Various Artists

Legends of Folk Rock

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This 32-track, two-CD set contains four tracks each by eight prominent British folk-rock acts: Steeleye Span, Lindisfarne, Renaissance, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, the Incredible String Band, and Shirley Collins and The Albion Country Band. The annotations are restricted to brief quotes from bandmembers and do not reveal the sources of the recordings. But they are not difficult to trace; they all come from the archives of the British folk label Mooncrest Records, owned by Trojan Records, from which they have been licensed. Mooncrest has reissued vintage folk recordings and issued some new ones. Most of these derive from the late '60s and early '70s, and some are rare. For example, the tracks by Sandy Denny date from 1967, when they were made with Johnny Salvo and Alex Campbell. After Denny joined Fairport Convention, they reappeared on a 1970 album called Sandy Denny on Saga Records, and Mooncrest reissued them on a 1978 LP called The Original Sandy Denny. The Fairport Convention tracks are an exception; they come from the 1997 Cropredy Festival and were issued on Mooncrest's 1999 album Cropredy. Typical of the British folk-rock movement, the songs range from traditional tunes to originals and covers of American rockers such as Buddy Holly ("Rave On") and Bob Dylan ("Si Tu Dois Partir" [aka "If You Gotta Go"]), and the arrangements range from a cappella harmonizing to performances with electrified rock rhythm sections. This is not a best-of for British folk-rock; it is more of a representative sampler of material from some of its best-known practitioners. Still, there are memorable performances, and anyone encountering this record without any prior knowledge of British folk-rock would get a good idea of what it sounds like, albeit, given the lack of annotations, no sense of its history or context.

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