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What is Folk Rock?

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Fay 05 Dec 02 - 08:56 AM
Big Mick 05 Dec 02 - 09:02 AM
Bobert 05 Dec 02 - 09:20 AM
JedMarum 05 Dec 02 - 09:29 AM
Big Mick 05 Dec 02 - 09:30 AM
JedMarum 05 Dec 02 - 09:32 AM
IanC 05 Dec 02 - 09:38 AM
GUEST 05 Dec 02 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Alex 05 Dec 02 - 09:45 AM
IanC 05 Dec 02 - 09:46 AM
reggie miles 05 Dec 02 - 09:50 AM
IanC 05 Dec 02 - 10:20 AM
mooman 05 Dec 02 - 10:38 AM
Grab 05 Dec 02 - 11:18 AM
Allan C. 05 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM
alanabit 05 Dec 02 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Su Rynas 05 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM
Nevada 05 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM
Ed. 05 Dec 02 - 03:03 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 02 - 03:03 PM
Shonagh 05 Dec 02 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Taliesn 05 Dec 02 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Ed 06 Dec 02 - 04:21 AM
IanC 06 Dec 02 - 04:47 AM
Nemesis 06 Dec 02 - 05:13 AM
Declan 06 Dec 02 - 05:22 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 02 - 11:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Dec 02 - 11:39 AM
michaelr 07 Dec 02 - 01:06 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 02 - 07:43 AM
death by whisky 07 Dec 02 - 09:45 AM
Big Mick 07 Dec 02 - 10:44 AM
Big Tim 07 Dec 02 - 11:20 AM
waterdragon 07 Dec 02 - 11:33 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 02 - 11:52 AM
Banjo-Flower 07 Dec 02 - 03:45 PM
John MacKenzie 07 Dec 02 - 04:12 PM
Fay 10 Dec 02 - 09:14 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 02 - 06:18 PM
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Subject: What is Folk Rock?
From: Fay
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 08:56 AM

More help for me at school if you will.

This is an essay question. It goes on to ask for specific bands and what part folk music has played in rock, and in turn what part rock music has played in folk.

Any ideas, specific detail, books/wittings/albums I should read etc would be appreciated.

Also any great angles to approach the question from would be handy! If you don't want to be quoted, please say so on the message.

Thanks love Fay.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Big Mick
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:02 AM

Fay, I would like you to go to the upper right corner of this page. You will find a box that says "Lyrics & Knowledge Search". Please enter "Folk Rock" in that box and include the quotation marks. I would also unclick the DT checkbox. I did that and found 300 or so hits for threads where we have discussed this. It would be a great place to start.

I will include some remarks later of my own reminisces about this genre. I am just out of time right now.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:20 AM

Well, I ain't no authority but I used to be in a band that was considered by others to be a folk rock band.

The way I see "Folk Rock" is music that leaps from being played acousticlly to electric. The Byrds were an early example. Take Dylan's "Mr. Tamborine Man" for instance. Dylan's version is played in the folk tradition and the Bryds in a "folk Rock" style.

Therer were a lot of bands, like the Bryds, that played folk rock in the late 60's and early 70's and then again more recently.

A few of the 60's bands were: Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Some Grateful Dead, Dylan with the Band, The Band by itself, Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young). Young (with Crazy Horse) and Gram Parsons to mention a few.

Then fast forward to the 90's and you have a resurrection of folk rock with REM, Toad the Wet Sprokett, some of Springsteen's stuff, Mark Germeno, Pete Drodge, Sean Mullins, some of Chris Smithers and if you're willing to wade thru some of the noisier of the grunge bands songs you'll find some folk rock played by the likes of Tonic,
Pearl Jam and Ani de Franco.

Well, I reckon I've waded into this about as far as I'd like fir now. This is gonna be a somewhat controversial discusssion and lots of folks are lickin' their chops to tell this ol' hillbilly how wrong I am but, hey, what's new.

Good thread...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: JedMarum
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:29 AM

I think Folk Rock is the one near Plymouth where the Folk meet. It's not as famous as Plymouth Rock, but it certainly is more meaningful.

