Boomkat Product Review:
Very special comp from the NTS crew, scraping together some of the most interesting private press folk music made in the US and UK between 1968 and 1980. Obscure as hell, but utterly beautiful music - indispensable for anyone into Anne Briggs, Vashti Bunyan or Devendra Banhart.
Yep, yep - we realize the sheer number of private press re-issues is difficult to comprehend, let alone navigate, but this one's a keeper. "Down & Out" features a haul of music you probably haven't come across before, "loner folk" as NTS describe it. It's the kind of music that led directly to the weird folk sounds of Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom or Espers, but delightfully underproduced and lo-fi in a way you just can't not be charmed by.
The artists here were working in an artistic landscape far removed from our own, where private press really meant that - If you pressed a couple of hundred copies of a record, that was just about everyone that was ever gonna hear it. So plenty of the material featured here has existed in a time capsule since its release, and sounds as if it happened in parallel to more mainstream folk like Joni Mitchell, Donovan, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. It was even more obscure than Vashti Bunyan's output, who only received a boost in the 2000s after getting a cosign from the synching gurus.
These are touching, underproduced heartbreakers, often built around just vocals and acoustic guitar, with tracks like Brenda Wootton & John The Fish's 'Stars' and David Budin's flute-accompanied 'I'll Be Gone' as haunting as anything from Linda Perhacs or Karen Dalton. Great stuff.