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Folk Music

camouflage

the usual rigmarole.
I've noticed that I've not met a Folk Music yet that I haven't liked, with the obvious exception of English Folk Music (which is pants obviously) the rest, without exception I've found really foot-tappy and good. I've never actively sought the stuff out but when I come across it, yeah... not exactly cool but certainly enjoyable. The fast stuff makes me want to dance round and round faster an faster and the slow stuff makes me want to weep quietly with visions of the beautiful hills and mountains that surround the villages of my distant homeland. Even though I'm from London.

Cultures of Folk Musics I have enjoyed so far...

Polish
Turkish
Morrocan
Malian
American
Russian
Hungarian
Irish
Greek

One of my favourite Folk Music type tunes would have to be Zorba the Greek, it makes me want to smash plates.:)

I've decided to go after some Folk Musics on purpose. What Folk Musics would anyone suggest? Not just as in what culture makes good Folk Music, but actual band names for me to add to my vast collection of Folk Musics so far (a directory of Kapela albums). Nothing the likes of Billy Bragg might like obviously.
 

killer b

Minimum Waste / Maximum Joy
you need to listen to more english folk music if you think it's rubbish. there's plenty good stuff...

try bulgarian though. :)
 

camouflage

the usual rigmarole.
Oh alright then, I'll give the English stuff a try if you can recommend some. No moany stuff though. & Bollocks to the Unions.
 

the button

out on the kocker
English folk starter-pack: -

Eliza Carthy -- Anglicana Best thing she's ever recorded, IMO. Mostly songs.

Norma Waterson -- Bright Shiny Morning Didn't record a solo album until she was in her 60s, never looked back.

Rachel Unthank & the Winterset -- The Bairns Some traditional songs, also a superb cover of Robert Wyatt's "Sea Song."

Chris Wood -- Trespasser Loosely themed around the time of the Enclosures, some traditional, some of his own songs.

Spiers & Boden -- Songs and Tunes. These two are in Bellowhead (as already mentioned by Roadkill). Two albums, one of songs, the other of tunes. Surprisingly.

There's also June Tabor, but since the OP specified non-mournful, and since most of her recorded output makes Joy Division sound like Kid Creole & the Coconuts, probably best not, eh? But Echo of hooves for choice.

As is traditional (lol) on threads like this, this is where I do a sales pitch for recording of "source" singers of English folk songs, rather than revival performers. Not out of any 'dull but worthy' concern for authenticity or owt, but just because they're some of the best performances of these songs that you'll ever hear. There's a sampler of Topic's 20-CD Voice of the people set which is mid-price, and also a compilation called Hidden English which is full of good stuff and includes a couple of recordings by the mighty Joseph Taylor (the first English folk singer to be commercially released, back in 1905).
 

Roadkill

Well-Known Member
Eliza Carthy -- Anglicana Best thing she's ever recorded, IMO. Mostly songs.
Good album, that. I prefer Angels and Cigarettes, though.

Spiers & Boden -- Songs and Tunes. These two are in Bellowhead (as already mentioned by Roadkill). Two albums, one of songs, the other of tunes. Surprisingly.
Their new one - Vagabond - is pretty good. They're great live as well. :cool:

There's also June Tabor, but since the OP specified non-mournful, and since most of her recorded output makes Joy Division sound like Kid Creole & the Coconuts, probably best not, eh? But Echo of hooves for choice.
June Tabor's odd. Most of her solo albums are way too sombre IMHO, but when she works with other people she's much more listenable. A couple of the albums she did years ago with Martin Simpson are very good and Freedom and Rain, which was basically an Oysterband album with her singing lead vocals, is also well worth listening to. According to a mate of mine who's met her a few times she's lovely, and not half as serious as she can come across on record - wicked sense of humour, apparently.

Also, The Handsome Family have done some good stuff. I have something of a soft spot for the Canadian group Great Big Sea as well: a fair proportion of their output is pretty awful, but there's the odd gem in there too. :cool:
 

Fuchs66

Ring a ding
English folk starter-pack: -

Eliza Carthy -- Anglicana Best thing she's ever recorded, IMO. Mostly songs.

Norma Waterson -- Bright Shiny Morning Didn't record a solo album until she was in her 60s, never looked back.
While you"re on the Waterson/Carthy gang dont forget Oliver Knight excellent guitarist and producer, did some good stuff with his mum, Lal Waterson while she was still around.

My local lot (Robin Hood's bay) so I have to push them a bit

E2A this Oliver Knight, to avoid confusion

http://www.topicrecords.co.uk/Index_Link_Files/oliver_knight_topic_records.html
 

the button

out on the kocker
My local lot (Robin Hood's bay) so I have to push them a bit
Mike Waterson's solo album is one of my all-time favourites of all time, but maybe not one for a starter pack. Unless November's going to be immediately captivated by a 12 minute unaccompanied ballad about rescuing your lover from hell while he is transformed into a series of animals. :hmm:
 

matt m

Active Member
My UK folk music starter pack would be very different.

