Wednesday, August 17, 2022

VA - Transatlantic Folk Box Set [2004] (3 x CD's)



VA - Transatlantic Folk Box Set [2004] (3 x CD's)

What started as a hand-to-mouth labour of love for Transatlantic boss Nat Joseph soon turned into a highly successful cottage industry. At its peak, Nat's label was Britain's top folk label, with a roster that stretched from Stefan Grossman to Billy Connolly, and Bert Jansch to Ralph McTell. This 3-CD tribute is a perfect introduction to the riches of the Transatlantic catalogue.

The success of the independent label Transatlantic is a direct result of the vision of its founder Nat Joseph, who began the label in the early Sixties. And while the label would dabble in R&B, jazz and even comedy and poetry, it was principally the home of the British folk revival.  The label's first major signing was the Ian Campbell Folk Group in 1963, followed by The Dubliners. In 1965, the singer/songwriter/guitarist Bert Jansch became the label's franchise artist. Jansch's signing led to the arrival of John Renbourn and then, of course, Pentangle. These artists alone make the Transatlantic story one that must be heard. These are the artists that are the British equivalent of such American artists as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan.  American listeners may recognize a few of the other performers such as the celtic bands Silly Wizard and Contraband, or fiddler Dave Swarbrick or guitarists Stefan Grossman and Ralph McTell (the latter represented by the achingly beautiful original 1968 recording of "Streets of London"). There are also artists like the Humblebums (which included Gerry Rafferty) and The Sallyangie (a sister-brother act which included Sally and her 15-year-old brother Mike "Tubular Bells" Oldfield).  Overall, this is an enjoyable look at the British folk revival scene from the early sixties through 1978. If you are looking to expand your view of British folk beyond Pentangle (or even Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span), this is a rewarding listening experience. (Amazon)

The real hidden gems in the compilation are those songs that shake free from the imposing straightjacket of folk form, most of which (by nothing more than sheer coincidence) fall on the second disc.  Mr. Fox and Pentagle (the latter something of an underground supergroup formed by Jansch and Renbourn) contribute the whimsical, psych-flavored folk-rock of “Join Us in Our Game” and “Light Flight (Take Three Girls Theme)”, respectively.  The Johnstons’ cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” is one part Byrds and one part Carpenters, with flowers in its hair and symphonic pretentiousness in its pocket.  Unicorn’s “I Loved Her So Long” and Gerry Rafferty’s “Don’t Count Me Out”, both from 1971, are firmly entrenched in the lite rock sound of Crosby, Stills and Nash.  Alan Hull’s rocker “We Can Swing Together”, perhaps the collection’s most aggressively infectious track, has very little to do, on the surface, with folk music (though its narrative certainly does); it’s a rickety little rocker with a lurching rhythm and sing-a-long chorus.  Transatlantic’s folk music will forever find itself a place in history books, but these more unexpected jaunts into progressive territory is where our interest, as listeners eager for the unique, truly lies.  The Transatlantic Folk Box Set doesn’t stray enough from that proverbial beaten path to make it a consistently rewarding collection of more than fascinating cultural artifacts.


Pt.1    Pt.2 


Track lists


01 Dubliners The Patriot Game 4:17

02 Owen Hand The Gardener 4:18

03 Jean Hart She Moved Through The Fair 2:18

04 Black Country Three Three Ravens 2:52

05 Ian Campbell Group Rockin' The Cradle 2:38

06 Sydney Carter & Sheila Hancock Coming Down From Aldermaston 2:02

07 Alex Campbell Night Visiting Song 3:30

08 Isla Cameron Died For Love 1:56

09 Josh Mcrae Balad Of Lee Harvey Oswald 3:41

10 David Campbell Her Hair Did Not Hang Low 3:23

11 Dave & Toni Arthur John Peel 2:28

12 Bob & Carol Pegg Ballad Of The Five Continents 3:41

13 Spike Woods The Big Bird 3:12

14 Bert Jansch Running From Home 2:24

15 John Renbourn White House Blues 3:32

16 Gordon Giltrap Lucifer's Cage 3:42

17 Stefan Grossman Little Sally Walker 2:58

18 Finbar & Eddie Furey The Lonesome Boatman 3:18

19 Young Tradition John Barleycorn 2:29

20 Matt Mcginn Eternity Will Soon Be Over 2:35

21 Hamish Imlach Goodby Booze 3:09

22 Archie Fisher Open The Door Softly 2:04

23 Marc Brierley Dragonfly 2:19

24 Harvey Andrews A Most Peculiar Man 2:11

25 Bob Bunting You Gotta Go Down This Way 2:50

26 Ralph McTell Streets Of London 4:06


01 Mr. Fox Join Us In Our Game 2:56

02 Pentangle Light Flight 3:16

03 Johnstons Both Sides Now 3:13

04 Gerry Rafferty & The Humblebums Rick Rack 2:53

05 Sweeney's Men Hail Of Mirrors 3:05

06 Mccalmans Standing In The Rain 2:32

07 Unicorn I Loved Her So Long 2:46

08 Storyteller Morning Glory 3:25

09 Richard Digance Working Class Millionaire 2:42

10 Dave Cartwright Song For Susan 2:35

11 Contraband Rattlin' Roarin' Willie 2:16

12 Alan Hull We Can Swing Together 3:30

13 Steve Tilston One Mand Band 1 3:21

14 Billy Connolly& The Humblebums Saturday Round About Sunday 2:37

15 Dave Swarbrick It Suits Me Well 5:08

16 Mike & Lal Waterson Rubber Band 3:00

17 Gryphon The Ploghboy's Dream 3:07

18 Gerry Rafferty Don't Count Me Out 8 3:49

19 Mae Mckenna Old Man 4:06

20 Sallyangie Love In Ice Crystals 3:07

21 Dransfields Up To Now 4:22

22 Harvey Andrews & Graham Cooper Targets 3:42

23 Decameron Journey's End 4:40


01 Carolanne Pegg Open The Door 4:27

02 Pentangle Let No Man Steal Your Thyme 2:48

03 John James & John Renbourn Stranger To The World 5:08

04 Ian Campbell Group The Circle Game 3:58

05 Dave Sless Pretty Polly 4:17

06 Johnstons Marcie 4:13

07 Bert Jansch Angi 3:14

08 Young Tradition Chicken On A Raft 3:33

09 Lea Nicholson God Bless The Unemployed 3:38

10 Watt Nicholl Kiss The Children 2:29

11 Dubliners The Wild Rover 3:12

12 Grehan Sisters Henry Joy 2:41

13 Silly Wizard My Love's In Germany 6:52

14 Bob Pegg & Nick Strutt Starchild 4:22

15 John James Morning Brings The Light 4:32

16 Sweeney's Men Dreams For Me 4:33

17 Royston & Heather Wood The Cutty Wren 3:26

18 Ralph Mctell England 1914 3:09

19 Leon Rosselson The Rules Of The Game 3:09

20 Mccalmans A Man's A Man 3:02

21 Andrew Cronshaw Time To Go Home 0:32




  1. Thanks for this one BB. I have the Transatlantic sets - 'Let The Electric Children Play' (3CD), 'The Transatlantic Story' (4CD), 'Transatlantic Ticket' (1CD) but didn't realise this one existed, thank you. Always associate Transatlantic with Pentangle, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. Cheers

    1. You're welcome, LeKermitage,
      This is another really good set. Enjoy.