Square Roots Productions is very proud to support the publication of an updated edition of one of the classic histories of folk music – The Electric Muse Revisited.
The original edition, entitled Electric Muse, was published in 1975, at the height of the first wave of folk-rock. It was accompanied by four-LP vinyl boxset, and both were critically acclaimed bestsellers which introduced folk music, both old and new, to a young generation. Dave Laing, one of the four contributing authors, was a founding trustee of the folk music charity Square Roots Productions. Dave sadly passed away in 2019 but it was at his suggestion that Square Roots Productions instigated the revision and release of both the book and a brand-new four-CD set, which includes contributions from folk-rock legends and new musicians, including rarities and previously unreleased songs.
The book and CDs now bring the story up to 2021, both painstakingly updated and curated by the last surviving author from the original quartet: Robin Denselow, renowned journalist, author and broadcaster.
The Electric Muse Revisited: The Story of Folk into Rock and Beyond is at the heart of what Square Roots Productions stands for. We celebrate and support the importance of folk musicians and their songs, new and old, and across continents. We do so to help create a legacy for the older generation of musicians and a future for new artists. Our charity also recognises the vital role that journalists play in discovering and highlighting new musical talent.
THE ELECTRIC MUSE REVISITED:
The Story of Folk into Rock and Beyond
Updated by Robin Denselow
Published 27 May 2021
Folk music survives by continually evolving and adapting, but the 1960s and 1970s were an extraordinary period of change and innovation. Rock musicians borrowed from traditional songs, while folk musicians re-worked ancient ballads using electric guitars and drum kits. From Dylan to Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson and Steeleye Span, the fusion of old and contemporary created a powerful new style: folk-rock.
First published in 1975, Electric Muse was written by four highly respected music writers and journalists, all fans of folk music: Karl Dallas, Robin Denselow, Dave Laing and Robert Shelton, the only American member of the team. It chronicled the story of the folk movement from its roots to its revival, and its journey across continents. This substantially revised edition features a host of new interviews which bring folk-rock’s fascinating story up to date, with traditional songs which are now matched against anything from punk and rap to electronica.
It includes new chapters on the careers of artists including Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, June Tabor, Bellowhead, Sam Lee, Stick In the Wheel and others, and it features numerous portraits by acclaimed music photographer Judith Burrows.
Karl Dallas was a regular contributor to Melody Maker and other publications and was the author of three books, including Singers of an Empty Day. He died in 2016.
The Electric Muse Revisited: The Story of Folk into Rock and Beyond
Released 21 June 2021
On Good Deeds /Proper
Robin Denselow has lovingly curated a 61-track, four-CD set, which takes the listener from the first folk-rock era right up to the present. This all-new boxset traces how British traditional music has been re-worked with influences not just from rock but also from punk, rap, electronica, big-band brass, and sounds and styles from around the world. Folk songs have survived for generations thanks to their memorable, glorious melodies and because of the timeless, universal stories they tell of love, death, work, war, or class. Few other musical styles have proved quite so versatile and resilient.
This comprehensive set includes performances from folk legends and bright new stars, including Shirley Collins, Fairport Convention, Billy Bragg, June Tabor and Oysterband, Eliza Carthy, Jim Moray, Olivia Chaney, Spiro, Lau, Jon Boden, Martyn Bennet, Capercaillie, Stick In the Wheel, Sam Lee, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Yorkston Thorne Khan, and many more.
The set includes unreleased and rare recordings from Imagined Village (their first new music in nine years), Justin Adams, and Stick In the Wheel, Maddy Prior and Lavinia Blackwall. In addition, there are rare demos from Sandy Denny and Richard and Linda Thompson.
Robin Denselow has written the accompanying 24-page booklet.