Subtitled ‘Pastoral Psychedelia & Funky Folk’, this three disc anthology from Strawberry Records delves deeply into an era where folk music adopted a more progressive approach, and prog/psych bands weren’t afraid to get whimsical. Although the music within isn’t always easily pigeonholed, the bands and artists featured cross genres and moods freely, in a way that captures a period like no other, mixing folk narratives and very English tones with the worldly haze of a prog rock experimentation and a love of jazz. Without these genre-bending pioneers, John Martyn’s ‘Solid Air’ mightn’t be the much loved masterpiece that it is, and Al Stewart might’ve been forever stuck in a Dylan-esque narrative rut. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Tag Archives: 70s
THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 7: 1970s
The Fall’s early work has been reissued several times, but with a few of their “Fall Sound Archives” releases, Cherry Red Records managed to go above and beyond to give some well worn material the best send off ever. Both ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ and ‘Dragnet’ were released as lavish three disc editions in 2019, but even better, the seminal ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ formed part of a brilliant box set, ‘1982’, later that same year. By making the much loved album the main feature of a 6CD anthology, it set a precedent for similarly great reissues.
Taking the same approach as that box set, ‘1970s’ is a hefty 12CD tome that claims to include all of the band’s work from that decade. It doesn’t – there are notable omissions – but it pulls together a huge wealth of material, including several live shows that have never been officially released. There’s always a question of how much bootleg quality Fall material you need, but as the old fan mantra suggests, “you must get them all”, and the lure of six unavailable live sets here will certainly be enough for the hardened fan to want this set – quality be damned-ah.
STEPHEN STILLS – Thoroughfare Gap
Following the release of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s excellent ‘CSN’ LP in 1977, Stephen Stills returned to his solo work. He’d made some excellent albums before [1970’s self-titled album and 1975’s ‘Stills’ are both essential listening, and 1976’s ‘Illegal Stills’, while marred a little by a thin sound, is very enjoyable], so there was no need to think that his next solo LP wouldn’t be of a certain standard. However, in comparison to almost everything he’d put his name to previously, his 1978 release ‘Thoroughfare Gap’ can be seen a big misstep.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – Climb Aboard My Roundabout!: The British Toytown Pop Sound 1967-1974
What is “Toytown Pop”? The label, coined by fans and collectors, refers to the more mundane and child-friendly aspects of the psychedelic era and psych pop movements. It is chiefly concerned with everyday life, shops, buses, swings in the park, and has an obsession with being home in time for tea. In terms of lyrical concerns and overall concepts, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more…1967.
For those who aren’t regular visitors down the rabbit holes of cult 60s pop, The Beatles’ ‘Penny Lane’ is a good example of this musical niche with its busy narrative driven by people and casual observations, and to a lesser extent, the optimistic tone and bounce of ‘Good Day Sunshine’ could also fit the remit. Obviously, due to licencing agreements and costs – as usual – you won’t find The Fab Four anywhere on ‘Climb Aboard My Roundabout’, but Grapefruit Records has unearthed a whole world of other treats to ensure that this three disc set is a very comprehensive journey through Toytown, and is never less than interesting.
PLAINSONG – Following Amelia: The 1972 Recordings & More
In the minds of most people, Iain Matthews will always be best known as an early member of Fairport Convention, and for fronting his own folk rock band Matthews’ Southern Comfort in the early 1970s. His career stretches way beyond that, though, and is home to some much bigger musical treats.