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What is psych folk...?

GUEST,John Miles of Smiles 02 Oct 10 - 12:10 PM
Art Thieme 02 Oct 10 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 02 Oct 10 - 12:47 PM
theleveller 02 Oct 10 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,Tim the guest 02 Oct 10 - 03:40 PM
Emma B 02 Oct 10 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 03 Oct 10 - 04:31 AM
Paul Burke 03 Oct 10 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 06:58 AM
GUEST 03 Oct 10 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 03 Oct 10 - 07:00 AM
Jack Blandiver 03 Oct 10 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Oct 10 - 08:04 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Oct 10 - 02:25 PM
GUEST 03 Oct 10 - 02:54 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM
GUEST 03 Oct 10 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 04:22 AM
Jack Blandiver 04 Oct 10 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 06:08 AM
theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 06:15 AM
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theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 AM
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theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 06:57 AM
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theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 07:31 AM
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brezhnev 04 Oct 10 - 03:34 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Oct 10 - 03:38 PM
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theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 03:23 AM
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theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM
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GUEST,Suibhne Astray 05 Oct 10 - 04:20 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Oct 10 - 04:24 AM
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Jack Blandiver 05 Oct 10 - 05:02 AM
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theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 08:10 AM
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GUEST,Suibhne Astray 05 Oct 10 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,John Miles of Smiles 07 Oct 10 - 01:02 PM
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GUEST 07 Oct 10 - 05:36 PM
Phil Edwards 07 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM
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Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 08 Oct 10 - 03:25 AM
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Phil Edwards 09 Oct 10 - 09:23 AM
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Subject: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,John Miles of Smiles
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 12:10 PM

There was a curiously unresolved writers' discussion on this topic at the Ian Anderson-arranged 'Ghosts from the Basement' Village Thing retrospective at Cecil Sharp House last week.

What do people think of the term?

What do people think of the idiom?

What do people think in general?

Grateful for your thoughts!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 12:21 PM

Alas, the practitioners of this are all referred to as Psycho-ceramics.

Commonly, they are called Crackpots!

Art


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 12:47 PM

Just my opinion, but...

Broadly, pastoral psychedelia from the late sixties and early seventies (or more recent music that plays close homage to that sort of thing), often with a vaguely folky vibe and a folklorish or elf-tastic bent to the lyrics.

Classic examples would be The Incredible String Band, Forest, Dr Strangely Strange, Comus and Mellow Candle (though the last stray into folk rock territory). Contemporary examples might include the wonderfully and frighteningly prolific Kitchen Cynics

Gerald Van Waes' psychedelic folk homestead is as good a place as any to start.

Art, when are you going to bring out a joke book? Actually, on second thoughts don't answer that! ;-)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 02:49 PM

Ha...at this very moment just listening to Heron. What a coincidence.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Tim the guest
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 03:40 PM

You want to know what psych folk is? Very simply, in it's truest form it is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL1M9yDwrzY


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Emma B
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 04:08 PM

One of 'those' coincidences -

I was listening to devendra banhart's "when they come" accompanying a video celebrating nonviolent protest earlier as today, Gandhi's birthday, was declared International Day of Non-Violence by a vote of the United Nations General Assembly
you tube link


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 04:31 AM

I don't know how we can possibly discuss such a nebulous term as 'Psych Folk' when there are so many obtuse people around who insist on pretending that they don't know what 'Folk' or 'Traditional' mean!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:20 AM

Psych folk?

Jung but Growing.
Reich Jung Sailor.
Follow me Down to Karlov.
Analyst Gordon....

BTW Shimrod, do you? (no handwaving now...)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:29 AM

Hi Shimrod - I'll do you a compilation CD! Of course, the vast majority of psych folk has nothing to do with traditional music (though some would say - and who am I to disagree? - that some traditional music fits happily into the psych folk canon, possible examples being Shirley Collins' "Power of the True Love Knot" as well as plenty of individual songs, suggesting of course, that psych folk is all in the mind - BOOM! BOOM!). What psych folk does suggest to me is that it's possible to have pastoral acoustic music that is neither traditional folk, solo singer songwriter stuff nor syrupy acoustic pop.

Pete, not sure I could sit through an entire Heron album (I have a double CD that is to say the least patchy) but I have to say that Lord and Master is a wonderful song.

Tim the Guest... sorry, but that song you linked to was dreadful! Coming back at you with this. True psych folk genius! Caravan by Dulcimer


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:55 AM

Forest - Graveyard. Possibly the psych folk motherlode. Hard to believe, but this group started as an unaccompanied trad trio in thrall to The Young Tradition and the Watersons...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:56 AM

Tudor Lodge - Willow Tree. The easily scared can start from one minute in. From the "heavy on studio production" end of the genre.

COB - Eleven Willows. COB's Moyshe McStaff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart" is probably one of my all time favourite albums and definitive proof that Clive Palmer was the real genius in The Incredible String Band.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:57 AM

Bread, Love and Dreams - Brother John. They tended towards the proggy end of psych folk but this is a simple and beautiful song from their best album, Amaryllis.

Trees - The Garden of Jane Delawney. Generally most folk rock than psych folk, but this is a classic of the genre.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:58 AM

Stone Angel - The Bells of Dunwich. An obscurity whose lo-fi production values do little to detract from a lovely, song with obligatory psych folk flute. Don't be put off by the slow build up.

Caedmon - Sea Song. The albums a not that great mish-mash of too many influences and they were essentially from the Christian folk-rock sub-genre, but this song is their stone classic. Some blistering and unexpected fuzz guitar, too.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 06:59 AM

And finally as a real treat, one of my favourite ever singers (just listen to that voice!). If you don't click on any of the other links, click on this one. This song also shows that the Hammond organ is a severely underused instrument in folk music...

Shelagh McDonald - Dowie Dens of Yarrow.

