Starting out in Blues and Jazz, as a tour manager for the likes of Muddy Waters and Stan Getz, Joe Boyd, was there, and indeed helped, when Dylan went electric in Newport in 1965. Relocating to London he set up UFO, the club / happening that launched the careers of Pink Floyd and Soft Machine, but Boyd is probably best known as a key producer, linked to artists signed to Chris Blackwell`s Island, in the late `60s British Folk revival and Folk Rock movement. In the `80s he traveled towards “World” music, which is just the English speaking media`s name for non-English speaking Folk, and set up his own Hannibal Records.
For me Folk used to conjure up images of bearded (beards were once unfashionable) middle-aged men with thick unruly naturally waved hair in equally thick and natural, chunky Aran cable knit sweaters, warbling away at tales of maidens wronged, a finger in one ear. Wheel-tapping and shunting. Something to be rebelled against and ridiculed. But now, when you can`t remember your Mum`s phone number, and any fact or schooling at all can be recalled only with resort to Google or Wikipedia, Folk`s core / heart of the passing down of stories within a real physical community through the singing and teaching of song seems pretty fucking radical.
I have tried to include a little of everything touched by the hand of Joe, but this is a very personal selection. There is still some Folk I can`t do. It really depends on the voice. The Incredible String Band are conspicuous here by their absence, sorry, but Joe Boyd`s work is largely populated by sad and often fated angels.