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moshkito View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: A walk through prog folk
    Posted: November 27 2009 at 23:19
Hi,

This is, by far, one of the nicest posts I have ever seen on this board ... and it is thorough ...

I think I might add something about Alan Stivell ... for his mixes of folk, traditional, rock and jazz is really special. And like a lot of music in France, it is extremely political and has a few albums where the lyrics make sure that the world knows the history of the French Celtic folks and what happened to them in French history and how a lot of their culture was eradicated.

In general, he is a very tough listen for many audiences ... unless he tones it down to traditional instruments and comes off as a folk player, just doing traditional stuff ... but his power in strength is adding a Celtic Harp and soloing it around an electric guitar ... and being just as powerful and helping the music be even stronger ... it is, in effect, the modern version, of his culture ... and he set a nice pace for it ... though few were able to continue it and do more with it ... I think that too many folks feel that the celtic harp belongs with angels and not in music! ... something like that ... and he breaks that apart in one song ... all you have to do is listen up to Pop-Plinn one more time ,,, or Suite Irlandaise ... or Spered Hollvedel to catch what one might think sound like gospel vocals in the background ... to Kimiad for an amazing jazz morsel that is magical ...  (get the Again CD for a more prog style version of these, btw) ...

Of any others, Spain and Portugal are hugely involved in the folk scene, but unfortunately these are not as well known or heard as you and I would have liked ... and some of this music tends to be more traditional than otherwise but there are some hybrid blends (wish I could name them and knew them) that stand out now and then ... and some of them are in the clubs in Madrid and Barcelona, for example ... that they have not been thought of as "progressive" is more a lack of too much of this music not being heard around the world, and populated through the LP, Cassette and CD world that all of these mentioned above have.

Incredible String Band probably deserves a wider mention, but I am not even sure how to do that ... Robin Williamson's sometimes contempt for singing and just having fun with lyrics often turn people off and in a way this group was more theatrical than all the others ... but unfortunately they could not make this survive on a stage, in such a way that people would appreciate the dancing and the theater in it. I oftne think that it was a serious attempt at mixing folk music with theater and some other elements of performance, and were it not for the ability of the work to sell itself, even on a stage, it might have worked. And ... I think much more importantly, like Amon Duul 2, this was indeed a commune and it DID feature the women in the group instead of not. Most "hippy" and psychedelic bands did not do so ... they could talk about anything, but when it came to the music it had to be just men! ... and even Grace Slick touched on this some in her biography ... it was music for male fantasies only!

The Ramases thing is a bit strange, and the 10CC'rs talk about it with some humor, and there is some good music in those albums, however, they are more towards the philosophical side of things disguised as music ... take away the lyrics and you have a folk 10CC ... whose history came from the folk and pop side of things by even writing and putting together stuff for Neil Sedaka.

The American scene is not too dis-similar ... I came to Santa Barbara i n1972 and there was no "folk scene" per se, but there was a blue grass scene that tended to mix with folk rather well ... and LA was not exactly known for folk music much. I always thought that the Bay Area were the kinds of the folk music stuff, however, not sure that many of us can name that many folks from there and the songs/music they played ... the Farina's are well represented in many places and even Sandy Denny did an amazing song of theirs a capella in one of her albums ... showing that she was quite aware that Bob Dylan was not the only folk one around ...

What I can not say that should be mentioned here, and in its history, I would think that the first Seeger and the elder Guthrie also deserve mention ... although they are thought of as reactionaries rather than "musicians" many times, and that is sad, for their work is as important as just about any mentioned here. 

But much of it maybe considered straight ahead folk much more than it would be considered any kind of prog-folk ... which tends to be mostly represented strictly by the fact that it is electric ... and nothing much more.

Third Ear Band, to me, even though it is influenced by eastern music is much more of an academic endeavor and work, than I would associate with anything else ... though it is clear to me that a lot of it is right out in the open free form. While they are important in a way, I still think that they are "colder" , and sometimes they remind me of music majors at UCSB tapping their fingers on a piece of paper and putting a note here and there, and calling it music ... but this may be me.

