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Various - Before the Day is Done: The Story of Folk Heritage Records (1968-1975)

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 8 / 11 / 2022

Various - Before the Day is Done: The Story of Folk Heritage Records (1968-1975)
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Tommy Gunnarsson enjoys ‘Before the Day is Done’, the third instalment in a folk anthology series from Grapefruit which focuses on the obscure Folk Heritage label between 1968 and 1975.

Grapefruit, a Cherry Red sub-label, has done a fantastic job in releasing anthologies of more or less forgotten acts in the world of UK folk, with the two compilations ‘Dust on the Nettles’ (2015) and ‘Sumer is Icumen In’ (2020) focusing on the underground folk movement and the pagan side of folk. This third instalment in a trilogy of sorts instead turns its focus to a specific label – Folk Heritage Records. The label was founded by Alan Green in 1968, and quickly became a safe home for the more backward looking, grassroots acts of the folk boom that exploded in the UK in the late 1960s. Some of the acts here were featured on the two previous compilations, like Folkal Point, Music Box and Parke, but there are also lots and lots of new acquaintances to be made here! The music on these three CDs are quite varied, although within the ‘folk’ boundaries, with everything from solo singer/songwriters picking away on their acoustic guitars to folk rock, with more old-school fiddle folk in-between, and personally, I prefer the folk rock part best. On this compilation, I have discovered new favourites in acts such as Peregrine (I can really recommend checking out their sole album, ‘Songs of Mine’, released in 1972), The Young Folk and the aforementioned Folkal Point, for instance. The Folk Heritage records are quite unique in a way, as they are extremely sought-after, and are sold for ridiculous sums, but they have virtually no streams at all on Spotify. For example, the aforementioned Peregrine album is sold for 600 dollars on the record collector site Discogs, but they currently have 137 monthly listeners on Spotify, with no songs having more than 1000 streams in total. Let’s change that, shall we? Oh, I should get one thing straight here before it slips my mind – not all the songs on this compilation were released on the Folk Heritage label, but also on their associated sub-labels Midas, Sweet Folk & Country, Westwood and Real. Just so you know. In the booklet (which is brilliant, as always), Green is quoted by saying “None of the artists on this album are ‘famous’, but they represent a fair cross-section of resident singers, perhaps performing at a folk club in your area. In all cases the lack of fame is of no consequence to these individuals, whose enthusiasm and sincerity conveys the true feeling of the folk tradition” (he wrote this when releasing the label spotlight compilation LP ‘Folk Heritage’ in 1973), and I think that’s more or less what this three CD box is all about. Practically unknown heroes of a musical movement finally getting the recognition they deserve. I might not enjoy every song here (I have discovered there is such a thing as too much fiddle and too folk-y voices), but that’s not the point. So, thank you, Grapefruit.

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