From Cherry Red.
It’s now half-a-century since British folk rock became A Thing, with the early practitioners breaking new ground and inspiring an entire scene that peaked in the late Sixties/early Seventies.
Earnest young post-Dylan singer/songwriters moved away from the intimacy of the folk clubs in favour of the nascent college/university circuit. Countercultural iconoclasts The Incredible String Band became a seismic influence on a whole raft of bands now categorised as acid-folk, Pentangle’s use of acoustic instrumentation within a nominally rock framework attracted many emulators (though arguably no real equals), while Fairport Convention graduated from their initial American West Coast- indebted sound to explore their own country’s musical heritage, thus establishing the concept of indigenous English folk rock (a baton that would be picked up by the likes of Ashley Hutchings’ post- Fairport venture Steeleye Span and many others).
By the early Seventies, British folk rock had become an extremely marketable commodity. In addition to the aforementioned brand leaders transcending the determinedly parochial folk pages of the UK music weeklies to score Top Ten albums, a second raft of acts – including Alan Hull’s Lindisfarne, The Strawbs, the post-Humblebums Gerry Rafferty, Ralph McTell and another Fairport refugee, Iain Matthews – registered huge hit singles.
Housed in a clamshell box featuring a lavish forty-page booklet, Strangers In The Room documents that hugely fertile period, when everything was grist to the mill in what quickly became a glorious stylistic melting pot.
As with other Grapefruit genre anthologies, the set features many of the scene’s prime movers while taking a broader look at the overall picture with the inclusion of several acts who ploughed a similar musical furrow without the same level of acclaim. These include Hertfordshire-based group Lifeblud, who supported many of the leading bands of the era and recorded no less than three albums of original material (none of which made it past acetate stage), and university student Jeremy Harmer, who cut a privately-pressed album that inspired his friend and second guitarist David Costa to put together Trees.
Ranging in scope from seminal UK folk rock texts and chart-topping singles to lo-fi demo recordings, and featuring a number of previously unreleased tracks from the disparate likes of Gerry Rafferty and cult favourites Fresh Maggots, Strangers In The Room pays thrilling testimony to the depth of talent that existed within the British and Irish folk rock scene during the period in question, and whose influence still reverberates some fifty years later.
RAISE YOUR VOICE AND SWEETLY SING
1. STRANGER IN THE ROOM – Michael Chapman
2. THE BLACKSMITH – Steeleye Span
3. DANGEROUS DAVE (alternative version) – Spirogyra *
4. MURDOCH – Trees
5. SAD SONG FOR WINTER – Chimera
6. SHOESHINE BOY – The Humblebums
7. MARTHA – Harvey Andrews
8. HANGING TREE – Oo Bang Jiggly Jang
9. SHE’S GETTING MARRIED IN AUGUST – Alan James Eastwood
10.AMONGST ANEMONES – Jade
11.I DON’T KNOW WHY – Knocker Jungle
12.THE SAILOR – Robin Scott
13.HERE COMES THE RAIN – Trader Horne
14.MY DELICATE SKIN – Dave Cartwright
15.ALMOST LIVERPOOL 8 – Mike Hart
16.CANDY DORA – Richmond
17.DON’T KNOW WHY YOU BOTHER CHILD – Gary Farr
18.1917 REVOLUTION – Beau
19.JESUS WAS A CARPENTER – The Johnstons
20.WE CAN SWING TOGETHER – Alan Hull
BACK TO THE GARDEN
1. WOODSTOCK – Matthews Southern Comfort
2. THE MAN WHO CALLED HIMSELF JESUS – The Strawbs
3. ASIROVEDOUT– The Woods Band
4. SIR PATRICK SPENS – Fairport Convention
5. BE NOT SO FEARFUL (demo version) – Bill Fay
6. I LOVED HER SO LONG – Unicorn
7. SARAH IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT – Al Jones
8. SONG FOR A DEAD MOLE – Lea Nicholson & Stan Ellison
9. THERE’S A PLACE I KNOW – Bridget St. John
10.PEOPLE SMILE WITH GHOSTS IN THE LAND OF MAKE-BELIEVE – Jeremy Harmer
11.PUCKA-RI – Urban Clearway
12.SCRANKY BLACK FARMER – C.O.B.
13.LADY OF ST. CLARE – Daylight
14.LOVE HAS GONE – Mary-Anne
15.TIME MACHINE – Mick Softley
16.FLEANCE – Third Ear Band
17.MORNING GLOW – Storyteller
18.RIVERBOAT – Dando Shaft
19.WHAT I AM – Fresh Maggots *
20.LIKE A ROLLING STONE – Canticle
DOWN INTO THE MOONLIGHT WORLD
1. QUEEN OF THE MOONLIGHT WORLD – Andy Roberts
2. THE CUCKOO – The Pentangle
3. LITTLE WOMAN – Mr. Fox
4. FATHER FORGIVE THEM – Ralph McTell
5. JUST AS THE TIDE WAS A ‘FLOWING – Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band
6. OHDIDILOVEADREAM– Incredible String Band
7. STRANGE DAYS – Paper Bubble
8. DAHLIA –Paul Brett’s Sage
9. YOUR LOVELY WAYS (PART ONE) – Mike Cooper
10.RIVER OF FORTUNE – Heron
11.BEVERLEY MARKET MEETING – Jude
12.ALL IN A DREAM – Steve Tilston
13.CARRY ME – Prelude
14.CITY GIRL – Joan Armatrading
15.FURNITURE – Horslips
16.WHO CARES – Gerry Rafferty *
17.YOUNG WATERS – JSD Band
18.SEPTEMBER – 9.30 Fly
19.WAXING OF THE MOON – Lifeblud *
20.WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES – Sandy Denny
￼* = PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
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