Brazil .. .should be in here, and somehow, finding a way to add Africa ... where Maria Bethania and so many others cracked radio in the later 60's with a massive amount of music that was getting played on radio, but really deserves to be mentioned as prog-folk ... it was not just folk music, and later people like Egberto Gismonti free formed his way, into a hybrid that folks tend to call "jazz" and is not ... it's just total free form within a folk context ... something that is really hard to explain as "folk". But it is ... check out his early albums on ECM. I can not speak with any authority at all, about Argentina, or other Latin countries, and it is widely known that Cuba is massive when it comes to music, and always has been in just about any style.
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Alberto Muñoz View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 08 2009 at 13:26
Dark Captain Light Captain


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 05 2009 at 18:04
It's weird how my family has been on my ass about getting a job for months now.......and yet all I needed was this blog to make me actually do something about it to get one!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 04 2009 at 03:50
That's good.Very good recommendations for those interested in prog folk. I've discovered very very interesting albums from this list
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2009 at 22:24
Bump.

Very good recommendations for those interested in prog folk. I've discovered very very interesting albums from this list, and I think I'm just starting to discover a great world in there Big smile
This is not my beautiful house...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 25 2008 at 17:23
Other folk groups and artist:
 
Forest, and english band that have 2 superb albums issued in CD by BGO records.
 
Also Nick Drake is a excellent guitar player (he have 6 different ways to tuning his guitar) i have all his disc.
 
Leo Kottke and alumini of John Fahey ho have excellent guitar oriented albums (check the 12 string, and the Yellow Princess of Fahey that have members of the Spirit band playing).
 
Peter Lang who record a great album in 1972 (the one with a sphinx).
 
Of course Magna Carta.
 
and guitarrist Jake Holmes who are a big influence on Jimmy Page. in fact Jake wrote Dazed and confused first....
 
 


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2008 at 17:07
A few albums that I am especially fond of that Sean hasn't written about (yet)/haven't been mentioned by others, that I have purchased in my investigation into the acid/prog folk genre after loving jan dukes de grey, comus, trees and spirogyra:

Broselmaschine: Broselmaschine (germany, 1971)--great acoustic guitar, lots of flute, great female and male vocals, some tabla, a great, at times beautiful, album

Synanthesia: Synanthesia (england, 1969) a classic, much sought after. Odd acidic songs alternate with some more folky and jazzy ones.

C.O.B. (Clive's Original Band): Moyshe Mcstiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart (England 1972). Fabulous album. Beautiful, some medieval sounding songs.

Subway: Subway (England 71) Good more down to earth/quieter acid folk. 12 string guitar, unique voice and violin (drums on a few songs, as well as organ and bass)


Others of interest:

Mark Fry: Dreaming with Alice (only released in Italy, recorded when he was 17!) Pretty good acid folk: eeriness, mellow, psych (it has been rereleased finally, with bonus tracks)

Ithaca: A Game for All Who Know (England 1973) Nice mellow, beautiful (great female vocals, also male) album. Also check out Agincourt: Fly Away (1970) (same three members).

Emtidi: Saat (Germany, 72) Fairly electronic psychedelic folk

Witthüser & Westrupp: Der Jesuspilz (Musik Vom Evangelium) and Trips und Träume (germany, 72, 71). Pretty good as far as I have listened to them.

Pearls Before Swine:Balaklava, The Use of Ashes (USA, '68, '70). Haven't listened to these extensively, but what I've heard is some nice psych folk.

Pentangle: Basket of Light (England, '69) Great melodic, rhythmic folk with some middle eastern influence.

Espers: Espers, II (USA 2003,2006) GREAT odd and beutiful music

Kalacakra: Crawling to Lhasa (Germany 72) Indo-Prog/Raga Rock meets acid folk meets blues and krautrock

Third Ear Band: Alchemy, Elements (England 69, 72). Indo-Prog/Raga Rock meets Univers Zero-like classical+odd sound meets acid folk


Less recommended but worth checking out:

Forest: forest and Full Circle (England '69, '70). Largely inspired by the Incredible String Band. 

Shirley and Dolly Collins: Anthems in Eden (have heard this is great and dark, but haven't been able to hunt it down, the next album, "Love Death and the Lady" is a pretty good trad. folksy album but with odd, artsy spins. 

