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on 17 July 2006
This compilation provides an excellent primer for anyone intrigued by the seemingly never-ending stream of newspaper and magazine articles proclaiming that folk is the new big thing. Strange Folk proves that this is a strong argument too, with tracks from acts such as Tunng, Eighteenth Day of May, King Creosote and Adem providing a taster of the burgeoning scene of exciting intelligent folk-tinged music which is finding its audience without the help of awards ceremonies and six figure marketing budgets. The compilation also delves back in time to show where this scene grew from - reminding us in the process that glam icons T-Rex started out as a mind-bending acoustic duo.

The nineteen thoughtfully sequenced tracks are largely `folk- inspired' rather than drawing obviously on traditional music but offerings from Pentangle and Alisdair Roberts at the end of the album hang the influences of the songs of old Albion more clearly on their sleeves.

Definitely Strange, Mostly Folk - All essential listening for anyone looking for something `just a little bit otherworldly'.
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on 12 June 2008
I'd heard of some of these acts, Incredible String Band , Magnet and Donovan for example, and Pentangle being probably my favourite of this ilk, but the others were completely new to me. What a pleasant surprising introduction! For me this is a more enjoyable album than Gather in the Mushrooms, which is a fine compilation album itself, it just seems more vital , and has more spirit to it. It might be just because these tracks are better produced, as they are essentially more contemporary pieces, but even the newer material such as the opening track by Beth Gibbons from Portishead, harkens back to that flowery age with an edge of such haunting melancholy, that one could be forgiven for thinking these tracks are covers of earlier bands. I never really rated Donovan that much, but the song here has changed my mind, such that i think I'll have to trace some of his other work.

Notwithstanding the above hyperbole, try this album out. It gives you exactly what it says on the cover. Try listening to it on an MP3 player, walking through local woodland on a fine yet cloudy day. I've looked on the producers website ever since, hoping they'll bring out a volume 2.
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on 1 November 2013
There's always been strange electric folk, as distinct from the Pentangles and Steeleye Spans, (witness Comus, Mellow Candle and Mr Fox), and this compilation draws on that era and more contemporary examples to illustrate the point. Ultimately it all comes from the same universal source. It's great to discover new bands on compilations such as these and I was immediately drawn to the Eighteenth Day of May and Espers contributions. However, I could do without the strangely whining Joanna Newsom whom I really can't get into. Also you're going to need a magnifying glass to read the track notes!
Other equally, if not more, rewarding compilations are Gather In The Mushrooms and its companion Early Morning Hush which focus more on the underground folk of the '70s, and here you will find Comus et al.
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on 25 March 2006
The aim of this album is to put a collection of folk, or folk-influenced, songs which are somehow different from more traditional folk tunes, usually with an eerie or psychedelic feel. Or as the title of the album suggests, the songs are strange. While on the subject of strange, it is dissapointing that the Incredible String Band song, Saturday Maybe, is one of their least strange songs. The only stange thing about it is how it ended up on this album instead of something like Koeeoaddi There from ISB's The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter.
What makes this album excellent is the array of styles spanning ~40years worth of strange folk. This means that experienced folkies and new ones will get a lot out of this album if you want to discover new bands or just have an eclectic mix when you don't know what else to listen to! Outstanding tracks in my opinion are those by Eighteenth Day of May and Forest. After listening to the Forest song on the compilation Gather in the Mushrooms (which you must buy if you enjoy(ed) this CD), I think the Forest album will be the next one I buy.
Songs by well-established veterans Pentangle, Vashti Bunyan and Donovan are of course brilliant. But that goes without saying.
All the songs on this album are very good to outstanding. It was nice to see a James Yorkston song there and the album is finished superbly with a specially comissioned song by Alasdair Roberts.
In summary, this album is less trippy and educational with regards to the history of psychedelic folk than Gather in the Mushrooms, but it is an easy going, mellow and sometimes happy look over the shoulder and glance into the future of this breed of folk music.
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on 28 January 2016
If you are expecting Joan Baez, Ian & Sylvia or even The Folksmen.. well.. you wont find "Old Joe's Place" here. This is folk music gone spacey.. British style. "Strange"?? Well.. perhaps, in that you don't often get folk songs about werewolves, and the ancient ditty about William's ghost is a bit weird, and one track (by The Eighteenth of May) even made it on the Psychedelic Bubble Bursting In Your Brain compilation.. so yeah, not your standard Woody Guthrie fare (as I hoped it WOULDN'T be).

I was a little disappointed in this collection at first. I felt it went downhill after the first track (Beth Gibbons' achingly beautiful "Mysteries"). It's damn hard to follow... however, after a few plays I warmed to the whole thing. There are a few nice melodies but all content is interesting to say the least. Some of the usual suspects are here (Donovan, Incredible String band, Tyrannosaurus Rex) but I hadn't heard of most of the artists.. until now.

Great audio quality throughout even though the song list spans about 40s years. Liner notes... well here we have a problem. The overview is hard enough to focus on as it is, but the notes on individual tracks are impossible to read without a magnifying glass. Still, as a spacey chill, you can't go past this. Get "Strange Country" as well and play them back to back. Yeah, I think this may be a keeper..
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on 4 February 2015
Good selection. I enjoy this more than I expected!
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on 20 March 2015
A strange collection but I love it
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on 3 July 2015
great thanks
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on 1 January 2016
So so.
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on 23 November 2012
The best on the strange folk field; recommended for all who like this kind of music. Buy also the book!
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