekend in a mini-theme called 'Folk Connections'.

Schedule here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/programmes/schedules/this_week

Most available on iPlayer for following week.

Of particular interest (to me, at least):

  • Sat 9.00 +: Record Review - the programme that usually reviews classical releases has a section on recent folk releases. Sadly no Oxford don plumily reviewing all the recordings of 'Barbara Allen' in order to tell us which recording we need to be seen admiring. 
  • Sat 15.00: Folk Connections: Programme about song collecting in the past and today (and tomorrow). 
  • Sat 21.45: Return to Brigg Fair - Between the Ears - Musician Jim Moray bends sound and time to recreate the circumstances surrounding a chance encounter between the composer Percy Grainger and elderly farm bailiff Joseph Taylor which marked a major turning point in the history of traditional folk music. (That one is a must!)
  • Sun 12.00: Private Passions - Shirley Collins talks to Michael Berkeley about her musical favourites (health warning...Berkeley has the poshest accent in the universe).
  • Sun 13.00: Sam Lee in concert - one of the most interesting of the current singers/arrangers. 
  • Sun 18.45: Cecil Sharp's Appalachian Trail - Andy Kershaw documentary

Even Geoffrey Smith's jazz programme has an 'influenced by folk' theme. Lots of other things too but they jumped out. 

There's also a nice little article by Verity Sharp describing how she went from being irritated by folk music to becoming entranced by it:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio3/entries/dfb89eb3-418f-4fb2-afc4-b3520d6d434f

Can't fault her ten tracks to try....

  • Martin Hayes The Lonesome Touch
  • Chris Wood The Lark Descending
  • Leveret New Anything
  • Sam Lee The Fade in Time
  • Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick Prince Heathen
  • Karine Polwart Traces 
  • Shirley Collins Sweet England
  • Furrow Collective At Our Next Meeting
  • Kathryn Tickell Debateable Lands
  • Steve Turner Rim of the Wheel

Makes a nice change from "Beethoven Week"!

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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  • 'Sat 9.00 +: Record Review - the programme that usually reviews classical releases has a section on recent folk releases. Sadly no Oxford don plumily reviewing all the recordings of 'Barbara Allen' in order to tell us which recording we need to be seen admiring. '

Reminds me of that joke about how many folk singers it takes to change a lightbulb. Five - one to change the bulb and the other four to sing in four part harmony about why the old one was better.

Seriously, thanks for the information about the programmes. I'll have to try and catch them via iPlayer.

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16 hours ago, Jazzjet said:

Reminds me of that joke about how many folk singers it takes to change a lightbulb. Five - one to change the bulb and the other four to sing in four part harmony about why the old one was better.

How many jazz/classical aficionados does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to put the new one in and the other, armed with a box containing 20 other brands, to moan about how he's chosen the wrong one.  

****************************************************

Nice little article in today's Guardian:

Finger-picking good … Bert Jansch in 1965.

Graham Coxon: Bert Jansch's music is a great gift for everyone

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On 1/28/2016 at 2:54 AM, A Lark Ascending said:

Sun 13.00: Sam Lee in concert - one of the most interesting of the current singers/arrangers.

I would rather hear this than all of the other programs combined. He's very, very good - there's a nice live set of 3 songs for NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts series available on YouTube. (He toured over here last fall; wish he'd been within 100 miles or so of where I live, as I'd have loved to have seen him. Great band, even if smaller ensemble for him than usual.)

Edited by seeline

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10 hours ago, seeline said:

I would rather hear this than all of the other programs combined. He's very, very good - there's a nice live set of 3 songs for NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts series available on YouTube. (He toured over here last fall; wish he'd been within 100 miles or so of where I live, as I'd have loved to have seen him. Great band, even if smaller ensemble for him than usual.)

He's a marvellous singer with a very distinctive take on selection of material and the presentation of 'folk' music. Though not as unique as perhaps some of the hype suggests - Susan Mckeown was doing something similar some years back. Someone I've yet to catch live. I'm on the lookout! 

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This will break your heart:

 

A 7 year old from the gypsy community recorded in the 50s. Shirley Collins chose it on one of the programmes mentioned above. Less than 2 minutes - pure bliss. 

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On 1/31/2016 at 3:20 AM, A Lark Ascending said:

He's a marvellous singer with a very distinctive take on selection of material and the presentation of 'folk' music. Though not as unique as perhaps some of the hype suggests - Susan Mckeown was doing something similar some years back. Someone I've yet to catch live. I'm on the lookout! 

Yes, she was, but I think he's doing it better, overall. Her results were a bit hit and miss, and sometimes too "world music"-ish, for my taste, anyway.

But her more recent material (past 15 years or so) is very good indeed. 

Edited by seeline

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Haven't heard her more recent records (too many releases, so little time). 

*********************************

Some strong Brit-folky releases for late winter/early spring.

Just out:

Songs of SeparationIn the Round

Songs of Separation is stunning. Yet to hear the new Leveret. 

And up soon...

Old Adam

Forgotten Kingdom

And a third album from Maz O'Connor. A young singer with one of those voices and good song writing instincts - she's been in the 'new talent deserving attention' slot for a few years. I suspect this might see her moving into the mid-league of the folk world (assuming it's good!). Jim Moray is involved - hope he hasn't swamped her in synths!    

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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