Various Artists

Dust on the Nettles: A Journey Through the British Underground Folk Scene 1967-1972

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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger

This richly realized collection from the Cherry Red label's psych/garage imprint Grapefruit offers up three heaping discs worth of British folk from its late-'60s and early-'70s heyday. The scene's influential flagship acts like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, and the Incredible String Band are all represented, but the real attraction here is a hefty amount of deep cuts from more obscure regional acts who received scant recognition in their time. Chronicling the five-year period between 1967 and 1972, Dust on the Nettles pools together the various intertwining movements of underground folk in the U.K. from the more staunch traditionalists to the more cerebral, psych-influenced acts and everything in between. Progressive bands like Comus and Synanthesia get their due, as do mysterious rarities like Shide & Acorn, Agincourt, and Melton Constable. Cult heroes like Vashti Bunyan and Bill Fay, who received unexpected post-millennium career revivals, sit alongside acts who would later become associated with other genres like Marc Bolan's pre-glam Tyrannosaurus Rex and early, neo-folk editions of new wavers Duncan Browne and Joan Armatrading. With its generous mix of recognizable masters and unexpected surprises, Dust on the Nettles is a treasure trove begging to be discovered.

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