I'd wholeheartedly recommend the "complete works" double CD Let No Man Steal Your Thyme that came out a few years ago. Interesting backstory, too: Shelagh McDonald site

PS Apologies for the multiple posts, but for some reason MC wouldn't let me post this as a single message...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 07:00 AM

Me again above


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 07:04 AM

Basically Psych Folk is music touching at any point upon the Folk Aesthetic with reference to the more expansive, improvised & ethnically inspired territories associated with Psychedia - although maybe less Lysergic acid diethylamide than Psilocybe semilanceata. So all of the above (I actually passed on the ISB's 'U' double CD reissue for £3 yesterday in Fop, much preferring my original vinyl; I went for Miles Davis' 'Big Fun' for £9 instead!) and more besides: Popol Vuh, early Kraftwerk (up to & including the very pastoral 'Autobahn', but try their third album 'Ralf & Florian' first) Peter Bellamy (especially on 'Merlins Isle of Gramarye' & 'Oak Ash & Thorn') Sarah Clitheroe (whose 1976 set of field-recorded supernatural Child Ballads 'Seven Years a Tongue to the Warning Bell' has yet to be equalled), Daevid Allen (his acoustic trilogy of 'Good Morning', 'Now is the Happiest Time of your Life' and 'N'existe Pas' is very worthy in this respect, but check The Owly Song for some of the finest pysch folk ever). Then of course there's Michael Hurley, and the Holy Modal Rounders school of things, which is an entire psychedelic folk cosmos of its own.

For my money, however, the acid-drenched freely improvised modal medieval alchemical Druid dronings of the Third Ear Band is psychedelic folk at its very highest. Coincidentally, I've just bunged a very rare Sounds of the 70s live set from July 1970 across to Luca Ferrari which you can access freely via the equally expansive (and potentially minbdblowing) but entirely official Third Esar blogspot Getto Raga. Last year I edited some images from hereabouts to the Third Ear Band's 'Eternity in D' from a 1971 live session. This features a more electric sound, but is still replete with the chilling improvised interplay between oboe & violin which typifies their particular (and peculiar) approach. Miles Davis fans will immediately spot the influence of 'Bitches Brew' (the basic riff is ripped off wholesale) but might tale heart that the bass player here is Paul Buckmaster who was a noted influence on Miles's thinking at this time. Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfj0oOv240M

Today, Folk Police notwithstanding, the best of Pysch Folk might be found on John Barleycorn Reborn - A Discovery of Dark Brittanica - two further couble CD sets coming soon I believe...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 08:04 AM

And for some truly seminal Psych Folk you don't have to venture too far from the cultural comfort zones!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yBvhIC8d5U


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:25 PM

Hmmm, Pseud's Corner is alive and well.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 02:54 PM

Hi Richard! Care to expand?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM

Pretension, supra.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 07:16 PM

All good! I'm a new user of Mudcat so I thought that this sort of knowing question might be a good way to work out how broad the appetites of members are!

I agree that psych-folk has become acceptable shorthand for 'skewed pastoralism' in (mainly) transatlantic musics; it's a textural or atmospheric descriptor, and rarely connotes a direct link to 'folk traditions' in the way that many might still like to see the term 'folk' confined to.

John Barleycorn reborn is a good shout in terms of new(ish) British exponents, and re-establishes the connection with the Current 93 axis too. These are all great companion compilations that showcase the (mainly) US side of things:

http://boomkat.com/cds/20477-various-digitalis-gold-leaf-branches
http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/549-golden-apples-of-the-sun-compilation/
http://therealnittygritty.blogspot.com/2009/01/various-by-fruits-you-shall-know-roots.html

The latter gave us the name for the first instalment of a (hopefully!) annual bash that we've organised at Cecil Sharp House on 30th Oct:

http://www.milesofsmiles.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 04:22 AM

Never really got the whole Current 93/Coil/Sol Invictus thing. I enjoyed about half of John Barleycorn Reborn, but there is a tendency towards portentious noodling...

There a mention of the Fruits gig on another board. The question was asked, what is meant by "dissident folk"? Fancy elaborating on that one, John? The gig has a wonderful line up, but I'm struggling to understand in what way a gig featuring the grande dame of the UK folk revival (and president of the EFDSS to boot), the son of a folk revival player and purveyor of traditional songs and new songs in a tradition-inspired vein and a band with at least one foot in the 70s folk-rock camp and deeply inspired at least in part by traditional music and early music, is dissident. I'm sure it will be great, featuring as it does three of my favourites, but dissident? It could be suggest that the use of the word in the blurb is a) simply a way of discouraging anyone over 35 to turn up and b) an attempt to rail against a percieved folk orthodoxy... I'n not having a go, just curious.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:27 AM

Back in 1988 we recorded the Masstishaddhu / Shekinah album for United Dairies which came out with Current 93's Earth Covers Earth, an album which strikes me as being a bit of a watershed for Psych Folk in general. Weird thing was I had no idea C93 were working on an album of folk songs, nor yet that UD would be symapthetic to such a thing, so having recorded several supernatural ballads (Child #32 and Child #6 amongst them as I recall) by way of demos for the session, we jettisoned them for two side-long instrumentals instead. Although I often wonder how the album would have fared with the ballads, the music is nevertheless entirely acoustic improvised folk music using crwth, cello, hurdy gurdy, assorted flutes, voices, hand drums & percussion and remains inspirational in certain quarters to this day. Both the vinyl & the 2000 CD issue (on Psychedelic Pig) sold out fairly swiftly, but for the curious you can get the album gratis HERE.

Psych Folk is indicative of far wider (and generaly darker) folk sympathies & sensitivities than might ever be hinted at by what happens in clubs, fora, and festivals. For this reason John Barleycorn Reborn is a far purer a statement of musical authenticity than anything tailored for the folk mainstream which must forever be compromised to appeal to an ageing demographic who still reckon Steeleye Span somehow played good music - or else a younger generation rediscovering Steeleye Span (as evidenced by certain comments on my YouTube presentation of a very feral take on Long Lankin).

