Wednesday, May 26, 2021

VA - Sumer Is Icumen In The Pagan Sound Of British And Irish Folk [2020] (3 x CD's)


VA - Sumer Is Icumen In The Pagan Sound Of British And Irish Folk [2020] (3 x CD's)

Released in 2015, Grapefruit's 3 x CD multi-artist British underground folk compilation Dust On The Nettles was widely praised, with a five-star review in The Times hailing it as "a delight from beginning to end". A long-overdue follow up to that set, Sumer Is Icumen In tightens the mesh by focusing on the point when traditional folksong and the burgeoning late Sixties counterculture collided, largely courtesy of seminal acts like the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention and Pentangle. As Steeleye Span's Martin Carthy commented at the time, the scene had a strong pagan feel, dark and elemental, and progressive folk bands like Dr. Strangely Strange, Comus and Third Ear Band (who performed with the druids in dawn solstice ceremonies at Glastonbury Tor) were active at the same time as folklorists like Mr. Fox pair Bob & Carole Pegg and fellow husband-and-wife team Dave & Toni Arthur, whose commitment to the cause saw them dancing naked at a coven led by 'King of the Witches', the notorious Alex Sanders. Showcasing all of the above names as well as a supporting cast that ranges from Mike Oldfield and Marc Bolan to unsigned bands who recorded demos in a barn, Sumer Is Icumen In features four hours of Albion hymns ancient and modern, including three previously unreleased cuts. "Housed in a stylish clamshell box, it includes a 40-page booklet with track-by-track annotation, numerous band quotes and some very rare photos. The result is a secret glade in a darkly pagan woodland that's peppered with invocations of corn gods, wicker men, bright Phoebus and other non-Christian deities; magickal tales of daemons, sorcerers, false knights and faerie queens; the medieval England myths, legends and traditions of the May Queen, John Barleycorn and the Green Man; paeans to the natural world and the rhythm of the passing seasons; fables of sanctuary stones, scarecrows and buried villages alongside dread stories of purgatory, sacrifice, rape, bestiality and murder.

Excellent collection of UK folk-rock tracks from the late Sixties and early Seventies. These songs emphasis the pagan cultural roots and WICKER MAN-esque folk-horror aspects of the British Isles; many are traditional tunes dating back to the Middle Ages or even earlier, rendered in modern rock arrangements. The artists range from famed acts to obscure combos that never ventured far beyond the college towns or villages where they played. A must-own for anyone interested in the rich music and cultural heritage of the UK and Ireland. (Amazon)






Track lists


01 Third Ear Band Lark Rise 2:50

02 Magnet Corn Rigs 2:38

03 Traffic John Barleycorn 6:23

04 Midwinter Sanctuary Stone 4:09

05 Vulcans Hammer The Keys Of Canterbury 5:45

06 Celebrated Ratliffe Stout Band The Wood-Gathering Man 2:29

07 Steeleye Span Twa Corbies 2:08

08 Folkal Point Lovely John 2:28

09 Strawbs Canon Dale (Alternative Version) 3:41

10 Kevin Coyne White Horse 4:14

11 Meic Stevens Yorric 8:48

12 Young Tradition Lyke Wake Dirge 2:47

13 Amber Swan In The Evening 4:38

14 Synanthesia Minerva 4:15

15 Minor Birds The Parting Glass 3:49

16 Parameter Virgin Childe 2:52

17 Carolanne Pegg The Sapphire 3:59

18 Dry Heart Cabin On The Clifftop 3:49

19 Mighty Baby Winter Passes 3:11

20 Mike Oldfield On Horseback 3:23


01 Fairport Convention Tam Lin 7:14

02 Gallery Let No Man Steal Your Thyme 2:32

03 Tim Hart And Maddy Prior False Knight On The Road 3:01

04 Lal Waterson The Scarecrow (Demo Version) 3:49

05 Chimera Silver Man 2:54

06 Shirley Collins And The Albion Country Band The White Hare 2:45

07 Horden Raikes Mad Tom Of Bedlam 3:50

08 Sallyangie The Song Of The Healer 3:05

09 Bridget St John Lizard Long Tonque Boy (Alternative Version) 3:10

10 DR Strangely Strange Strings In The Earth And Air 1:53

11 Jan Dukes De Grey Sorcerers 2:43

12 Dave And Toni Arthur Green Grass 1:53

13 Simon Finn Wheres Your Master Gone 3:15

14 Oberon Nottamun Town 4:44

15 Fresh Maggots The House Carpenter 2:40

16 JP Sunshine Hand In Hand 1:52

17 Comus The Bite 5:29

18 Sun Also Rises Death 6:38

19 Tea And Symphony Winter 3:23

20 Principal Edwards Magic Theatre Autumn Lady Dancing Song 6:50

21 Anne Briggs Summers In 5:14


01 Stone Angel The Bells Of Dunwich 5:57

02 Pentangle Cruel Sister 7:04

03 Incredible String Band Witches Hat 2:34

04 Archie Fisher Reynerdine 2:41

05 Mellow Candle The Poet And The Witch 2:53

06 Curved Air Elfin Boy 4:16

07 Sweeneys Men Pretty Polly 4:44

08 Parke Three Ravens 3:19

09 Green Man Salisbury Plain 3:52

10 Spriguns Of Tolgus Flodden Field 6:42

11 MacDonald Folk Group Geordie 3:13

12 Michael Raven And Joan Mills The Queen Of The Night 2:26

13 George Deacon And Marion Ross Holsworthy Peters Fair 4:38

14 Staverton Bridge Captain Wedderburns Courtship 2:50

15 Shirley Kent Butterfly On The Shore 4:01

16 Marc Bolan Eastern Spell 1:27

17 Heather Adrian And John The Lark In The Morning 2:44

18 Coterie Scarborough Fair 3:50

19 Mr Fox Mendle 7:21

20 Choir Sumer Is A-Cumin In 1:33




  1. Replies
    1. Hi Unknown,
      Some magic on this set. Enjoy!


  2. Thank you, another wonderful compilation, almost as good as "Dust...." which in my opinion is the gold standard for compilaations in this genre, this one runs it a close second.

    1. Hi Nimrod,
      Glad you are finding this set a good one.
      Dust In The Nettles is a great set and I agree it is of a very high standard.


  3. Hi BB,
    I'm enjoying this comp! Thanks for another wonderful collection, some treasures in it!!!

    1. Hi Il Commendatore
      There is a lot to enjoy throughout this set with many treasures.


  4. Thanks Butterboy, looks like another winner

    1. Hi Masters 6672,
      You are welcome.
      It is a great set to take in.


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hi, looks like the links have been removed. Please can you reupload as I'd love to listen to this collection.

    1. Hi Jasper,
      New link established tested and working.


  7. Thanks Butterboy. You are a legend.

  8. Thanks so much, Butterboy! ( ´ ▽ ` )οΎ‰