;-)


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Big Mick
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:30 AM

Stop that, and go to your room!!


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: JedMarum
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:32 AM

LOL - OK, I would say that Folk Rock is pretty generally any music that can be called folk-style and that includes some Rock instrumentation; especially electric bass and drums.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: IanC
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:38 AM

I think in the UK, it was a genre. It refers specifically to pretty traditional folk songs and tunes played within a rock idiom.

Probably the first exponents were The Albion Band. Ashley Hutchings invented it and used his wife, Shirley Collins (a well-respected traditional singer) as lead vocalist.

Almost all the Folk Rock bands sprang from this source - e.g. Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span.

:-)


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:42 AM

Ian,

Ashley Hutchings formed both Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span before The Albion Band


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST,Alex
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:45 AM

to extend (slightly) what IanC said, one of the "nowest" or contemporary exponents is Little Johnny England. Check out their website. Electric fiddle, melodeon and guitars and drums. They rock.
but combine all points raised earlier.

good luck with the essay

Alex


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: IanC
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:46 AM

Amazing how my memory lets me down!


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: reggie miles
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 09:50 AM

People have said to me, "You rock!", perhaps because I take the music which I love and give it my all. I play what I consider to be folk and rootsy blues music. I've never, until very recently, played with a drummer but have worked with a number of washboard players and only on occasion had the pleasure of working with some very fine upright bass and tub bass players. I associate drums and electric bass with a more rockish sound. 'In general' most of the bands that are considered rock bands have a strong drum and electric bass present in their arrangements. They are also more likely to include electric guitars which again is something I've tried for years to avoid. I have had to use pickups on my acoustic guitars just to be heard in some of the locations where I've performed. To some that may be considered stepping away from a folk thing into another area. Well, the lines do get blurred. Is it vaguely folkish rock or vaguely rockish folk? I guess I swing in both directions with my taste. Some of the more interesting folk or early folk/blues has always moved me but it can be difficult to present it on stage. So, I, as many others have, have adapted some of the amplification techniques that many rockers have used to present their shows. It's an economic choice on my part. If I can't be heard from stage, who will listen? Of late I've made more of an effort to play smaller venues that either do not need amplification or need very little.

Beyond the volume differences and instrumentation there too seems to be a difference in the intention from the get go. Folk rock came along right when the big sixties folk scare was dying and it seemed to be trying to catch the next wave by adapting to the rock format. Again combining certain elements of rock, like more volume from electric bass, guitars and drums, which gave them a more rockish appeal. Of course all of this is just shooting from the hip here with no basis for my claims other than I lived through it and am still alive and kickin' it around.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: IanC
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 10:20 AM

Some useful web sites

The Basics - a brief summary.
Fairport Convention
Steeleye Span
The Albion Band
The Albion Band (again)
Pentangle

:-)


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: mooman
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 10:38 AM

Mellow Candle in Dublin (who arose out of a meeting in 1963) were pretty much contemporaries of early Fairport et al and very early exponents of "folk rock".

Fay, if you enter Mellow Candle into Google who will get a lot of pages on them. This might provide a slightly different angle to the usual suspects and the story of the band is interesting. I'm still in touch with Alison Williams (indeed laid down a few tape tracks with her last year - completely separate from the Eistlinn CD she also released) and could put you in touch if you're interested and PM me.

Good luck and best regards,

moo


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Grab
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 11:18 AM

70s-80s had folk-punk-rock, led by The Pogues and the notorious Shane McGowan.

80s-90s, The Levellers and others took the "alternative lifestyle" theme as "New Age travellers", Glastonbury and Stonehenge became a big deal.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Allan C.
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM

There are some who would date the beginnings of folk rock to Simon and Garfunkel's release of the single, "Sounds of Silence". At the time, the addition of drums and electric guitar was considered to be extremely controversial. There was a similar reaction to Bob Dylan's use of an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival. I think these two events are probably pivotal to the change from the popularization of traditional folk and its transition to folk rock.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: alanabit
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 01:34 PM

It is always going to be a term which you describe subjectively. In the end, you can only really say what folk rock means to you. I am quite happy to include all the names already mentioned here and add even Della Mitri and those wonderful natives of Philadelphia , The Hooters.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST,Su Rynas
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM

Folk rock is a label used to describe music that is of personal subjects that has relatively simple instrumentation, but a thicker texture than "traditional" folk ballads and songs with choruses. Folk rockers are rockers without the sex and drugs. At least, without sex and rugs prominently displayed in the vast majority of their lyrics.