Psych Folk dares to go out there & as such there can't be enough portentious noodling as far as I'm concerned. Mind you, as I sit here writing this I'm listening to Tangerine Dream's Ricochet reflecting on a skewed pastoralism which is the main reason I dig folk anyway - from Harry Cox to Psych Folk and beyond.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:08 AM

You're contributions to JBR were amongst the good stuff on that album, Suibhne. I'm a firm fan of the well-placed noodle myself, it's the portentiousness of some of this stuff that gets me. I can't help feeling with the purveyors of some of the neo-folk outpourings that 1) they take themselves far too seriuosly and 2) the sense of contrived doom-mongering and old-europe schlock gets the better of them. One minute you're listening to some vaguely interesting and the next minute some bleeder's trying to sell you an album of military style ur-folk bombast by a bunch of spotty oiks from Belaurus with a penchant for neo-nazi imagery and a fistful of third hand sub-pagan, quasi-occultist philosophising. It all seems a little dark, you know, and not in the sense that the magical folk ballads and historical muder ballads are. Makes me right queasy, so it does, which in turn brings about an unstoppable desire to be flippant. Whenever I hear Sol Invictus, I want to shout, "It's BEHIND you!"...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:11 AM

"a far purer a statement of musical authenticity than anything tailored for the folk mainstream"

I'm currently reading Peter Ackroyd's 'Albion – The Origins of the English Imagination' and it strikes me that the resonances that are endemic and enduring in the creativity of English prose and poetry are exactly those that are being tapped into, consciously or unconsciously, by psych folk, especially the supernatural, riddle songs and earth magic. It certainly surprised me just how much of it there is in my own songs. So I think S O'P's statement is correct. We can plot a tradition here that stems from (for example) Ted Hughes, back through the Romantic Poets, Mathew Arnold, Milton, Shakespeare, the Metaphysical Poets, Chaucer, Piers the Plowman and across the silence of the dark ages to Beowulf and beyond.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:15 AM

I'm with you on skewed pastoralism, by the way. This is at the heart of the best folk, psych folk etc. Just that I don't here much of it in a lot of the post-industrial/neo-folk stuff I've listened to, that is in my opinion overrepresented on JBR. It feels more like bedsit music with too many cheap drugs, not enough sunlight and too much time reading about Manson and Crowley.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:19 AM

Rob Young's excellent "Electric Eden" touches on some of the same themes, Lev, and is well worth reading.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 AM

Spleen, I read it before I started Ackroyd's book - excellent stuff.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:32 AM

Skewed pastorialism, if that means Blake, Palmer and the New Visionaries has never sat comfortably in the domestic canon. It demands we embrace whimsy, portentiousness, theatricality and a host of stuff the roundheads tried to remove (and continue to try) from the national DNA.
The best of psychfolk is a glimpse of what we've been missing.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:57 AM

I think that's right, Glueman. The tradition runs from pre-Christian traditions that were given a more formal shape (and recorded) by Celtic Christianity (including the 'christianising' of sacred sites such as my local Rudston Monolith) then, post Synod of Whitby, by the Roman Catholic church. The dilution began after the Reformation and especially with the Presbyterian influences (with its insistence on the work ethic – see Tawney's 'Religion and the Rise of Capitalism). According to Ackroyd, England has always been the land of dreamers and visionaries, but in a unique 'down-to-earth' way. The renewed interest in paganism, pantheism etc. goes hand in hand with a resurgence in interest in psych folk (or is that just happening in my mind?)

Wow! This is turning into a really interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:12 AM

The rush to attribute airy-fairyness and outsider status to anything that isn't literal, or 'realistic' - WTF ever that might be - is, if not uniquely English, certainly a speciality of our's. There's certainly a mistrust of expression that isn't prescribed or strictly generic. We trust in The Word and all other forms are relegated.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:31 AM

True, but as O'Shaughnessy puts it:

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM

True, Glueman, but the other side of the coin is having to plough through a lot of self-indulgent shite to get to the diamonds. Have you had the pleasure of listening to some of the alleged skewed pastoralists of the neo-folk scene? Here's a bit of Current 93. I actually don't mind a bit of Current 93 in small doses, but it's sobering to think that by far they are one of the best groups operating in the "neo-folk" arena... And at least they're not Sol Invictus...

The other side of the coin of the "roundhead" mentality is the unquestioning acceptance of anything labelled esoteric. There is also a long tradition of gentle enquiry leavened by a health scepticism. For example though I may want to believe that modern Wiccans are the present-day inheritors of an ancient and unbroken native tradition, I am also aware that they are adherents of an invented 20th century religion ("The Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton is essential reading on this).


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:48 AM

Sorry, that's a "healthy" scepticism. "Health" scepticism is what Mrs Cringe has when I say I have the flu.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:08 AM

"the other side of the coin is having to plough through a lot of self-indulgent shite to get to the diamonds"

LOL! Certainly it doesn't mean that critical faculties should be suspended. BTW - know what you mean about Heron. 40-odd tracks on the double CD has left the mind seriously numbed.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:41 AM

Not sure what's meant by psychfolk and I don't think anyone else is. I imagine it's the inheritor of the soft folk jazz rock of bands like Pentangle. There's a sense in which the iconoclasts who found deviousness in polyphony and seduction in statuary still find moral corruption in unmotivated repetition and musical tropes.
Unfortunately the visionary impulse is too readily branded as dungeons and dragons and there's little chance of escaping that cliche with roundheads like Richard Dawkins or the musical and artistic establishment Thou Shalt'ing from the inside of the Groucho club.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,John Miles of Smiles
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:50 AM

Fair enough to ask about dissidence, but I hope it's not too unreasonable to apply the term to all of the artists involved!

The point of the show was to put together a line-up that speaks to (but pushes the envelope for) traditionalists whilst attracting WIRE-schooled fans of lysergic folk to investigate cornerstones of the folk establishment (eg Cecil Sharp House and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & Archive). We're hoping for cross-pollination of audiences as well as musicians, and have been trying to reach out to trad promoters like The Goose is Out and Pull Up the Roots as much as our traditional promoting peers like Upset the Rhythm, Colour Ride and Knom (which has morphed into The Local in recent times). If you have a look at our past shows at Cecil Sharp House hopefully this impulse will be clear there too! http://www.milesofsmiles.co.uk/past_events.html

In terms of this bill - Shirley, despite being the President of EFDSS, is a maverick voice sitting largely outside of and sometimes at odds with prevailing orthodoxies. We've been corresponding with her about this show for a while, and some of her proposed picks would've put hair on people's chests, for sure. In terms of her own music also, I think some of the wilder collaborations with Dolly and with Davey earn the epithet 'dissident'.

