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Gather in the Mushrooms: Revisiting 1/26

Due to the ever-expanding nature of the internet and the way that search engine results often seem to focus on more recent posts etc, a lot of older online content can be, if not lost, then at least a little lost-to-view. A bit like a book in an overcrowded second-hand bookshop that’s hidden away near the bottom of a pile of books. Still worth a look-see but you’ve got to forage a bit to find it.

I’ve had something of a hankering to return to and have a wander through the first year of A Year In The Country, to revisit some old cultural “friends” and inspirations. Maybe it will be a bit like picking up an old magazine that you’ve had on the shelves for years but haven’t browsed through for a fair old while.

I find myself enjoying that, appreciating the way that the contents can be like time capsules or snapshots of a particular point in time, and also how sometimes things that you missed the first time around or didn’t fully take in can now catch your eye and interest.

(As an aside, I also appreciate, particuarly in older music magazines, the prices of things back then – adverts for gigs by bands who now play stadiums and that it might cost you £80 or more to see playing a small venue with an entry fee of £2.50 and so on.)

Sometimes as well, when you pick up older magazines you spot cultural trends or themes that weren’t apparent at the time. Picking up an older magazine can also sometimes give you a moment to stop, pause and reflect, which is somewhat precious in these times of such a vast array of access to culture in various forms.

It’s also a form of digital scrapbooking, in a not dissimilar way that once upon a time people may have created actual scrapbooks of things in magazines etc that caught their eye.

These posts are in part inspired by all that and this is the first of a series of posts which will revisit posts from the first year of A Year In The Country.

And so, without further ado, the first of these “revisitings” jumps all the way back to one of the very first posts at A Year In The Country:

The collection of acid folk etc on the Gather in the Mushrooms compilation album released in 2004 was a notable inspiration for A Year In The Country. Particularly Trader Horne’s Morning Way, that begins with “Dreaming strands of nightmare, Are sticking to my feet”, which seemed to open something up in my mind and thoroughly cast aside any preconceptions of folk music I had.

Compiled by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne, it has the subtitle The British Acid Folk Underground 1968-1974. Alongside Trader Horne it includes, amongst other things, an instrumental version of Magnet’s Corn Riggs from The Wicker Man soundtrack, the ethereal gothic folk of Forest’s Graveyard, Pentangle’s haunting take on traditional song Lyke Wake Dirge, Sandy Denny’s beguiling journey through love and the seasons Milk and Honey and Sallyangie’s Love in Ice Crystals, which features a rather young Mike Oldfield and his sister prior to his Tubular Bells fame.

The album is a rather fine and concise gathering and representation of the different strands of exploration in British folk in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, and although it is long out of print and can sometimes be a bit pricey used, it is well worth seeking out.


The original post published during the first year of A Year In The Country:


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