When the UK did Folk Rock

  • Fairport Convention
  • Pentangle
  • Steeleye Span
  • Never heard of them / What You Talkin’ Bout, Willis?

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No clue. What about The Pogues, Billy Bragg, Mumford & Sons, or The View?

Pogues, maybe, but later, and sort of a personnel crossover. As an American, never heard of Mumford & Sons (now I’ll have to check them out). BB and the View seem of much lesser stature, at least over here.

The point of the Poll is to start some talk. Looking through my old vinyl, I find I have at least 2 albums each of the 3 I listed. And Bert Janch & John Renbourne’s early album.

I was roughly alluding to themes that repeat across generations, and how many bands are effectively unknown or forgotten – and waiting to be rediscovered. So much content out now, and so many self produced artists today (with zero marketing dollars). After popular music fractured into incompatible subgroups in the 1970s, many bands could only be heard on college radio in the 1980s (now called Indie).

The Pogues career peak was the “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash” album (1985). It received mainstream press coverage in the US as Folk Punk. They faded from US awareness after 2-3 albums, but continued in the UK with the very heavily drinking Shane McGowan (eventually kicked out and returned).

Billy Bragg was very well known for simple guitar productions and 50/50 romantic and extremely political content during the 1980s Thatcher era. “Levi Stubbs Tears,” “Walk Away Irene,” and “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward.” He was sometimes lumped in with The Smiths, per the topics and instrumentation. However, The Smiths were far too unusual to be called Folk Rock or lumped into any category whatsoever. He faded after added a backing band.

Mumford & Sons had a massive international hit with the “Sigh No More” album (2009), whereby you might well have heard some of their music without knowing the name. “The Cave,” I Gave You All," Little Lion Man," etc.

I threw in The View as a recent one hit wonder album “Hats Off To The Buskers” (2007). It’s a decent album, but they are destined to be forgotten.

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The Cave sounds familiar. I am familiar with the Pogues. It seems to me that the heyday of popularity for this genre was about 1968-74, although Steeleye Span is still playing and recording. I recall one of my friends having a simultaneous crush on Sandy Denny and Maddy Prior. As for the poll, I like all 3 of those groups so much that I can never really decide. Pentangle is a bit more complex, early Fairport has superior writing, and Steeleye Span can really bring the house down - Parcel of Rogues gets a lot of play on my turntable.

Just did some listening. Yes, I have heard The Cave. I like “Feel the Tide” from the same album very much. Not used to hearing much banjo in English music. My ear wants to hear more harmonies, and a female vocal would be welcome. I was going to say they seem like a great pub band (that’s not an insult, you can say the same about much of Derek and the Dominos), when they have a few very soulful pieces. All in all, at least this Sigh No More album has more of a pop feel than I expected.

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Sigh No More might be called Arena Folk!

To be honest I haven’t heard much folk music. Though I am sure that I would like it. The only folky type of stuff I’ve heard is Peter, Paul and Mary who as you know are Americans. I don’t even know if they would be classed as folk. Excuse my ignorance.

Peter Paul and Mary are sort of new wave folk, If you haven’t listened to the 3 I listed in the poll, you must do so after you have auditioned Beethoven’s 6th :rofl: Then we can talk American Folk somewhere.

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Thank you I shall. I am going to listen to Beethoven’s 6th over the next few days and I shall get back to you. Again thanks for your interest.

for me it would be Pentangle, they were my entry into British folk. Jansch and Renbourn being the corner stones of british folk for me. Other groups/artists I’d include are pre Annie Haslam Renaissance, Maddy Prior, John Martyn and Ralph McTell probably one of the more successful busker/folkies out of the era.

Of course Janch and Renbourn did some albums together - I think the first was “Burt and John” in the mid 60s, in addition to solo albums.