Various Artists

Beginner's Guide to English Folk [2012]

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The Nascente label is very good at assembling carefully curated compilations of global music and selling them for very reasonable prices. This three-disc collection is no exception. Released with the English folk revival going great guns, this box represents three different generations quite well. Shirley Collins -- without Dolly -- is here, as are the Watersons, the first family of English folk. The baby-boom generation is well represented too, by Bob Davenport, Janet Penfold, Steeleye Span, June Tabor (with and without the Oyster Band -- their reading of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a set highlight), Peter Bellamy, Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band, Fotheringay, Anne Briggs, and others. This is the first collection to showcase the late 20th and early 21st century revivalists with their forebears. The Waterson family lineage is extended with the inclusion of tracks by Eliza Carthy, the pairing of Lal Waterson with her son Oliver Knight, Billy Bragg, Blue Murder, Brass Monkey, Simon Ritchie (performing the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." to close the set, no less), and many others. While this set is missing some major names -- Fairport Convention, the Albion Band, Pentangle, Richard & Linda Thompson, Davy Graham, Ralph McTell, John Martyn, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, etc. -- one suspects this had more to do with licensing nightmares than deliberate exclusion. This is a small complaint considering the wealth of music to be found here, presented in fine packaging with warm, full sound and authoritative historical liner notes. Recommended.

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