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A Third Selection Of Ten Essential UK & Irish Folk Music Songs From 1960s-1980s

Ten More Essential Folk Songs From The British And Irish Isles

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 3 min read
From The Fotheringay "Nothing More" Collection


This is the third selection that I have created to share in UK & Irish Folk Music 60s-80s and you can visit them here to discover even more musical treasures.

Episodes (that makes it sound like a TV series doesn't it) one and two are linked at the end of this selection.

You are likely to prefer other songs by these artists, but the reason for doing these articles is to introduce these artists to people who don't know them or have forgotten them.

John Martyn - "Spencer The Rover"

My favourite John Martyn album is "One World" but this song from "Sunday's Child" was my first introduction to the sadly missed great man. I remember watching this concert and was stunned by his use of the echo rhythm on his version of "Big Muff" which he composed with Lee Perry, but it is probably not for this article. I did include it in this non-folk article if you do want to check it out.

Trees - "The Garden of Jane Delawney"

This song takes me into a mystical place, I could almost imagine it being featured in "The Wicker Man". A beautiful intro, but it then somehow carries a feeling of unspoken threat, but you are definitely seduced by its absolute dark beauty.

Sweeney's Men - Old Maid In A Garrett

This is a live rendition of a wonderful song by the band, but I will share the actual YouTube description here. This is delightful.

Andy Irvine, Johnny Moynihan and Terry Woods play the first Sweeney's single at Andy's birthday bash on 16th June 2012 Vicar Street

Fotheringay - "The Banks Of The Nile"

Another excuse to feature the wonderful voice of the sadly missed Sandy Denny with her post Fairport band Fotheringay. This is a traditional song arranged by the band.

The song is an eight minute closer to their first album and the only traditional song on there.

This is one of the best known of the ballads arising out of the campaigns against Napoleon, and it is still sung by country singers in both Scotland and England. It has the mark of the broadside presses which helped to circulate both the hack-scrivener verses with which they are usually associated and traditional material as well.

Full article here

Y Triban - "Crwydro Yn Fy Ngwaed"

I have been very remiss in not including any Welsh folk, and when this was pointed out I realised I knew no Welsh Folk music. I will look into this for future articles, but Y Triban are the first band that came up on Google, so I hope this is an acceptable inclusion.

I am aware of many Welsh artists in other spheres such as Dave Edmunds, BJ Cole, Help Yourself, Super Furry Animals, and Manic Street Preachers but I would not class Max Boyce as Welsh Folk.

Bert Jansch - "Needle Of Death"

I love the sound of Bert's guitar on this song. But this is a very dark song and so descriptive of the descent into oblivion that modern life can drive some of us. I have included a link to a Suicide Prevention site that seems appropriate to go with this song.

June Tabor - "Bonnie May"

The YouTube blurb says the album "Airs and Graces" was released in 2016 but it was released in 1976 so falls within the remit of UK & Irish Folk Music 60s-80s. I love her voice and a lot of this album is unaccompanied, but on "Bonnie May" there is guitar and wind instrument backing.

Ar Log - "Hiraeth"

Another beautiful Welsh folk song that was recorded in 1980 so it is fine to include. "Hiraeth" was used by my good friend Les for a Vocal Community idea that you can read about below. It has an expanded definition of what the concept is, though

it has no exact English equivalent. The nearest translation is a yearning or longing.

The Fureys - "Green Fields Of France"

They first released this song in 1979 and I have had requests to include this song, and the Fureys also add some Irish performers to this selection. A beautiful song about the loss of life in the First World War written by the amazing Scottish-born Australian composer Eric Bogle who also composed "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"

De Danaan - Ríl an Spidéal

Again these were a staple when I used to listen to John Peel and this is a great instrumental piece to close this installment


Thank you so much for reading, listening, and enjoying. The members of UK & Irish Folk Music 60s-80s have inspired this series and I am very grateful to you all. Now on to episode four.

These are the first two episodes/installments in this series.

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About the Creator

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

Weaver of Tales, Poems, Music & Love

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Vocal Tips


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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran5 months ago

    Oh wow, a third installment in this series. I enjoyed it a lot!

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