If I Should Fall From Grace With God is the album where the Pogues made it clear that they were more than just a rowdy bunch of ex-punks who’d figured their parents folk music went well copious amounts of alcohol and drugs. Nah, they were worldbeaters now, with a raw handle on their roots-based instrumentation that let them go pretty much anywhere they cared, slay any dragon. Only the aforementioned drugs and alcohol could stop them now, which they did. Sort of.
The Strawbs started out as a folk band in the 1960s, but somewhere along the line, things started getting so-called progressive, which Rick Wakeman‘s stint on keyboards only accentuated. But even after Yes scooped him up for their nefarious ends, the Strawbs continued with the progressing and expanding, and nowhere so seriously, intensely, psychedelically as The Life Auction, found on 1975’s Ghosts. It’s tea time, the middle of England somewhere (or maybe just some drab Canadian suburb) and the acid you dropped an hour or so back is finally kicking in hard, the truth about everything revealed in the polluted haze of another diluted day.
“I knew nothing about Lindisfarne other than the fact that they were on Charisma, the same label that Genesis got started on. Which is why my friend Carl’s big brother bought Lindisfarne Live. He figured any album with that Mad Hatter graphic in the middle couldn’t be bad. He listened to it once, and (not being into “folk shit”) gave it to Carl, who didn’t think much of it himself, so it ended up with me, buried in deep end of my collection, barely listened to for at least a decade before I dragged it out one sloppy, stoned 80s evening, and holy shit, it was fun, it had edge, it had drunken British hippie folkies taking wets on the wall. Radical shit.” (Philip Random)
Jethro Tull main man Ian Anderson was nothing if not level-headed in 1978. While many of his fellow formerly cool rock star types were scrambling (often pathetically) in attempts to reinvent themselves as somehow edgy and relevant in the face of punk rock etc, he just told it like it was. He was more concerned about his farm up in Scotland than the state of the zeitgeist, the big horses in particular. The album in question may have seemed a throwback at the time, but over time, its mix of folk and rock elements has come to feel more timeless than anything.
“The Pogues were exactly what the mid 1980s needed. The original London punks had finally blown all their fuses, with the Clash’s inglorious meltdown being the most recent notable calamity. Enter a bunch of guys (and sometimes a girl) with way too much Irish blood in their veins, grabbing their parents old instruments off the wall (and a few of their tunes), and thrashing away like it truly f***ing meant something, which in the case of The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, it did. Because as the wise woman said, the universal soldier, he really is to blame.” (Philip Random)