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The Roots of Freak Folk

Spleen Cringe 29 Nov 09 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Minteddy 29 Nov 09 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,bankley 29 Nov 09 - 08:03 AM
Folknacious 29 Nov 09 - 08:32 AM
Will Fly 29 Nov 09 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,bankley 29 Nov 09 - 10:20 AM
Spleen Cringe 29 Nov 09 - 10:48 AM
RWilhelm 29 Nov 09 - 07:49 PM
Acorn4 29 Nov 09 - 08:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Nov 09 - 08:15 PM
Ross Campbell 29 Nov 09 - 08:41 PM
bankley 30 Nov 09 - 06:46 PM
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Subject: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 04:40 AM

So... some of you Mudcat guys and gals have been aboard this strange old planet for a long, long time and may be and may be able to shed some light for some us relatively freshfaced types (notwithstanding the old saw that if you can remember the 1960s you weren't there)...

Those of you who were around in the 1960s (I believe the decade lasted from around 1958 - 1973) and can remember the beatnik era transforming into the hippy era, the influence of all things psychedelic on popular (and unpopular) culture, the idealism and the idiocy - what can you remember about the influence of psychedelia, the hippy scene and so on on folk music?

I am a big fan of people like Michael Hurley, Holy Modal Rounders, Pearls Before Swine and the Fugs from the US side of the pond, and people like the Incredible String Band, Dr Strangely Strange and Forest from the UK side. What else was going on? I'm not talking about the big acts from the era who had a folk element to their music, but the little people - the local bands who fused folk and psychedelia, the troubadours who took it too far, the one-obscure-album wonders who sank without a trace - in short, people you may have known, played gigs with, seen in concert... people you may have been.

Hope some of you feel able to share your reminiscences and shine an insider's light on this fascinating ear. As a person who wasn't born till 1963, it appears like an exotic foreign country to me... and I'd love to know more from those of you who were in the thick of it...


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: GUEST,Minteddy
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 07:44 AM

1960s in the UK didn't hit the starting line until 1963 with Gerry and the Pacemakers with "How do you do it" closely followed by the Beatles "From me to you" The sixties started cantering towards the starting line in 1960 I think (in the UK) with Jonny Kidd and the Pirates with "Shakin All Over". The sixties ended in my opinion in the UK with Mungo Jerry with "In the summertime" in June 1970. After that the world became a darker and more serious place.


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: GUEST,bankley
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:03 AM

In eastern Canada, there was The Perth County Conspiracy lead by a Brit, Cedric Smith, who was also an actor. a co-op of back-to-the landers, actors, activists, anarchists, Milton Acorn, Lord Buckley types.. Cedric did Shakespeare roles at the Stratford festival early on, and I heard he was fired for driving a motorcyle on stage during a performance of Hamlet... Sometimes the band would play in 2 different towns on the same night by splitting up for the evening..

Frazer and Dubolt were another duo that pushed the psychotropic envelope... also Sean Gagnier with his song 'San Mescalito' and the home-made 'ghost shirt' that he wore..

I was in a band called 'The Urge' in the late 60's around Montreal..about the same time as 'The Rabble'
We played acid blues, lots of original stuff, most of 'The White Album' on 2 old 50's gold top Les Pauls, all stripped down and modified... I swapped mine later for a 12 string Gibson acoustic and headed out to Vancouver in search of something else...and to give my head a rest... sometime later in the early 70's I joined up with an 18 piece band... another co-op of session players and hot sidemen in Quebec. We were called 'Ville Emard Blues Band' and did every stlye of music you could imagine... a real circus, from solo acoustic to free jazz, kick-ass rock, classical, chansonier, anything goes in Franglais (French/English) Funkebek... groundbreaking and wall shaking... that was mostly my experience from the 'thick of it' in my corner of the universe... I don't believe I'll ever really come down from all of it.... nor do I want to.... heh, heh.... R.


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Folknacious
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:32 AM

If you're on Facebook, look up a writer called Jeanette Leech. She's currently writing a book about all this due for publication next summer, Shifting Sands, The Story Of Acid Folk. She has a Facebook page about it here .


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:53 AM

Performance artist Ron Geesin was one of the most original of freaky artists - including folk - I've ever seen. Here's a short but typical extract: Ron Geesin.

And this... Ron Geesin - To Roger wherever you are...


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: GUEST,bankley
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 10:20 AM

I also really like Lach, who pretty well started the antifolk scene in New York in the 80's.... back to basics, irreverant and funny


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 10:48 AM

Hi Ron,

Thanks for your fascinating post. This is just the sort of thing I was hoping for! Due to the magic of t'interweb, I'm now listening to a vinyl rip of "Frazer and DeBolt with Ian Guenther", and a lovely album it is, too. Can't believe its never had a CD reissue. Looking forward to listening to The Perth County Conspiracy (Does Not Exist) next...

Cheers

SplCr


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: RWilhelm
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 07:49 PM

What I recall as a teenager in the sixties is a period - say between when Dylan went electric and Woodstock - when a lot of albums came into mainstream record stores and they had no idea where to put them. Because of folk-rock and the blues revival, a lot of them ended up in the folk bins. Before they hit big, I remember finding Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Dr. John, Mothers of Invention, etc. classified as folk.

Eventually they sorted it out, but a few, like the ones Speen Cringe mentioned still defy classification. And that is as it should be.


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Acorn4
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:03 PM

I well remember in the early 70s a gig in Sussex with the aformentioned Ron Geesin and Jeremy Taylor -one of the most hilarious nights I've evr been to,


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:15 PM

I was in New York city from 1960-64 and knew Peter Stampfel casually and heard the Holy Modal Rounders and Peter by himself on many occasions. I heard a lot of music in the Greenwich Village coffee houses back then, but there wasn't much of a Psychedelic movement. Peter and Steve Weber were two of a kind. My friend Luke Faust joined The Bottlecaps, another of Peter's brief groups, but he really was more into southern mountain folk, which we played together. Insect Trust recorded two albums for Capitol records. Luke was on both albums, mostly playing five string banjo. The cover of the second album was a print done by Luke. I really liked the first album a lot and have wanted to pick it up on CD but it's rare and too expensive for my taste. I still have both albums on vinyl.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 29 Nov 09 - 08:41 PM

I don't know if this fits in with what you're looking for, but sometime in the '90s I came across a cassette of The Colorblind James' Experience album "Strange Sounds from the Basement", which then played in my car for weeks.

Blog from David Macintire, former band member here

and here

American band, and maybe too late to be "roots", but they did tour in UK and recorded for Cooking Vinyl.

Some clips on YouTube - start here:-
The Colorblind James Experience - A Different Bob


Ross


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Subject: RE: The Roots of Freak Folk
From: bankley
Date: 30 Nov 09 - 06:46 PM

You're welcome SC... as it turned out I got to hang out with Alan Fraser a few years after their duo split up.. we jammed and sat around with his family quite often in a log house in the Quebec mountains..lent him a Rickebacker electric for awhile..
He lives in Montreal, last I heard... I believe he has a myspace page..

and Cedric, I bumped into a few times.. the last being the Vancouver Folk Fest. in '99.. we were in the same sleeping area at UBC, along with Tom Russell so, that was too cool, and gave us had a chance to catch up a bit... his main bread and butter is still acting and voice-over/narration.. I think he's still in Toronto...R.


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