Various Strange Folk

In light of psych-folk’s fashionable nature these days, it’s not surprising to find a compilation coming out in its wake that brings together obscurities from the sub-genre’s olden day period of the late ’60s and early ’70s with some of the best of the new breed. As a brief overview or introduction to this stuff, Strange Folk does its job, but for the most part it’s not exactly a spellbinding compilation. It is, however, a strange one. Beginning for some reason or another with tracks by Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man and the Lilac Time, Strange Folk gets off on an awkward first step that never really goes away. Its track selection seems geared by accessibility, so one has to wonder who’s putting this together. Of the new breed, Strange Folk offers up previously released (and rather lacklustre) songs selections from Espers, Tunng, Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, and the old stuff ranges between the obvious (Incredible String Band, Pentangle, Tyrannosaurus Rex) to the obscure and not particularly memorable (Forest, Barry Dransfield). In fact, the only real reason you might want to buy this compilation is to get your hands on "Maypole” by the original Magnet, an obscure gem from The Wicker Man soundtrack. Most of this collection does little more than plod. (Nacional)