Thursday 1 November 2012

Five favourite electric folk LPs


[For an excellently written essay on what was 'electric folk' music, go to the Wikipedia - accessed today.]


In order of release:

1. Steeleye Span - Parcel of Rogues. It in 1973, when this album had just been released, that I heard on the radio "One Misty Moisty Morning" - and was smitten.

2. Ashley Hutchings and others - Morris On, 1972 (but I didn't hear it until a couple of years later). Electric Morris dancing and song! I borrowed an accordeon, so I was John Kirkpatrick; my friend Gareth got a bass guitar, so he was Ashley Hutchings - and that was the totality of our electric folk band...

3. Ashley Hutchings and John Kirkpatrick and others - The Compleat Dancing Master, 1974. A sequence of words and music about dancing from medieval (the time of Chaucer) to 19th century (Thomas Hardy) with a wonderful cast of actors and musicians. The perfect 'concept album'.

4. Steeleye Span - Commoner's Crown, 1975. It is very hard to choose (how can I miss out mentioning "Thomas the Rhymer" from Now we are six?) but I suppose this was the very best of Steeleye's albums, with "Long Lankin" as its summit; and I love "Bach goes to Limerick".

5. The Albion Country Band - Battle of the Field, 1976. A minor miracle of interlocking parts - including Martin Carthy at his uncompromising best in "Gallant Poacher" and the weirdly wonderful oboe of Sue Harris...

Ah, what an era. Short but deliciously sweet.



SonofMoses said...

Dear Bruce,
Maddy went on to produce some even lovelier tracks, highlighting the West Gallery tradition of Georgian rural hymn singing. Here she is with a Charles Wesley number from a whole album of the stuff:
What beautiful words!
‘O Thou Who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
Upon the mean altar of my heart.
There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,
[or, Unquenched, undimmed, in darkest days,]
And trembling to its source return,
In humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work and speak and think for Thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up Thy gift in me.
Ready for all Thy perfect will,
My acts of faith and love repeat,
Till death Thy endless mercies seal,
And make my sacrifice complete.’

Bruce Charlton said...

@SoM - that's an album I'll be buying.

My (ahem) claim to fame wrt Maddy Prior is that the doctor who delivered her first baby was my best friend at university; and (so he says) was actually telling her about my fanaticism for Steeleye and her singing during the run-up to birth. Clearly, a coincidence of great significance.

Bill said...

No love for Fairport Convention or Fotheringay?