Am I being too cynical? ;-)

Folk rockers:
Indigo Girls (I am surprised no one mentioned them...)
Shawn Colvin
Suzanne Vega
Jewel
The Wallflowers...no despite being led by a Dylan, they're really rock. Well, maybe...


Truth be told, the lines between genres are hopelessly blurred at this point. I recently heard a "classic" style rock 'n' roll song on the country station. What used to be heavy metal in the 80's are now pathetic hair bands, and not considered heavy at all. (I take that back: they've always been hair bands.)
As listeners become more accustomed to certain textures, volumes and vocal styles, the genres become redefined.

Folk has always been honest. If a sense of being genuine doesn't come through in a performance by a "folk rocker" you can cross them off your list.

Good luck with your paper!


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Nevada
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM

And no-one even mentions Oysterband? or Phil Beer Band?


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Ed.
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 03:03 PM

Fay,

A couple of thoughts.

The definition of 'Folk Rock' is very different depending on whether you are from the USA or Britain.

Your previous posts tell me that you are in the UK, so I'd confine yourself to that. It'll be a lot easier to deal with.

You ask for any great angles to approach the question from. That's difficult to answer without know the exact essay question, and without knowing you or what your interests are.

From what you've said, I'd be tempted to approach it in terms of how modal folksongs have influenced rock. (Nights in White Satin, for example). You could also look at the influence of fingerstyle guitar, loads of stuff really.

Without knowing more, it's quite hard to suggest anything.

Feel free to PM me and I'll try to help more.

Ed

Trust that you realise how lucky you are to be taking this course?


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 03:03 PM

Don't limit yourself to the term "folk rock" as you'll miss a lot of important artists and influences. Open your research up to include "country rock" too, or you'll miss the entire California scene, which included a lot of influential artists on the American scene. British folk rock scene was either the sort of Celtic folk rock of acts already mentioned, and others like June Tabor, Planxty, Bothy Band, Silly Wizard, et al, or you could look at the British blues rock genre, which is a whole different kettle of fish, though Richard Thompson and Stevie Winwood sorta straddles the two.

If I were doing a paper, I would focus on something very narrow and specific, like "Summer of Love" or the history of one particular folk festival, like Cambridge in England, or Newport in the US. You could do a thing on Dylan, The Band & the Basement Tapes.

Off the top of my head, more folk/rock acts ideas for artists to look up: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Poco. New Riders of the Purple Sage. Lovin' Spoonful. The outlaw country boys (Waylon, Willie, et al). Emmylou Harris. Little Feat. Richie Havens. Bob Marley and the Wailers. Gram Parsons. Flying Burrito Brothers. The Eagles. Country Joe McDonald. Santana. Van Morrison.

For books, try:
"Barefoot in Babylon" (about Woodstock).
"Turn! Turn! Turn!: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution"
Here is a cool article about The Band and it's folk connections and influences:

http://theband.hiof.no/articles/band_and_folk.html

More books:

"American Troubadours: Groundbreaking Singer-Songwriters of the 60s"
"Baby, Let Me Follow You Down: The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years"
"Ashley Hutchings: The Guv'nor and the Rise of Folk Rock--Fairport Convention, Steeley Span and the Albion Band"
"The Electric muse : the story of folk into rock"
"Desperados: The Roots of Country Rock"
"The British Folk Scene: Musical Performance and Personal Identity (Popular Music in Britain)"
"Bringing it All Back Home" (also has a video series in the same name)
"Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival"
"Rock: The Primary Text: Developing a Musicology of Rock (Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series)" (this is most likely only available at music libraries, but is spanking new, published in 2002)

I haven't included much on specific artists, though a lot of the above covers some.

Good luck, have fun, and narrow that focus!


