When I was in service in Rosemary Lane
Other than the homegrown Lisa Stansfield concerts I went to in the mid 80's - about which I've written before - Steeleye Span at the Manchester Apollo was one of my first ever 'gigs'. Young Tim loved the folkie sound! Simon and Garkunkel have to be top five for me. I love British / American folk music. It often gets characterised as twats with beards, beer bellies, fingers in their ears singing about sailors and shady ladies!
Which is basically what Rosemary Lane is about. Actually, I had the privilege of seeing the late, great, Bert Jansch live in concert in Brighton in 1990's. He didn't do Rosemary Lane. Bastard.
I've often thought that it would make a great book or film to depict the British folk scene in the mid-60's. The scene that created Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, John Renbourne, Jackson C Frank, Simon and Garfunkel, and loads of others. They all knew each other, played in the same places, did versions of the same songs. Nicked each other's guitar style.
So let me be your guide though some the highlights of the great folk boom of the 60's / 70's - which probably reached its apogee with Sandy Denny duetting with Led Zeppelin on The Battle of Evermore - a crossover folk rock song like no other. The mighty Zep did what they did with the blues - amped up the power, took what's best in the genre, co-opted the best female folk voice ever, and created the folk hammer of the gods.
Anyway - here's Tim's top 10 acoustic / folkie / whatever list.
Top Ten Folkie / Acoustic Music
1) Bert Jansch - Rosemary Lane (1971)
2) Fairport Convention - Who Knows Where the Time Goes
3) Steeleye Span - All Around my Hat
4) Martin Carthy - Scarborough Fair
5) Simon & Garfunkel - Bleecker Street
6) Van Morrison - Beside You
7) Gordon Lightfoot - In the Early Morning Rain
8) Pentangle - Light Flight
9) Renaissance - The Northern Lights
10) Jackson C Frank - Blues Run the Game
Number 6 also appears on my top ten songs ever. I could pick half a dozen Paul Simon songs for this list but I limited myself to one.
Extra Waffle about Bert Jansch
One of the most influential guitarists ever to come out of Britain. Solo artist, part of the folk supergroup Pentangle and then back to solo again. Jansch seems a genuinely nice, self-effacing guy, as I can recall when I saw him back in the 90's. Needle of Death, from his first album, is such a sad song, tear-jerking even now, and as empathetic a song as I've ever heard. It Don't Bother Me, from his second album, is classic Bert - folkie, intricate guitar figures, detailing love's woes. But I'll plump for Rosemary Lane. Traditional song, rendered traditionally, this was the first folk song - after Steeleye Span - to really get to me. It details the seduction of an innocent servant girl by a travelling sailor. He loves and then leaves. Jansch's version - like Dylan's House of the Rising Sun - reverses the sexes, he sings from a female point of view. Love this song. Bert Jansch - a great soul who died in 2011 - the guitarist's guitar player.
Renbourne left and Jansch right. Scat singing. A bit of jazz, a bit of blues, some folk and a whole lot of soul.