Simon Finn: Pass the Distance (have heard this is good, haven't listened to it a lot yet) 


Haven't heard but have heard good things about:

Moonkyte: Count Me Out

Fuchsia: Fuchsia

Good topic Sean I have a lot more to discover!


Edited by listen - November 16 2008 at 04:24
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2008 at 14:23
In addition to Espers, there are quite a few great modern prog/psych folk bands.  Look into Circulus (only have their debut but it's awesome!), White Magic, Feathers, maybe Joanna Newsom or Devendra Banhart, etc. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 02 2008 at 11:20
As of next week, I will revive this blog and make regular suggestions, because the genre is full of small wonders that need to be discovered.
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2008 at 12:05
Originally posted by sircosick sircosick wrote:

Do a search for Miranda Sex Garden, a weird band of prog folk; try an album called Suspiria, released in 1993. Just rare, yet highly reccomended for a progfolk hardcore fan.

Sorry for the delayin answering.Embarrassed
Just look it up in the Archives, they've been in for a while and I reviewed Suspiria.
 
 
 
 
Today, I 'd love to introduce my latest find, an Australian duo (if you can believe that), that released just one but a superb one album....
 
MADDEN & HARRIS
 
 
 
I reviewed the album this morning.....
 
 
Madden%20And%20Harris%20*%20picture
 
 
 


Edited by Sean Trane - April 03 2008 at 12:06
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2008 at 23:28
THE KINGS OF FOLK PROG = JETHRO TULL
Nothing he's got, he really needs. Twenty first century schizoid man.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 05 2007 at 15:39
Do a search for Miranda Sex Garden, a weird band of prog folk; try an album called Suspiria, released in 1993. Just rare, yet highly reccomended for a progfolk hardcore fan.

The best you can is good enough...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2007 at 20:48
Originally posted by Sean Trane Sean Trane wrote:

 

 

 

A recent discovery of mine, Jan Dukes De Grey is not a person, but a trio of extremely insane young man that have written just two albums (it seems that this is frequent that most of the groups I mention here only released two albums) and if the first one is a fine Hippy-folk album, nothing was to warn us that Mice And Rats In The Loft  (if this title is not about madness) would be so fantastic and enthralling and flabbergastingly superb. Only three tracks and the sidelong track Sun Symphonia is the apex of Folk-influenced prog rock. Just as lyrically insane as Comus or Tea & Symphony, this is a MUST if you are into bizarre folk.

 

 

 




I got this about two weeks ago and since then its become one of my favorite albums. Sun Symphonica is an underrated MASTERPIECE!

Thanks for the reccomendation.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 08 2007 at 09:16
Originally posted by Dick Heath Dick Heath wrote:

Sean,
  
Some odds'n'sods of thoughts - trust I'm not duplicating what others have said already here?
 
(I sure I've writtten this elsewhere on the site) I think Joe Boyd's White Bicycle biography, covering the 60's and including insights into the US and UK folk scene should provide a reference source to expand the roots of prog folk. Indeed Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival by Colin Harper, is a most useful source reference.  I have both these books waiting for me to pay azttention, but little time!! I'm still not finished Buckley's Dream Brothers and Out Bloody Rageous

Ewan McColl and brother-in-law Pete Seeger conservative (be they both left wing politically) /old school ideas of what folk should be, and seen as the leaders of the genre until (as Boyd implies) the minor revolution at the 1964 Newport Jazz & Folk festival. I intend to rewrite the definition of prog folk article (right now it is just a historical) and I will include McColl, Collins , Davey Grahame and Seeger as well as Fahey and maybe even the Dransfield brothers. I hope to place this on the other topics of definition page and set a real prog folk description.

