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GUEST,Santa Classic English folk albums (52* d) RE: Classic English folk albums 07 Jul 03

In one sense, I'd say that England's music in the 50s-80s followed a basically similar path to that of America, except that perhaps it started from a deep low. There's no UK equivalent of country music, to span the gap between popular and traditional. Maybe skiffle in the 50s.

Certainly as far as folk rock is concerned, then you have to consider the influence of the Mersey Beat, and Bob Dylan, especially Bob Dylan, on those who encountered traditional folk via (say) Ewen McColl. But folk rock really is just the career paths of three bands: Steeleye, Fairport and the Albion. There were other good ones, but not I think on the same scale. You need to think of the troubadors - Al Stewart, Ralph McTell - singer/songwriters of contemporary folk. Then the pure traditional singers like Anne Briggs and Shirley Collins. The popular "easy listening folk" such as the Spinners, Taverners, (OK, the Corries are Scottish, but the principle is the same.)

But what you will find is an intertwining of styles, with musicians such as Martin Carthy moving fairly freely between the different "folk categories".   Look too closely and you will only find the individual careers of specific artists: if mosaic is not a perfect analogy then perhaps a rope comes to mind - made up of different strands that start and stop. But ropes have edges, and folk music doesn't: it fades into other styles, like most music.

You might like to consider the band genealogies provided in Topic's special releases covering Martin Carthy and Fairport Convention.

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