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This book is part personal memoir, part more general overview of the English folk scene. The early chapters are about Hadfield's own performing career, while later chapters are more of a survey of the current folk scene, giving potted reviews and histories of most of the main protagonists.

Hadfield makes a genial and affable observer; there are no huge surprises or controversial revelations here, but that is not the point of the book. I'm not sure how much of interest there is in this book for those who don't know their Bellowhead from their Barely Works and their Unthanks from their Watersons - but I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end, and if you fancy a gentle ramble through English folk music from the 60s to the present day, this is the book for you. It also makes a genial colloquial counterpoint to the more structured and formal 'Singing From The Floor' by PJ Bean.
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on 20 October 2014
As a Folk Club Organiser I found this an engaging read from start to finish, in fact I started to leaf through it with no thought of embarking on a full read there and then, but the conversational, intimate nature of Hadfield's writing soon had me abandoning the novel I was half way through in favour of this tome. It's one man's journey through that genre of music that got its hooks into me some 40 years back and the club and gig infrastructure he describes so affectionately has a real resonance for me and should strike a chord with anyone who has ever been to a british Folk Club.
The anecdotes relating to people I know well on the 'scene' raised a few wry smiles but this isn't just a book for the Folk activist - its immensely readable style combined with Dave's self-deprecating approach (he'll never deliver a listenable version of 'The Rambling Sailor!) make it a valuable insight into an oft-regarded arcane world which isn't the beer and beards, finger-ear interaction stereotype that the popular press' lazy journalism paints.
I don't agree with his every premise and some of the artists he reveres leave me unmoved but it's the diversity of the music that's at the heart of its appeal. There is room for us all.
Hugely enjoyable.
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on 1 February 2015
I’ve just finished a second reading of Dave Hadfield’s book – my first read was rather patchy over Christmas – as I thought that it deserved more than a cursory browse through the chapters. And I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t think that the early (and some quite recent) views on the UK folk music scene have ever been documented by the average punter who turned up week after week on club nights. That’s not to say that Hadfield is an average write; he tackles his subject with a degree of erudition not found in other commentators of the genre and leads us a merry (folk?) dance through the club scene and its performers. The usual suspects appear amongst the guest lists although there is no grovelling towards the high and mighty. The humour is sometimes subtle, always invigorating and he is at his best when it is self-deprecating. Often self-effacing in his views Hadfield sews together this by no means narrow view of the music of which he is so fond. If you want to immerse yourself in the world of smoky upstairs rooms in pubs and clubs for a few hours then this is the place to go. He won’t ask you to sing or perform but he might press you to buy a raffle ticket which on his own admission is the pinnacle of his own personal achievements in contributing to the folk clubs he so obviously adores. Thanks for an insightful look at where we all were during those formative years of the great revival. This volume fills a gap in the story of folk music and I for one am so glad that a journalist such as Dave Hadfield had the energy and enthusiasm to do the job. And thanks must also go to the publishers, Scratching Shed for their courage in publishing for such a niche market. Read this book – you’ll be captivated, educated, enthralled and informed. A great read.
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on 17 November 2015
I LOVED this book. Enjoyed reading every page. Fantastic achievement. Also extremely humorous and brilliantly written. Added bonus of some really interesting pictures of famous folkies at the end. Bless Dave and I hope your Parkinson's is not too bad. I was a Neurology nurse for 38 years so I got to know about that particular illness very well. Thanks for persevering with the book and good luck for the future. And one thing your book is NOT and that is drivel. Super bit of writing. Well done. [good value in length as well.]
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on 31 December 2014
Loved this book!
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on 10 April 2015
An excellent read for anybody who is interested in folk music.
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on 5 April 2015
bought as a gift
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on 9 September 2014
After Bernard's introduction the book just goes downhill. I don't see the point of this book. Hadfield talks a lot but is bereft of valid points. Star rating of one is for Bernard's introduction. Unthanks? No thanks!
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