Day 12:01 am

  • Day #85/365: Weirdlore: Notes From The Folk Underground and legendary lost focal points…

    Weirdlore-Folk Police Records-Jeanette Leach-Ian Anderson-fRoots-Sproatly Smith-A Year In The Country 3File under:
    Trails and Influences:
    Touchstones. 
    Case #16/52.

    Once upon a time there was an event called Weirdlore, which could well in future years have come to be known and constantly referred to as a focal point for a new wave of what could be called acid, psych or underground folk… or possibly weirdlore.

    Unfortunately said event was cancelled. Apparently there was an awful lot of enthusiasm for it but this hadn’t translated into the necessary parting with of lucre…

    However, there was still to be a document of this now never happened event, which was the Weirdlore compilation released by Folk Police Recordings (who were responsible for one of my favourite corners of the electronic ether, which also sadly is nolonger with us).

    The album has rather fine artwork by Owl Service compatriot/Straw Bear Band gent/Rif Mountain-er Dom Cooper, which reinterprets traditional folkloric imagery and iconography in a contemporary manner…

    Weirdlore-Folk Police Records-Jeanette Leach-Ian Anderson-fRoots-Sproatly Smith-A Year In The Country 1

    The album is a snapshot of things musically, well, Weirdloric and includes tracks by Telling The Bees, Emily Portman, Rapunzel & Sedayne, another sometime Owl Service-r Nancy Wallace, Pamela Wyn Shannon, Katie Rose, The False Beards, Foxpockets, Boxcar Aldous Huxley, the aforementioned Straw Bear Band, Starless And Black Bible, Alasdair Roberts, Corncrow, Ros Brady, The Witches With Kate Denny, Harp And A Monkey, Wyrdstone…

    …and I think the standout track for me is Sproatly Smith’s version of Rosebud In June, which I think if I had to save my A Year In The Country Desert Island Discs from the waves, may well be scooped up for nights under the stars.

    It is a song which has been described by The Gaping Silence as being “like something from the Wicker Man, if the Wicker Man had been a 1960s children’s TV series about time travel”… which as a quote has always stuck in my mind and I think sums it up really rather well and so I shall say no more.

    Weirdlore-Folk Police Records-Jeanette Leach-Ian Anderson-fRoots-Sproatly Smith-A Year In The Country 2The album is also well worth a peruse (and purchase?) for the accompanying text by Ian Anderson, of fRoots magazine, written with Weirdlore still a month away and still to be a future point in history. In it he rather presciently describes the album as “celebrating a day which has yet to happen and a genre that quite conceivably doesn’t exist.”

    Within the album’s packaging there is also an extended piece by Jeanette Leech (author of Seasons They Change: The Story Of Acid and Psychedelic Folk) where she discusses the use of genre names, how such music as that which is featured in Weirdlore came to be and the brief shining of media spotlights on its and associated practitioners:

    When light is not on a garden, many plants will wither. But others won’t. They will grow in crazy, warped, hardy new strains. It’s time to feed from the soil instead of the sunlight.

    I think that last sentence is one of the ones which has haunted and lodged in my psyche the most when I’ve been working towards, on and thinking about A Year In The Country.

    The electronic ether wisps of Weirdlore here. The electronic ether wisps of Folk Police Recordings here and an introduction to the album from them here. Dom Cooper here. Rif Mountain here. Seasons They Change by Jeanette Leech here.

    The Wickerman soundtrack as a 1960s children’s TV series about time travel via Sproatly Smith herehere and listen to or even purchase the soundtrack itself here.

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