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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Various Artists

By Justin Hopper
Published March 17, 2007

Never The Same: Leave-Taking from The British Folk Revival 1970-1977
Honest Jon’s HJRCD19

UNITED KINGDOM

It often seems that art’s greatest practitioners and most valiant patrons have been single-minded madmen, none more so than the possessed druid of the British folk revival, Bill Leader. For four decades, the producer, engineer, promoter, and head of the Leader and Trailer record labels recorded everyone from folk-revival first family the Watersons to iconoclast Bert Jansch. In the 1970s, as British folk music reached its height of popularity, Trailer Records was documenting the revival’s less arena-ready performers: the pop world succumbed to the wiles of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, but ignored Dick Gaughan’s gruff bar-fight baritone and the storm-watch quiver of Aly Bain’s solo Shetland fiddle. The selections from Trailer’s vaults on Never The Same often prove stark and harsh—Lal Waterson’s title track could freeze whiskey. But they’re beautiful by any yardstick, and a vital background check for anyone interested in the current nostalgic rush towards weird British folk.