Anthems In Eden: The Journey from Folk into Rock

Today in our Fea­tured Music we  look at the pro­gres­sion from folk into rock in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s. In addi­tion, at 12 noon and 4pm Pacific/SLT, in the lat­est edi­tion of “Where Have You” Been?, where we dis­cov­er things to do and places to see around the Sec­ond Life Grid, we vis­it “Mon­sters, Demons, & Chess” by Monique Beebe (Kon­dor Art Cen­ter). Plus “Engines of Our Inge­nu­ity” every four hours from 4am Pacific.

There are a cou­ple of books that trace the devel­op­ment of British folk music from the tra­di­tion­al to the folk-rock era.

The clas­sic is The Elec­tric Muse: The Sto­ry of Folk into Rock by Dave Laing, Karl Dal­las, Robin Denselow and Robert Shel­ton, pub­lished in 1975, writ­ten, inter­est­ing­ly, while it was still hap­pen­ing. Accom­pa­ny­ing the book’s pub­li­ca­tion was a mul­ti-album com­pi­la­tion that did an excel­lent job of pro­vid­ing musi­cal exam­ples to illus­trate the sto­ry. The album ver­sion had sev­er­al incar­na­tions, final­ly end­ing up in the form of no less than two triple-CD sets titled The New Elec­tric Muse I & II, issued by Cas­tle Music in the mid-1990s and now out of print.

More recent is Rob Young’s excel­lent book Elec­tric Eden (2010), which runs from the Vic­to­ri­an era to more or less its date of pub­li­ca­tion, although the focus is once again on the peri­od between the mid 1960s, when elec­tric folk music start­ed to become pop­u­lar, and the mid 70s when punk threw the baby whole­sale out with the bath­wa­ter. That also spawned a com­pi­la­tion album with the same title.

The name Anthems In Eden was giv­en to a sem­i­nal work by Shirley and Dol­ly Collins. Released in 1969, it con­sists of a sin­gle song cycle cen­ter­ing around the First World War and fea­tures the musi­cians of the Ear­ly Music Con­sort with the late David Munrow. It is now avail­able on CD (if you look hard) paired with the 1976 album Ama­ranth. It’s also the title of anoth­er mul­ti-album folk his­to­ry com­pi­la­tion, also from Cas­tle Music, and this is where the title of today’s pro­gramme originates.

Togeth­er, these com­pi­la­tions trace a fas­ci­nat­ing musi­cal his­to­ry, and we’ll hear tracks from all of them today, along­side some of the orig­i­nal albums from which tracks were tak­en for the com­pi­la­tions, and many more. Let us take you back to the times when unac­com­pa­nied folk music gained first acoustic instru­ments and ulti­mate­ly elec­tric ones, as we trace the jour­ney of folk into rock in the UK.