Review: Billy Bragg – Bridges Not Walls

A lot has happened politically in the last two years, particularly from a British perspective. First, there was 23rd June 2016 when 51.9% of the participating electorate voted to leave the EU. Then, to top off what can only be described as a tumultuous year, an egomaniacal reality TV star was elected president of the USA.

In times of such uncertainty and instability, there’s one man who can always be depended on to lend his own distinct view to the situation. Folk troubadour and all-round working class hero Billy Bragg has never been one to shy away from the hot topics. Ever since his participation in the Rock Against Racism march as a young teenager in the late ‘70s due to his love of iconic punk band, The Clash, Billy Bragg has been a mainstay of leftist thought in British music, just as likely to appear on Question Time as Top of the Pops [ . . . ]

Read full review: Billy Bragg – Bridges Not Walls

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Ed Askew recordings – A Child In the Sun: Radio Sessions 1969-70 

Ed Askew is right up there on the Astral folk chart of the late ’60s alongside the likes of Michael Hurley and the Incredible String Band. Like Hurley, he’s still very active with his latest album, Art and Life, was released only this year on Tin Angel. The appetite for psychedelic folk is still very strong, so much so that in 2015 Tin Angel remastered and re-issued Ed Askew’s most well-known album – Ask the Unicorn, originally released in 1968 on the New York-based record company ESP-Disk run by lawyer and folk-maverick Bernard Stollman. Some find it odd that such an album released nearly 50 years ago should find such resonance with an audience today…whatever the reasons, we should be thankful that there are labels out there prepared to put the time, effort and money behind such releases which deserve to reach a much wider audience [ . . . ]

More at: Ed Askew recordings – A Child In the Sun: Radio Sessions 1969-70 | FRUK

The Quietus Reviews | Pentangle

It’s perhaps hard to imagine in today’s pop landscape, but back in the 1960s there was a definite insurrection happening in the folk milieu, a drawing of battle lines about what ‘folk music’ could be. The mindset of the folk revival of the previous decade, one of a reverence for tradition and purism, had fossilised into a stilted dogma of conservatism.

Many of the younger singers and musicians breaking through chafed against what they saw as a parochial and out-of-touch clique.From this unrest rose a triumvirate of folk bands whose musical explorations played a part in causing folk music to slip its traditional shackles and become, in the words of Rob Young in his book on modern British folk music Electric Eden, a “floating signifier to be plucked from the air and appropriated by anyone who could find a suitable framework”.

In one corner there was Fairport Convention, who grafted UK folk to a US country rock sound. In another, you had the likes of The Incredible String Band, whose hippy meanderings across north Africa and Asia resulted in strange instruments, new sounds and a positively kaleidoscopic freak scene of psychedelia.But probably the most beguiling and inscrutable of them all is Pentangle [ . . . ]

Read Full Record Review at: The Quietus | Reviews | Pentangle

Jon Langford Four Lost Souls

For many musicians, it’s a dream to record in the famed Shoals region with members of the legendary Muscle Shoals recording crew. But Jon Langford was invited to do just that, completely sight-unseen. After producing artwork for an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015, the Welsh musician was invited to come out to Alabama to record by Elvis’s former bassist and member of Muscle Shoals rhythm section, Norbert Putnam.Joined by f

Source: Jon Langford Four Lost Souls