Alasdair has always had good trad credentials, but anyone with half an ear can hear in his guitar style as much from early 90's post-rock and what was originally termed 'emo' (a label that's shifted a long way in the water over time! I mean Rites of Spring, Joan of Arc, etc) as from traditional players. Anyone who's seen him live will be aware of his willingness to subject his material to savage extrapolations, feedback squalls and furious free drumming. He's collaborated widely with artists across the spectrum outside folk from Will Oldham and Jason Molina to Richard Youngs and Alex Neilson, with whom he plays (alongside Lavinia Blackwall and Mick Flower from Vibracathedral Orchestra) in Black Flowers.

Trembling Bells owe a strong debt to Pentangle, Fairport Convention and the like but Lavinia's early music roots bring the band into proximity with Nico's The Marble Index or modern Hildegaard von Bingen devotees like Fursaxa and Valet. Alex's credentials are the most 'out there' of all, right down to ongoing collabs with Jandek and Ashtray Navigations.

Sorry to rant, and I hope that explains adequately. In short, over 35s are not only welcome, but – if they aren't there – then the guiding philosophy of the event will have been confounded!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 09:03 AM

Thanks, John. I was playing devil's advocate to some extent - as a long-term reader of the Wire, I do get a little weary of seeing terms like "dissidence" bandied about. Anyway, yours is an excellent response and one that I think hits the nail on the head. It makes me wonder (and this is a point that has been made before by others) whether if "Death and the Lady", for instance, was a new album, it would be seen as too exploratory for mainstream folk radio? I think it probably would.

That Black Flowers album you reference is really very good, by the way. I hope it's not a one-off collaboration - I'd like to hear more from them.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: SophFFS
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 10:17 AM

This is quite a nice current band who are frequently labelled psych folk: http://www.myspace.com/thestealsmusic


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 11:01 AM

I can't think of any psych-folk right now, but I do think that present-day commercial country has turned into psych-country. What little I hear of it sounds like somebody reporting on their latest session with a therapist.

The only example I can provide is pretty old. May have been the first in the trend, but it shows what I mean -


Night is dragging her feet
I wait alone in the heat.
I know, know that you'll have your way
When you have to go home
No's a word I can't say.
'Cause it gets me nowhere
to tell you 'no'.
And it gets me nowhere
to make you go.
Will a little more love
make you start depending?
Will a little more love bring us a happy ending?
Will a little more love make it right?

Ugh!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: brezhnev
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:34 PM

brilliant defence of dissident folk. looking forward to the Kirsty Wark in-depth analysis on newsnight review. shame the efdss don't use the d word in their advert for the gig, though. that would have made it perfect.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:38 PM

It appears to be an auditory precursor to vague modern "paganism".


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:58 PM

For this reason John Barleycorn Reborn is a far purer a statement of musical authenticity than anything tailored for the folk mainstream

I'm thinking purely in terms of musical creativity; unfettered according to the pastoral aesthetic which might hint at the received spectral dark, but is in no way bound by it despite journalistic tendancies to round things off. Few of us are so single minded to take things that seriously - however so seriously we take our music, we don't take ourselves seriously.

Now, it's off to Rosslyn Chapel on BBC4!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:21 PM

Question for John Miles-of-Smiles

You say

"We've been corresponding with her (Shirley Collins) about this show for a while, and some of her proposed picks would've put hair on people's chests, for sure"

Just curious why you chose such an obvious and alopecic line-up then? Who were her proposed picks?

Don't get me wrong, I love Shirley Collins & Alasdair Roberts' music, but don't see them in any way dissident. Trembling Bells are more challenging, but simply in the way I'd find it a challenge to sit through their album again without dropping-off to sleep and dreaming of Rising Damp, flared trousers and The Good Life.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:37 PM

Rising Damp

Dear God, but wasn't that sit-com perfection? The working title (and stage play from which it derived) was The Banana Box which I've always thought a giood name for a band. I watch the ITV3 re-runs in a state of near hysterical reverence; for those of us without religion watching Rossiter, De La Tour, Beckinsale and Warrington is as close to the divine as it gets.


The Good Life

As often as they repeat it, the last ever episode has only ever been shown once...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,john miles of smiles
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM

Hmm, against my better judgement when responding to gentle trolling - I hope I did a fair job of justifying the dissident tag above. Many of Shirley's suggestions were a long way outside the trad continuum, but the bands that were selected were the ones that both parties had included on their original lists. Consensus brought us to a line-up that we're really happy with, and which suits the aims that I mentioned.

It's your prerogative to dislike Trembling Bells, but anyone who has heard Death & The Lady, Appendix Out, Black Flowers or Directing Hand will have stared directly into the shadows that still cling in the corners, bringing additional tension and depth to all three acts.

Despite the clear recent acceleration of Ali's search for the source, personally I'm still baffled when people claim him a traditionalist. Even those who have only heard recent output or seen his more accessible shows should be able to sense the subtle-but-acute modernism of his guitar work, let alone his original lyrics.

I don't know what your preferred sonic tipple is, but come down to one of our December shows if you want to contemplate the abyss directly!

Besides, I'd rather not dwell on my own gigs - more opinions on psych folk please, people!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ralphie
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 02:56 AM

What on earth are you all talking about?
I play music.
I accompany singers.
I don't have a label.
It really dosen't matter.
Psych Folk?
Get a life......(Try Lidl or Morrisons)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:11 AM

"...will have stared directly into the shadows that still cling in the corners..."

"Despite the clear recent acceleration of Ali's search for the source..."

"...come down to one of our December shows if you want to contemplate the abyss directly!"


Usually this kind of portentious, self-regarding bollocks is intensely irritating, but happily on this occasion it just made me laugh. Keep 'em coming!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:23 AM

John, thanks for the heads-up on Black Flowers - not heard them before (nice soundtrack to the gothic garden we're planning!).


