Retrospace Radio #32: Music for the Maypole

I'll be the first to admit this music isn't for everyone.  So, if you try it and don't like it, no offense taken.  But I will recommend you enter with the right frame of mind.  This ain't Barry Manilow - these are songs that hearken back to Britain's rustic past. But don't think of Irish jigs and the Chieftains.

Let's just say the hippie movement brought about a sort of pastoral appreciation.  Even the Kinks longed for the simple life of ages past.  Pink Floyd sang about Hobbits, The Incredible String band sang about a witch's hat, and a bunch of bands recorded a song about a werefox (Reynardine). If this doesn't clue you in to what kind of music I'm talking about, maybe this podcast will clear it up.

Perhaps if the Beatles had latched onto the trend it would have gained more traction.  The Fab Four were perhaps too entrenched in the smokestacks of Liverpool and Hamburg to really jump on the rustic bandwagon.  Plus, their attempt to escape the urban world via the Maharishi had ended in spectacular failure.

Whatever the case, it was a very interesting moment in pop music history.  And it is interesting to see the various angles it took.  For instance, Kaleidoscope came with a psychedelic twist and Zeppelin brought a hard rock vibe.  Some of this is not easy to swallow, even critics of the day couldn't tolerate Bert Jansch's voice "akin to dirty water finding its way down a partially clogged drain."  Different strokes for different folks.





Come All Ye - Fairport Convention
Home - Bert Jansch
Maypole - The Wicker Man OST
Battle of Evermore - Led Zeppelin
Black Leg Miner - Steeleye Span
Willow's Slong - The Wicker Man OST
Songs from the Wood - Jethro Tull
Black Fjord - Kaleidoscope


  1. The original Wicker Man movie captures a lot of the undertones of witchdom.

    I'd have picked Fairport Convention's "Tam Lin".

    Also, Strawbs "From the Witchwood"

    1. You are so right. Tam Lin would've been perfect.

  2. How did The Beatles thing end in failure? Wasn't the product of that period albums like Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt Pepper? Those are far from failures. Perhaps you're talking about something else.

    1. I didn't mean failure in terms of their music; the Maharishi was revealed a sham and left them rather bitter about the whole affair (see "Sexy Sadie").