Not mentioned: John Fahey (often said to be a major influence on the American acoustic guitar scene),Al Stewart, John Sebastian, Country Joe & The Fish, Crosby Stills & Nash - Suite Judy Blue Eyes still astonishes me for the quality of playing , singing and the folk rock taking on board a symphonic structure.  Tom Paxton, the importance of Transatlantic Records (especially for Renbourn, Jansch US, exile Stefan Grossman), and Elektra Records Magna Carta.  If I do include Al Stewart, I can hardly leave out John Martyn, Cat Stevens, Richard Thompson, Tim Buckley and Nick Drake. It is a question of drawing the line somewhere

The 'tarting up' of the acoustic sound of folk music in the late 60's, e.g. the string arrangements for Paul Simon/Simon & Garfunkel's early albums, followed by same to Al Stewart and David McWilliams (including the primitive electronic treatment of Days Of Pearly Spencer, when back by the Raymond LeFever Orchestra). Al Stewart writing long pieces about historical events, and even a side long piece in the form of Bedsitting Room - made notorious by being banned from air play by the BEEB - here developing from the tradition of epic folk poems and songs. Magna Carta was strongly influenced by S&G, too.

Fairport convention becoming a relevant force when Joe Boyd brought the powerful voice, as well a move and shifter, in the force of Sandy Denny - believing strongly in the tradition laid down by Cecil Sharp but pushing for the amplification and electrical instruments. The sometime parallels drawn between early Fairport and early Jefferson Airplane. In deed, the former original vocalist of Fairport,  Judy Dyble actually demoing early KC tunes. I preferred Dyble's voice over Denny's in FC. Yes, Dyble's tryout in GG&F is documented in the Brondesbury tapes album. The last trace of Dyble is in Trader Horne (included in the archives)

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 08 2007 at 09:04
To get an idea of the future of folk prog, you might want to check out these bands, some of which have medieval influences
 
Although not really medieval but having a few influences:
among modern groups but usually considered as Wyrd Folk
 
 
 
Espers
 
three albums of which the medium brown and the dark brown cover albums are essential. Astounding stuff.
 
 
 
 
PG Six
 
 
Only heard of the Well Of Memory, but it comes close to being the album (released on amish records if you can believe it) of the year for me. Outstanding.
 
 
 
 
 
 
From 16 Horsepoower, comes David Eugene Edwards (not our Trouserpress) Woven Hand
 
 
Heard three of their four albums, the folkier being Mosaic (their last), but all three have excellent chances to please progheads
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And also The Iditarod (based on the dog sled race thru Alaska)
 
 
Four albums three of which I have heard? Sometimes very close to lo-fi folk, but on the whole excellent.
 
 
 
 
 Long Live Death is also a fine nu-folk along the lines of these I just named (two albums so far, but their site seems abandonned, though).........
 
 
 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2007 at 06:35
Originally posted by Dick Heath Dick Heath wrote:

Sal
 
Sometimes wondered why CBS (Columbia)  made very little effort in promoting their back catalogue of Al Stewart recordings ..........
 
I bought Al Stewart's 'Year of the Cat' yesterday, it's a really nice record. That's thanks to you sir!
 
Just let me pin this to your waitcoat...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2007 at 06:32
Just re-read this thread and found nobody mentioned Vashti Bunyan...don't know where I got that from but what the heck!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2007 at 06:29
Great thread Sean! I have the 2 disc Comus compilation, and I think they're great. It took me a few listens to really appriciate them, but they really grew on me. Also have Spirogyra's 'A Canterbury Tale' compilation, which again at first didn't really work for me, but listened to a few tracks again yesterday and it gels nicelySmile
 
Yesterday I bought Yashti Bunyan's 'Just Another Diamond Day' thanks to your suggestion. I'm listening to it now and I have to say it's really amazing. Thank you! 
The guy in my local store also liked her, which was nice.
 
Thank you again for bringing this often ignored genre to people's attention.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2006 at 16:21
Sorry to tell you that Comus' First Utterance was somehow a little disappointment for me... not exactly my cup ogf tea and not exactly the prog folk I was looking for.
 
They're interesting and I'm happy to have found the album (in elegant parersleeve edition cd), not all that masterpiece...
 
How about Ramases? Today I found their Space Hymn album in my beloved prog shop.
 
Space Hymns


Edited by Andrea Cortese - September 28 2006 at 16:23
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2006 at 06:58
Sal
 
Sometimes wondered why CBS (Columbia)  made very little effort in promoting their back catalogue of Al Stewart recordings ..........
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