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:41 AM

Thanks Jon Miles Of Smiles - I didn't consider it trolling, I was merely questioning why something which in your words could have put hairs on our chests became the same-old-same-old - however very good 2 of the 3 same-olds are. But you've answered the question - it was a compromise. Fine. Consensus, sorry. May I ask, who were Shirley's suggestions?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:43 AM

"Usually this kind of portentious, self-regarding bollocks is intensely irritating"

I think 'portentious' is EXACTLY the right word to describe psych folk. Thank goodness you didn't say 'pretentious' - now that would have been contentious.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: LesB
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:49 AM

I'm with Ralphie on this one. Never heard the term before. Has it just been invented for this thread?
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:56 AM

leveller: I do know the difference between them. I may have been THINKING "pretentious" as well, but to be honest, considering some of the over-weening navel-gazing on this thread, I don't think that would have been inappropriate either. If others wish to wallow in the elf shit, all power to them (though I still fail to see what it has to do with Shirley Collins). I was pretty much over Tolkien (and all the attendant whimsy) by age 13.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:57 AM

By the way - does Nick Drake make the "psych-folk" cut? He was bloody irritating as well.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM

The music that we now loosely term 'folk' has always been largely dissident, in that it was conceived and performed outside the 'establishment'. The fact that folk now has its own (at times reactionary) establishment is something I find rather saddening. So, for me, anything that gets the label 'dissident' is at least worth a listen - personal preferences and critical faculties must then come into play. To dismiss it out of hand is, I think, the same as saying that classical music or jazz is crap.

"I was pretty much over Tolkien (and all the attendant whimsy) by age 13."

Ruth, I assume you mean Lord of the Rings - his work on Early and Middle English language and literature, especially Beowulf, is seminal.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,gloomman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:14 AM

Keepin it Real or Elf Shit. Cromwell would be proud. What happened to just digging a noise?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:20 AM

though I still fail to see what it has to do with Shirley Collins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iDacljhKv4

Otherwise - steady on there Ruth, you've almost exhausted your stock of derogatory cliches in three posts. All we need now is acres of self-regarding wank and we've got the set.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:24 AM

"acres of self-regarding wank"

I think that's one I reserve specially for you.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glumman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:25 AM

I always liked Tam Lin.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:39 AM

Of course, in the realms of Nietzchean abyssal consciousness the serendipity of aimless thought is counterpoised by the gyroscopically inclined planes of moving artifacts. Oppose that with Jungian feelings of aimless loss and the mediocrity of integral calculus and you're getting close to the very essence of Psych Folk - whatever that is ... ?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glumman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:40 AM

Aye, and all folkies are beardie geography teachers.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:02 AM

I like Tam Lin in theory, but it rarely works out in practise. That said, a singer called Roger (whose second name I do not know; he dances with Hexham Morris and has at least one beautiful daughter who is a fine singer too) made it come alive in The Cumberland Arms, Byker last October - and I recall being similarly thrilled by Mike Waterson's version but it must be 20 years since I last heard it.

My favourite spooky ballad right now (for the season, natch) is Child #79; Jim Eldon's variant is especially worthy of note:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFsakSeVZV4

*

I think that's one I reserve specially for you.

On a point of accuracy, Ruth, it's actually one you reserve specially for me when slagging me off to other Mudcatters in PMs, but we'll let that pass. Indebted to your obnoxious turn of phrase otherwise, I've used it as a title for a piece I did back in February for bass guitar, kaossilator & 5-string violin. Though I like it as a whole, it gets really good after the 11.20 mark.

Acres of Self-Regarding Wank


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:21 AM

Well, your obnoxious turn of phrase in slagging off other musicians - saying that listening to their CDs made you want to throw up - was certainly what inspired me to new heights. You do have an exceptionally high regard for both your own music and your own tastes - the evidence is spread over Mudcat for anyone who cares to look. I can't help finding it kind of funny that anyone who thinks your music is, for want of a better phrase, acres of self-regarding wank, must, by your own criteria, simply be too parochial or thick-eared to "understand" it.

So do feel free to simply write me off, dear Spinachy O'Popeye. I am clearly inhabiting a lesser musical plane than yourself, but am quite happy to wallow down here with the other sad, limited and misinformed parochials. Have fun with the elves.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:36 AM

Ah, my dear, Ruth! I cherish the rare owld times before e'er this bad blood came between us when we billed & cooed in sweet accord over WAV's interminable thread-bare rhetoric or else delighted in a mutual appreciation of Frances de la Tour. Where did it all go wrong, eh? Ah yes - Jim Causley's Rolling of the Stones which did make me feel slightly queazy, but only as an indication to the extent which such music has come adrift from The Tradition it claims to be representing. But that wasn't a personal attack (as I openly acknowledged when the man himself did enter the fray) merely an expression of a personal reaction to a particular approach which I personally find a little too wistful, or else mawkishly elfish for my tastes, but which is no doubt ideal for its intended audience who are, in any case, very welcome to it Likewise Shirley & Dolly Collins, Trembling Bells, Nick Drake, Current 93, Jim Eldon, or any of the music touched upon here - if you like it, fine, if you don't that's fine too.

Love what you love; love what you are.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:49 AM

Fair point about 'orses for courses above, Suibhne, but how could anyone fail to be moved by this?

River Man


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:53 AM

Do you have to be pretentious to post here?

Probably, I guess

I like a lot of the music that Sean Breadin posts on youtube and myspace, and I also think that he talks a good deal of drivel.

That's fair enough, I can only manage the latter.

Whether his music is 'psych folk' or not is questionable, but as I couldn't define it, what's the point?

It does seem that some people have mistakenly regarded the term 'psych' as meaning psychological rather than psychedelic

Anyhow, each to their own, and lets throw away some of the stylistic boxes that we like to force people into.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:41 AM

Rapunzel's slowly turning me around to Nick Drake - I enjoyed what I heard on the recent TV documentary & his mother's songs were a revelation. It takes me all my time get across the class divide however, which is a problem I have with Hippiedom as a whole, much less Psychedlic Folk as a whole which is far more conservative with respect of its own aesthetic than it is dissident of another. As for shadows and the abyss, at times it's as if the whole thing has been scripted by Mark Gatis, the self-appointed curator of The Strange in terms of media slickness, but at this time of year I'm always open to that anyway - be it Nigel Kneale or MR James, though in musical terms so much of it comes out sounding just a little too mannered - unlike Jim Eldon (see link below) who is genuinely frightening in such matters. When it comes to Psych Horror Darkness, then Folk has a long way to go to get to the likes of Jawbone and the Air Rifle or The Impression of J Temperence, though I reckon Jim Eldon could over them both with aplomb.

