This is apparently the first book about English electric folk in thirty years, and the first ever to take an ethnomusicological approach to the subject. Most books about British folk music, or about "folk-rock" (a term usually taken to mean an American genre of slightly earlier date) don't distinguish the electric folk bands or else relegate the whole idea to a corner.
But Sweers puts front and center four bands: Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, and the Oyster Band, with plenty of discussion of acoustic performers allied to electric folk (e.g. Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins) and some excursions into "Celtic lounge music" (Clannad, Enya) and American bands doing English electric folk. Nor is this a casual anecdotal history. Despite some occasionally sloppy writing and copyediting (what has happened to the OUP, anyway?), Sweers has delved deeply into primary sources and interviewed almost everybody, and written a good analysis of how the "scene" developed, what it meant to the people performing and listening to it (even discussing social class issues), and into what the music is actually like and how it got that way. I especially appreciated the meaty technical sections, like the chart showing some of the unusual chord progressions that characterize these songs (Fairport's "Tam Lin", for instance, is i-VII-III-i).
One might also learn a lot. Every history and interview of these performers says that many of them came out of "the folk clubs," obviously venues where folk music was performed, but Sweers is the first to actually describe these things. It turns out that "'venue' can actually be misleading, for the clubs were more like events - weekly meetings that were located in one of the small back rooms of a pub, easily missed by outsiders" (p. 112). Folk clubs tended to be run by people who took Ewan MacColl's every suggestion as iron-clad gospel, and thus were bastions for what Tom Lehrer once called "the peculiar hard core who equate authenticity with charm." Now one begins to understand why people like Tim Hart and Maddy Prior found them stultifying and found a way out.
Sweers's interviewing and research were done around 1996-97 and the book is largely written from the perspective of that time period, although there's an epilogue dated 2003 when the text was finalized. It's still a long enough perspective to tell the primary history of a movement whose golden age was 1969-75 but still carries on.
This is a pioneering secondary study of considerable value, to ethnomusicologists seeking uncharted fields to read about, and especially to anyone who actually likes the music.