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Shonagh
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 05:45 PM

Well, id say my view of folk rock (im 17 by the way and from scotland!) is the likes of Wolfstone, Seven Nations, perhaps even peatbog faeries etc etc. Id actually say that Wolfstone, (especially the new album) is a very folky rocky type album. Hope thats been on some help. Just a different viewpoint.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 06:51 PM

Shame on all you Folk Rock Brits for failing to so much as offer a breath of honorable mention to "The Incredible String Band" and how could y'all forget to mention "Donovan".
Now yer gettin' sloppy , now ,and yer gonna knock in off , right-right? ;-)

Favorite "synth-accompanied" Folk Rock piece has to be Greg Lake's classic folkish piece which was the 1st single Emerson, lake & Palmer ever published ; "Lucky Man" though Jon Anderson of "Yes" has always maintained a ready arm's-length reach to accoustic Folk replacing the "rock" with "spacey electrified accoustic guitar & harp ".
Favorite example " Wonderous Stories" which I was infinitely pleased to see performed "live" during their "Symphonic Tour"
at Wolf Trap in the Summer of 2001 and what a difference that back-up symphony orchestra makes.;-)


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 04:21 AM

Taliesn,

We didn't mention The Incredible String Band or Donovan because as Ian said above, it refers specifically to pretty traditional folk songs and tunes played within a rock idiom

The Incredible String Band and Donovan both played their own songs on acoustic instruments...


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: IanC
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 04:47 AM

Ed

Having said that, Taleisin's comment is fair. The Incredible String Band was, at the very least, a considerable influence on early Folk-Rock. Here for details.

I'd agree that Donovan doesn't really figure in that respect.

:-)


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Nemesis
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 05:13 AM

Giles Farnaby's Dream Band


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Declan
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 05:22 AM

From Ireland you could mention what became known as Celtic Rock and proponents would be people like Gay & Terry Woods who were members of the original Steeleye Span line-up, until there was a row over politics and they left in a huff, but later had their own band (The Woods Band). Terry went on to join the Pogues in the 90s and is still around the London Irish music scene. Gay (his ex-wife) later formed a band called Auto-da-Fe.

Horslips were huge in the 70s and early 80s in Ireland with a brand of Celtic Rock. Christy Moore had an electric band in the mid 70s (Whatever Tickles Your Fancy Album) and later wend on to found Moving Hearts (with Donal Lunny, Declan Sinnot et al). There was a thread about them here a while back.

If your looking for Folk influenced rock bands check out Traffic, Jethro Tull and even Led Zeppelin to some extent (There's a very folky feel to Stairway to Heaven for example). In Tua Nua were an Irish Rock band which featured uileann pipes and fiddle. Steve Wickham who was their fiddle player did some stuff with U2 and went on to play with the Waterboys (you know the fiddle riff from the start of Fisherman's Blues?).

Incidentally In Tua Nua were managed by Louis Walsh, who now manages boy and girl bands (one of the judges on Pop Stars). Are/were Boyzone a folk-rock band ??? He also set up a trad. based boy band (I'm not joking) called Reel, but they haven't had huge chart success. Younger folkie bands in the UK could be labelled this way as well Equation, Tarras and some of Eliza Carthy's stuff comes to mind.

Some of the stuff being done by Sharon Shannon falls into this department (She was a Waterboy/girl for a while in the 80s as well). And check out Davy Spillane who was a Moving Heart for a while who did some very interesting trad/country/rock cross-over stuff with his own band afterwards.

Donal Lunny has been involved in a lot of this stuff over the years, I don't know if I'd call the Bothy Band folk rock, but it had that type of energy. Moving Hearts and his most recent band Coolfin are worth a mention.

As people have said above, its another one of those marketing terms (Like "Celtic Music") and it means a lot of different things to different people. The US definition and those on this side of the Atlantic are very different Animals (another band worth a mention).


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 11:24 AM

For American contemporary music, this sort of music is more likely referred to as "roots rock" or "alt country" or "insurgent country" or "Americana roots" or "cowpunk" and such.