Ed - Psych Folk is more about aproach than genre; it is being open to sonic possibility in terms of expansion rather than self-indulgence per se (which is critical short-hand for saying I give up, I need help). At the end of the day though, process outweighs product, and as Tony Bennet so beautifully sang, the best is always yet to come. BTW - if pushed I call what I do Proxial Indo-European No-Age Exotica, although I see someone's pinched No-Age which is a pain. I'm closing the Folk Door now and going back to Bitches Brew.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:52 AM

Plenty of psychfolk (and psyche everything else) here: www.hcmf.co.uk


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:10 AM

"Do you have to be pretentious to post here?"

Pretentious? Moi?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:43 AM

Pretentious? Moi?

Yawn! I no longer need to explain 'hackneyed' to my visiting German friends, so thanks for that.

You'll be telling me how good a session they're having in Heaven next....


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:52 AM

Usual mindless unpleasantness - it was only a matter of time.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:55 AM

Yes, it's a shame that you're so mindlessly unpleasant.

So be it.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:50 PM

Weirdly - or wyrdly - no mention yet of The Wicker Man, the soundtrack of which is ground zero for Psych Folk: take a bunch of traditional lyrics and insert neo-pagan gloss to taste and pervert the idiom accordingly. The result? Seminal!

*

We were in Southport today where we wasted £3.50 ($5.564 US) coverting new money to old pennies in order to play the penny falls & fruit machines on the end of the pier, which is something we always do in Southport. Today we were on a winning streak, and lasted 45 minutes until the house cleaned us out, though we left munching Kit-Kats and I kept a 1961 penny (the year of my birth) for luck. Luck? you say, Luck? How can an Aggressive Secularist such as yourself believe in luck? Well, it's just as well I did because in town, in my favourite Antiquarian Bookshop (Kernaghan's in the WEayfarer's Arcade) I found a first edition of Robert Graves' English & Scottish Ballads for £1 ($1.590 US). Am I a happy bunny? You bet. I was so chuffed I bought a lovely 1932 ediution of The Oxford Book of Ballads for £5 ($7.948 US) to go with it.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,John Miles of Smiles
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 01:02 PM

Very much agree on the Wicker Man soundtrack, good shout.

I'd like to apologise for the glibly florid sheen of my last post - who could tell I'd been writing a mailout moments before...?

Suibhne - splendid stuff, and I know the arcade well - I went to secondary school in Southport, though I've only been back once (during the summer) in the last five years or so (I'm a Wiganer myself).


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 02:20 PM

maybe its just me and the local rough cider..

but when I listen to "Portishead",
especially the televised
live-in-studio performance of the "Third" CD..


i'm sub-conciously thinking.."hmmmm.. 21st Century 'folk' band..????"...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM

eg...


"Chase the Tear"


http://www.portishead.co.uk/


???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 02:35 PM

Punkfolkrocker, in that case, check out Broadcast & The Focus Group


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 05:36 PM

I guess the Beth Gibbons/Rustin Man record got labeled as such; and Rustin Man (Paul Webb) was the bassist in Talk Talk, who are one of the key contemporary 'visionary English' acts cited by Rob Young in Electric Eden.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM

I'm aware that a lot of these things get called hyphen-folk of one kind or another, but I still can't see why. I'm not saying anything about whether it's worth hearing - I think cLOUDDEAD's first album, the Faust Tapes and the Goldberg Variations are well worth hearing, and will go on about them at some length given a chance, but I don't feel the urge to call any of them 'folk'. I just don't understand the dynamic of taking something that doesn't appear to be folk and insisting that it is folk... only it's a new and different kind of folk... What's the point?

Part of what I don't get is that the word "folk" seems to be being used in a heavily value-laden way. If I say "this is a folk album" I don't mean "this album is really important because I feel it contributes to a diffuse ongoing project which I can't define but I know it when I hear it" - I generally just mean is "this album consists wholly or mainly of traditional material".

Perhaps the difference is that I started with folk, then dropped it completely in favour of jazz-rock, krautrock, punk, post-punk, indie, baggy, drum and bass, electro, Julian Cope, GYBE! and Scott Walker, then got back into folk; I never felt that what I was into at any one time was or ought to be called 'folk'. And still don't.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 06:01 PM

Returning to the OP:

What do people think of the term?

Pretentious, vague and hype-tastic.

What do people think of the idiom?

Well, I liked the Weed Tree. Generally what it brings to mind is a lot of wifty-wafty "ooh, how magically inspired we are" mood-pumping, at least at one end of the spectrum. Exactly like what Bright Phoebus wasn't. The darker end I haven't frequented much, because just reading about it scares the crap out of me - probably more than actually listening to it would do, although I don't feel inclined to take the chance. (Probably a fair amount of mood-pumping going on down there, too.)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Oct 10 - 06:51 PM

I have a vague notion slowly fermenting and formulating how the 'folk' influences
and other haphazard stuff swirling and congealing in my aging head
will eventually translate to hard drive recording
via cheap electric guitars, fuzz boxes, analog synths,
'trad folkie stringed instruments', cider and space echo..

but fuck knows what anybody ever forced to listen to the end result is going to make of it..

or what any unfortunate listener would bother calling it.. ?????


hopefully it wont be too shite or blatantly derivative.


But one thing i do know is I want to sound as if it was recorded no later than the 1950's
and only recently rediscovered rotting to wormy compost
in some old dead eccentric 'Beat Group' record producers shed....


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 02:48 AM

Pip - psych-folk (a term that has been around a good few years and is probably interchangeable with acid folk) usually denotes music influenced both by folk and by psychedelia (hence the hyphen). Personally, I wouldn't describe Trembling Bells, Ali Roberts or Shirley Collins as psych-folk, wonderful though all three are, because I don't really detect the psychedelia in their music, with the possible exception of some of the tracks on Shirley's Power of the True Love Knot. I would, on the other hand, describe Espers as psych-folk, in that it is contemporary music influenced by the 60s/70s music that was retrospectively labelled psych-folk. Which another thing - no-one called it psych-folk at the time... at least a generation went by before that term was applied. I don't really mind the term - it seems to me to be a good, accurate label to signify music influenced by folk and psychedelia but distinct enough not to sit comfortably as either. Trouble is, any old shite gets labelled psych-folk these days - usually on eBay.