The album that got me into UK folk was Shirley Collins & Davy Graham 'Folk Routes, New Roots'. Arguably not really a UK folk album, as Davy Graham plays very blues, jazzy American sounding guitar on it. But the weird juxtaposition of Shirley's pure, deadpan, totally-English-accented voice with all the twanging and bluesiness is great. I think I probably needed that American-ness to get me through the door.

I'd recommend:

Shirley & Dolly Collins – Love, Death & the Lady
(one of the best albums ever made, in any genre. Like a sort of macabre pastoral Sgt Pepper)

Anne Briggs - The Collection
(or any of her orgininal albums you can find. Listen to the tracks with guitar backing first; you might find her a capella stuff a bit too sparse at first go. She has possibly the most beautiful singing voice ever. And when you see photos of her from the 60s...)

Fairport Convention - Unhalfbricking

Bert Jansch - Jack Orion (or alternatively his Rosemary Lane. Those two albums were when he first started tackling English and Irish trad folk songs)

Lal Waterson - Bright Phoebus
(if you like Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd you'll love it)

Alasdair Roberts - No Earthly Man
(grim, doomy contemporary folk album)

James Raynard - Strange Histories
(slightly less grim and doomy contemporary folk album from friend of Alasdair Roberts)

Michael Rossiter - My Dearest Dear
(One of the best albums of last year - fiendishly good 12-string guitar and plaintive singing from Yorkshireman tackling a bunch of old English and American ballads, re-set to his own beautiful John Fahey/Jack Rose style melodies)

Martin Carthy - Shearwater

the Young Tradition - So Cheerfully Round/The Young Tradition
(very piercing harmony singing, not to everyone's taste. But if you like Bulgarian/Romanian group singing, you'd like it a lot)

Derek Lamb - She was Poor but She was Honest
(great collection from the 1960s of pub/music hall songs that returns them to a folk background - not a hint of Chas n Dave. Funny but quite spooky and a bit of a lost freak-folk classic actually)

actually this has gone way off being a starter pack and basically just reflects things I've listened to a lot recently. All good stuff though. Check out Mary Hampton and Nancy Wallace too: two contemporary Brit folk singers doing something a bit different.
 

matt m

Active Member
I'm guessing you're probably into rembetika music, if you're into Greek and Turkish stuff, right? There are some great rembetika compilations out there.

The album Roots by Babazula might be your bag. It's kind of like Turkish cafe music meets early African Head Charge or Public Image Ltd.

I've been listening to some Azerbaijani music recently too. Getting really into the saz playing from there. It's kind of somewhere in between Indian raga and Turkish folk music. Sounds a lot more sort of intuitive than Indian improvisation, a lot less formal. Art of the Saz by Edalat Nasibov is a terrific solo saz album: quite psychedelic sounding in places, it's the best thing I've heard from that part of the world.
 

the button

out on the kocker
I'd agree with a lot of matt m's suggestions, but I was trying to skew my list towards stuff recorded in the last 10 years. :)

No Roses or Love, Death & the Lady, for definite. I also love The Young Tradition -- and Peter Bellamy's solo stuff. His concertina playing has an unhealthy influence on my own. :oops:

As much as I admire what Martin Carthy's done, I don't really listen to him all that much nowadays. This said, "Reynard the fox" on Out of the cut brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it (a song about foxhunting from the foxes' point of view).
 

Johnny Vodka

The Abominable Scotsman
Get your hands on a folk compilation called Folk Off. It's compiled by Rob Da Bank, who knows his stuff - one CD of British music and one CD of American. It's great.
 

Johnny Vodka

The Abominable Scotsman
I went to a James Yorkston gig a month or so ago.

He was fucking ace. Although I like his stuff on record (in small doses), I wasn't sure he'd be able to entertain as a Saturday night gig - but he did.
 

Dillinger4

Es gibt Zeit
I went to a James Yorkston gig a month or so ago.

He was fucking ace. Although I like his stuff on record (in small doses), I wasn't sure he'd be able to entertain as a Saturday night gig - but he did.
And you just picked out my favourite song on that compilation.

:D

What is he like live then?
 

BlueSquareThing

With chips
I rather like Tunng - although there's a fair amount of death and whathaveyou in the lyrics the presentation is always interesting. That'd be my UK choice to try something different.

Great Big Sea are ace if you want Canadian. La Bottine Souriante are also well worth a shot. Fun.
 

Johnny Vodka

The Abominable Scotsman
What is he like live then?
I think sometimes he plays alone, but this time he had a backing band - by that I mean accordion, fiddle and stuff. His vocals were really clear and he seemed amazed that everybody obviously loved him so much, which was sweet. (He's not your typical pop star - pudgy, balding bloke in his late 30s. I actually thought he was older than that.) He was very captivating.

The track on Folk Off (which he didn't play when I saw him) is actually my favourite song of his, but the rest of his stuff is more traditional. Worth tracking down is his excellent version of Song to the Siren, which appeared as a b-side.
 
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