Sunday, March 9, 2008

British Folk 101: The Golden Age

American folk dominated the music scene in the 60's and early 70's, with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel taking the music from the coffee houses of New York and San Francisco to the mainstream.

British folk also peaked during this period but artists retained a more traditional feel than their American colleagues.

Dylan, himself, was actually influenced by British folk, deriving 'A Girl From the North Country' from folk legend Martin Carthy

Paul Simon also learned from Carthy. He spent a year in the UK learning about British folk and Carthy taught him 'Scarborough Fair', Simon and Garfunkel's most enduring hit

For many, the leading British folk band will always be Fairport Convention, a band that spawned the solo careers of Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny and set the wheels in motion for Steeleye Span, The Albion Band and more.

The Incredible String Band are also important; they were the most psychedelic of the genre, remaining acoustic but introducing a host of exotic instruments and influences. Pentangle also had a cult following, introducing a jazz swing into traditional folk.

Here is Rock Revival's Top Ten

1. Tam Lin: Fairport Convention
2. Womankind: The Incredible String Band
3. Songs From the Wood: Jethro Tull
4. Light Flight: Pentangle
5. The Clvary Cross: Richard Thompson
6. Alison Gross: Steeleye Span
7. Falling: Kate Rusby (contemporary)
8. Scarborough Fair: Bert Jansch and Martin Carthy
9. Geordie: Sandy Denny
10 Lady Eleanor: Lindisfrane

Image: Courtesy Park

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