Of course, the label is far, far secondary to the music, which you either like or don't.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 03:25 AM

The main attraction of the term 'folk' as a catch-all umbrella term which can be hyphenated into a multitude of creatures which bare no resemblance to actual folk probably has less to do with influence than the fact it's a single syllable. It's far too short for music journos who must feel terribly oppressed when confronted with such a simple musical term. And thus it begs cleverefication through hyphenated embellishment and obfuscation, which confuses everyone else ;-)

Seriously though, it's just a label on a box and no different to hundreds of others. Perhaps the folk word would never have become so vague and general if it hadn't have been the ambition of early revivalists to 'add to the tradition' with new songs. The stable door was opened and the folk horse (you know the one that doesn't sing) has bolted. Hence decades later we have psych-folk and all the rest merrily hyphenating away.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 04:46 AM

Which another thing - no-one called it psych-folk at the time... at least a generation went by before that term was applied.

It was longer with FOLK - a hundred generations at least!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 05:00 AM

What came first though - the PSYCH or the FOLK? I regard as seminal the moment back in 1967 when (age 6) I flipped over a certain famous hit single my mother played endlessly and heard THIS and was duly amazed. It still amazes me actually.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 06:13 AM

Love your word 'cleverfication', CS. It has now been formally entered into my lexicon.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 09:05 AM

CS: Perhaps the folk word would never have become so vague and general if it hadn't have been the ambition of early revivalists to 'add to the tradition' with new songs.

Good point - and I can understand there being a certain amount of no really it is folk it's just a different kind of folk... when the "it" in question was by Cyril Tawney or Stan Rogers or Lal Waterson. It's just the way that the frontier of folk - or mumble-folk - keeps creeping outward that bugs me: something that sounds a bit like folk, only different gets labelled as 'folk', then something that sounds a bit like (something that sounds a bit like folk, only different) only different, then...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 09:31 AM

The beauty of being a bright inquisitive 6th form student in semi-rural zumerzetshire in 1977
is that it was just so 'normal' and natural to play and write 'new original' music
in a loud electric adolescent testosterone fueled band
that happily encompassed diverse influences as organically related & curiously co-existing
as the likes of mc5, the move, the clash, xtc, jack the lad, pentangle and gong...

[ plus the sum total of all their collective influences ]

..and the local public library kept a damn good
inspiring trad 'folk' & blues LP collection....


Of course we watched old grey whistle test and read the NME,
and envied teenage life in the big cities..

..but then, father stored his weekly delivery of cider in the shed,
and it was only half an hours drive out of town in an older hippy mates car
to the nearest mushroom fields....

and plenty of village halls, scout huts and pub skittle alleys
for amped up rehearsals & gigs and pissed up girls 18th birthday parties..

Now 30 odd years later, despite natures unending cruelty..

..fatter, balder, failing eyesight & hearing, memory loss & confusion
.. and an arthritic drummer..

3 decades of exposure to all kinds of 'new genres' and 'historic archive rediscoveries'
and our ever healthy attitude to music in all its heterogeneous shades of glory still aint changed that much..

we just own a hell of a lot more expensive music technology and instruments
to amuse ourselves with.

so bollocks, i'm not uncomfortable with my chosen mudcat identity...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 10:03 AM

Seems to me folk can either be a sound, with identifiable stylistic parameters, or it can be a set of historical texts that either whither in an archive or are re-invented in each generation's own image. I have difficulty with it being both without becoming simply a genre - the folk revival genre - that has arbitrary rules like any other popular type.
I see hyphenised folk as a way of assimilating the revival 'message' for a new audience, which for some will feed back into the tradition.

There is a genuine thirst for traditional music that bands like Bellowhead exploit (in the nicest possible way) among people who want folk music but don't or won't buy into the negative signifiers that surround it.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 08 Oct 10 - 02:28 PM

"I have difficulty with it being both without becoming simply a genre - the folk revival genre - that has arbitrary rules like any other popular type."

But isn't that precisely what we've got?
Or are you saying that the hyphen is in fact the very thing that prevents the full semantic assimilation of 'Folk' with a capital F into 'folk revival genre' arbitrariness? I could run with that.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 06:44 AM

Ideally we'd be in a hyphen-free musical environment. I do believe the folk revival genre is what almost everyone is talking about on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 07:36 AM

I do believe the folk revival genre is what almost everyone is talking about on Mudcat.

[Shudder] Not me mate.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 07:56 AM

What are you bringing to the feast that's so special/ different/ important then PR? Quasi-historical re-enactment? Broadsides on a theramin? Hearthside harmony in the function room of the Black Bull?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 08:05 AM

"Not me mate."

The amount of people with a particular interest in traditional folk both here on Mudcat and 'folkies' in general, is I'd guess actually quite tiny. In fact it might as well be 'early music' as far as to what extent traditional folk is perceived as even being 'folk' to most 'folkies'. Ironically, regards psych-folk, it's possibly got more in common with some of the old ballads (thematically at least as has been touched upon below) than much of what passes as folk proper for most people today.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 09:23 AM

Well, as far as I'm concerned "the revival folk genre" describes something I've heard a great deal of and don't identify with at all. But to your jaundiced eye, glueman, I'm quite sure what I do would be just as pretentious/fake/boring/[your adjective here] as pretty much everything else appears to be.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 09:59 AM

Not jaundiced in the least, I think what young folks are bringing to the revival is great. I've just been listening to The Early Music show on R3. In spite of all the scholarship and compelling interpretations I doubt many exponents of early music reckon they're continuing an unbroken line of madrigal singer or wotever.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 09 Oct 10 - 10:40 AM

"I doubt many exponents of early music reckon they're continuing an unbroken line of madrigal singer or wotever."