Try here:

http://www.rootsrock.com/otherbands.htm

and here (intensely comprehensive links page):

http://www.insurgentcountry.com/stuff.htm

this is a decent discussion forum on these sorts of music fusions:

http://www.phreshwater.com/phorum/default.asp?CAT_ID=1

A sort of "trad country" site (another intensely comprehensive links site, from freight train boogie to El Rancho Waylon):

http://www.talentondisplay.com/kiclinks.html


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 11:39 AM

Runrig are decidely my favourites at the moment and still going strong!

Approaching it from the 'other side' - Rock bands with folk roots how about Jethro Tull, The Grateful Dead and, more recently, The Corrs? Although I will accept that the later appear to have gone onto bigger and worser thing of late...;-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: michaelr
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 01:06 AM

A definite milestone in "folk rock" was Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore", a faux folk song featuring a prominent mandolin part and, of course, Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny dueting with Robert Plant.

On the same album as "Stairway", I think.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 07:43 AM

To paraphrase Rab C. Nesbitt, "If music is the food of love then folk rock is it's colostomy bag".


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: death by whisky
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 09:45 AM

Well done Declan.Someome else who knows of the Horslips.Thier second album THE tAIN,is an adaptation of The Cattle Raid of Cooley,a story of the Red Branch Knigts.Some one might be able to provide a link to an Irish mythology site.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 10:44 AM

Ask and ye shall receive, DBW.

THE tAIN

Mick


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Big Tim
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 11:20 AM

Dylan is usually credited with inventing "folk rock" but he himself said "I don't play folk rock".

Nobody really invented "folk rock", certainly not Steeleye Span or any of those bands, though they certainly brought it into the mainstream with hit singles, etc. "Folk rock" just kind of evolved gradually: I mean, Enoch Kent was singing traditional songs backed by electric guitar and drums back in '63, way before the Byrds, etc.

The real question is how should "folk" music be defined: and that ain't possible!


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: waterdragon
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 11:33 AM

If we're talking UK folk rock,does anyone remember the excellent Hedgehog Pie from the North East.They were definitely before their time.Two albums later and they disappeared from our ears!!

P.S.Runrig are still my all time favorite,also they are in concert in Sheffield on Monday!! I'll be there!!!


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 11:52 AM

On the UK side, I'd mention Capercaillie, Mouth Music, and Afro Celt Sound System too.


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Banjo-Flower
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 03:45 PM

(Thread creep) went to see Steeleye Span at the Opera House in York(U.K)last night on their reunion tour (still brilliant)

Gerry


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 07 Dec 02 - 04:12 PM

It's long cylindrical, white, and peppermint flavoured. It has a ghastly pink outer coating, and has the word FOLK lettered all the way through.
Suck suck.....Giok


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: Fay
Date: 10 Dec 02 - 09:14 AM

Thanks very much for all your suggestions.

I'm looking into lots of them.

I need to keep Folk Rock in an international context, not just England, and not just the British Isles. I'm looking at bands like Groupa etc... and would welcome more international- not even just European... group names for me to research.


Another angle I've been reading about - might throw up some more interesting disscussion...

Rock music grew out of folk musics in America. Elvis' first album (often regarded as the begginging of Rock and Roll) had a hillbilly track and a blues track on it. Lots of Rock and Roll is heavilly influenced, if not come directly from the blues. There is a tradition within the rock world of re-covering songs as well as composing new ones. There are ballads, and you can't deny that punk rock was music of the people, so... Is Rock the real folk music of our times. If so what the F*&K is Folk Rock.


OK my head is a bit mashed by all this now. Thanks again for your interest, and in answer to an earlier question, yes, I do realise how lucky I am to have 4 years to let this stuff swill around my head! It's great.

Love Fay xx


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Subject: RE: What is Folk Rock?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 02 - 06:18 PM

Fay! I just remembered this site! It is called "Media Usage in the American Folk Music Community" and is an absolute gem of an academic study brilliantly done & all laid out for you.

http://www.coe.ufl.edu/courses/EdTech/Vault/Folk/Home.htm

The site map--scroll to the bottom of the page & click "Outline".

Again, good luck and have fun!


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Mudcat time: 21 November 11:07 AM EST

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