Anthems In Eden — The Journey of Folk into Rock

There are a cou­ple of books that trace the devel­op­ment of British folk music from the tra­di­tion­al to the folk-rock era.

The clas­sic is The Elec­tric Muse: The Sto­ry of Folk into Rock by Dave Laing, Karl Dal­las, Robin Denselow and Robert Shel­ton, pub­lished in 1975, writ­ten, inter­est­ing­ly, while it was still hap­pen­ing. Accom­pa­ny­ing the book’s pub­li­ca­tion was a mul­ti-album com­pi­la­tion that did an excel­lent job of pro­vid­ing musi­cal exam­ples to illus­trate the sto­ry. The album ver­sion had sev­er­al incar­na­tions, final­ly end­ing up in the form of no less than two triple-CD sets titled The New Elec­tric Muse I & II, issued by Cas­tle Music in the mid-1990s and now out of print.

More recent is Rob Young’s excel­lent book Elec­tric Eden (2010), which runs from the Vic­to­ri­an era to more or less the present, although the focus is once again on the peri­od between the mid 1960s, when elec­tric folk music start­ed to become pop­u­lar, and the mid 70s when punk threw the baby whole­sale out with the bath­wa­ter. That also spawned a com­pi­la­tion album with the same title.

The name Anthems In Eden was giv­en to a sem­i­nal work by Shirley and Dol­ly Collins. Released in 1969, it con­sists of a sin­gle song cycle cen­ter­ing around the First World War and fea­tures the musi­cians of the Ear­ly Music Con­sort with the late David Munrow. It is now avail­able on CD (if you look hard) paired with the 1976 album Ama­ranth. It’s also the title of anoth­er mul­ti-album folk his­to­ry com­pi­la­tion, also from Cas­tle Music, and here is where the title of today’s pro­gramme orig­i­nates.

Togeth­er, these com­pi­la­tions trace a fas­ci­nat­ing musi­cal his­to­ry, and we’ll hear tracks from all of them today, along­side some of the orig­i­nal albums from which tracks were tak­en for the com­pi­la­tions, and many more. Let us take you back to the times when unac­com­pa­nied folk music gained first acoustic instru­ments and ulti­mate­ly elec­tric ones, as we trace the jour­ney of folk into rock in the UK.

Elrik Mer­lin notes: Today’s pro­gramme is ded­i­cat­ed to the mem­o­ry of Eng­lish record pro­duc­er, song­writer, poet and graph­ic artist Austin John Mar­shall (30 March 1937 – 3 Novem­ber 2013) , most notable for his work in devel­op­ing folk music in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. Writer Karl Dal­las described him as “one of the great unsung pio­neers of con­tem­po­rary British folk song”. He was the pro­duc­er of the Shirley & Dol­ly Collins album Anthems In Eden.

ZBS Radio Hour

Join us at 11am or 7pm Pacif­ic (19:00 or 03:00 GMT) for the fourth hour-long instal­ment of our clas­sic radio adven­ture ser­i­al from ZBS — Moon Over Moroc­co.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world now at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

Once again you can try out our exper­i­men­tal 72 kb/s HE-AAC audio stream, which offers enhanced audio qual­i­ty. We’re still work­ing on get­ting meta­da­ta track infor­ma­tion on to the stream, but we think sounds great. Tune in to and let us know what you think.

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