Sure. Indeed in my (admittedly limited) experience folkies are wont to bandy around references to 'the tradition' and 'the folk process' quite freely, while referring to revival songs and tunes rather than traditional material. That hardly concerns me, but it is curious that the ideas have been embraced (in a fashion) while the music itself yet remains other. If I felt I could get away with singing Dowland at my local singaround I happily would, but I fear I'm pushing it with unaccompanied ballads as it is.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:02 AM

Much taken with the term Folk Horror as used by Mark Gatis last night on BBC4 with respect of The Wicker Man, Blood on Satan's Claw and Witchfinder General. How much of this filters though into the Psych Scene today I ask myself rhetorically? The Owl Service nod in the direction of MR James and even the theme music of my favourite sitcom comes from an album of Wicker Man tributes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOkBiLPtJiY

Other examples of Folk Horror? Children of the Stones, Worzel Gummidge, The Daemons (Dr Who), Catweazel, Sky, pretty much anything by Nigel Kneale...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:24 AM

"The Singing Ringing Tree"

"The Tinder Box"

"Sara and Hoppity"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR6FQG0H9-I



1960's childhood was something of a scary far-out bad acid 'trip' ????


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:33 AM

Now we're cookin', PFR!

Of course we'd have to include Bagpuss in this too. Back in '83 I mooted a punk-folk-noise project by the name of PUSSBAG to cover the strange-folk numbers in emphasis of their genuine - er - strange-folkness. These days I think it would go down a storm. I did reconstruct a dark-loop / dub-step backing track for The Miller's Song a while back but lost the vocal track for a trumpet solo.

So from Bagpuss to other Smallfilms - Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, and on to the dark & terrifying depths of Pogles Wood...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:37 AM

Not forgetting The Owl Service too, of course...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:58 AM

As for fiction Lewis Carroll of course.
Then more modern children's fantasy would include Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence. Anything by Lloyd Alexander. Ursula le Guin's Earthsea trilogy. The Neverending Story (not the films..)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: RWilhelm
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 12:22 PM

Psychedelic folk and only one tiny mention of the Holy Modal Rounders?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 12:32 PM

yeah.. there probably is a bit of 'Brit' bias to all this.

one of my favourite bands from the 60's
is the US "Kaleidoscope"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaleidoscope_(US_band)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 12:47 PM

it does not exist.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:32 PM

Holy Modal Rounders, of course; and Michael Hurley, whose work continures to baffle & inspire unto this day - 19th October 2010 when I filmed myself singing Hog of the Forsaken for YouTube but can't decide if it's quite right...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: RWilhelm
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:43 PM

Sounds perfect.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 03:42 PM

There used to be an excellent film to accompany Hurley's Hog on youtube but it seems to have been taken down. It was everything a pop video should be, shot on film (8mm by the look of things), having only fleeting connotative engagement with the music AND a figure (the 'Hog' presumably) with a papier mache head. Truly fine work.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:38 PM

"Sara and Hoppity"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR6FQG0H9-I


Bloody Norah. All these years I've been convinced I imagined S&H or misremembered something else. And all the while it was real! Real I tell you! Or possibly surreal - those close-up doll faces have a definite 'uncanny valley' quality which reminds me of Paula Rego.

Course, we didn't really do sensitivity in those days:

- 'Hoppity'? Why do you call him that?
"Because he's only got one leg and he can't dance properly."


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:50 PM

This, on the other hand, definitely isn't psych folk, but is probably one of the most horrific slices of children's tv ever...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 08:54 AM

Oh, what the hell - I've just got my complementary copy of the new Stirrings through the door which features my musings on Fiddles - so by way of celebration here's my thing from yesterday:

Sedayne Sings Snock : The Hog of the Forsaken (19-10-10)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 21 Jan 11 - 12:35 PM

Portentious? Moi?

The Music of Erich Zann


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,ArrowHead
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 07:02 PM

ISB and particulary Robin Williamson was the master of psych folk - meandering melodies, stunning compositions, lyrics and accopaniments.

The modern equivalent artists tend to have the musical feel of the 60s psych folk back drops but without the melodic or structural invention (such as Espers and Devendra Banhart)

One modern piece that evokes the haunting vibes of yore is this


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 02:56 AM

Thanks for posting this ArrowHead. Must dig my The Story stuff out and play it. Wonder what's happened to them? Not heard anything since the excellent Arcane Rising.

Of course, they have the continuity with the 60s stuff in that Martin Welham was part of Forest...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 05:35 AM

Robin Williamson was the master of psych folk

His 2006 ECM album The Iron Stone contains his finest work to date, IMO - a masterpiece from a true master!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,ArrowHead
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 02:07 PM

Must dig my The Story stuff out and play it. Wonder what's happened to them? Not heard anything since the excellent Arcane Rising.

They featured on the dark folk Britannia compilation John Barleycorn Reborn with their track 'The Wicker Man' (no relation to the film soundtrack). You can hear it here


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jun 13 - 05:08 PM

Bump! Eleven Willows


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,John MilesOfSmiles
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 12:25 PM

Ha ha, encouraging to see that this thread is still receiving occasional visits three years on! Some great links shared above, so many thanks for these.

I'm having some trouble creating a new thread at the moment - Joe is helping me out with that, but whilst I struggle through to that point I wanted to share news of an folk show with a heavy dose of psych that we've arranged for next month:

Comus
Shirley Collins
Hladowski/Joynes

Islington Assembly Hall

Sat Sept 21st

...Full details at the Facebook event page &
milesosmiles.co.uk , and I hope to get a separate thread up soon...!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 12:38 PM

It's been established that folk singers are psychos. :)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 12:54 PM

...And that (occasional) folk promoters can't use computers - my website link should go to:

http://www.milesofsmiles.co.uk


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Aug 13 - 01:36 PM

Paul Burke - PM
Date: 03 Oct 10 - 05:20 AM
Psych folk?
Jung but Growing.
Reich Jung Sailor.
Follow me Down to Karlov.
Analyst Gordon....

.,,.

Slow burn ~~

but what happened to -
'Who's a-Freud of the Big Bad Wolf'?
'Klein the Highest Mountain'?
'Sorry Seems To Be The Adler Word'?
'Eysenck of You Night & Day'?
'Laing A-Growing'?


Ta·ra

~M~


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