VARIOUS ARTISTS – Strangers In The Room: A Journey Through The British Folk-Rock Scene 1967-73

A product of the late 60s freedoms and musical experimentation, British folk-rock gave the world a few classic albums in its formative years. Fairport Convention’s ‘What We Did On Our Holidays’ and ‘Leige & Leif’, both released in 1969, arguably took the musical fusion from being of cult status and into the more mainstream. Now considered indispensable by fans everywhere, these are albums without which Led Zeppelin’s third album might not exist in quite the same way…or even at all. Often taking a more trad direction in their early years, Steeleye Span captured the fingered-ear of folkies with 1970’s ‘Please To See The King’, whilst Lindisfarne also gained a great deal of commercial success with a slightly more raucous take on a rapidly growing genre, even if that success has been somewhat overlooked in the passing of time.

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Karine Polwart to release ‘Scottish Songbook’ album in August

6 time BBC award-winning singer songwriter Karine Polwart releases her eighth album this coming August.   ‘Scottish Songbook’ does what it says on the tin, with Karine re-interpreting various pieces of Scottish pop spanning the last six decades.  Fans will experience her putting her own stamp on classics by Deacon Blue and The Waterboys, as well as revisiting Strawberry Switchblades huge 1985 hit ‘Since Yesterday’.

You can find out more in the press release below, which contains a link to the new single, a cover of Ivor Cutler’s ‘Women of The World’.

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Watch: ‘Swan’, a new live video from Lisa Hannigan

Irish singer songwriter Lisa Hannigan has been recording for seventeen years.  She first came to fame via her appearances on Damien Rice’s early albums, but her own ‘Sea Sew’ album from 2008 propelled her to stardom and earnt her a Mercury Prize nomination for the song ‘Lille’.

Each of her subsequent albums have been critically acclaimed and her career has continued to thrill fans.  In May, Lisa will release her first full length live album, ‘Live In Dublin’, recorded with Stargaze.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Come Join My Orchestra: The British Baroque Pop Sound 1967-73

Between 2016-2018, Grapefruit Records released three excellent box sets exploring the nooks and crannies of the British psychedelia movement. The three anthologies featured in excess of over two hundred tracks and even included items which even the more devoted psych obsessive hadn’t heard before. Having almost exhausted that particular avenue, the same label’s ‘Come Join My Orchestra: The British Baroque Pop Sound 1967-73′ from November 2018 provides an interesting side-step. In the wake of numbers like The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘For No One’ and the Stones’ ‘Lady Jane’, baroque pop became in vogue and all manner of artists – obscure or otherwise – turned to applying strings and flutes a-plenty. Not quite straight pop, but never as ostentatious as prog rock would make the orchestra, the seven year stretch bridging the two decades turned up all kinds of treats. While often favouring the singer songwriter over the pop bands, ‘Come Join My Orchestra’ is a great celebration of these sometimes forgotten musical experiments – and with seventy eight tracks ranging from the cult classic to genuinely obscure, there’s a lot here to take in.

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Bert Jansch: First ever career spanning “best of” due in October

For fans of folk music, the works of Bert Jansch have long held a fascination.  A “musician’s musician”, his approach to the acoustic guitar provided beautiful sounds and, like fellow English folkie Nick Drake, his best works remain ones people look up to and aspire to emulate.

Jimmy Page is a huge fan and, indeed, took inspiration from several cuts from Jansch’s 1966 LP ‘Jack Orion’ when recording acoustic works between 1969 and 1970.  In recent years, parts of Jansch’s catalogue of work has been reissued on CD in both individual album formats and three expansive box sets, but until now, there has never been a compilation that allows fans and new listeners the opportunity to explore his back catalogue in a well-curated set.

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