It seems you're using an old browser. In order to view this site correctly, we advise you to upgrade your browser, or try the free Mozilla Firefox.

Print Email


Freak so unique

What are the great freak folk records of yore? Here are some to start:

More Folk Stories

Motor City Five (10/6/2010)
The five worst gigs ever of the Two Man Gentleman Band

For the sake of the song (9/22/2010)
Three decades in, singer-songwriter Jere Stormer can do what he wants

This year's man (5/6/2009)
But first he takes Manhattan ...

More from Metro Times music staff

Spun (10/6/2010)
Sufjan Stevens, Download of the Week, Fright from the Bins, Schoolyard Verse and more

Motor City Five (10/6/2010)
The five worst gigs ever of the Two Man Gentleman Band

Spun (9/29/2010)
No Age, Tracy Kash Thomas, downloads, horrible LP covers and more!


Published 10/5/2005

John Fahey – Yellow Princess (Vanguard, 1969), America (Takoma, 1971): The pioneering progressive folk guitarist has had an unquestioned influence on the contemporary freak folk scene, in particular the exploratory guitar work of Ben Chasny.

Vashti Bunyan – Just Another Diamond Day (Dicristina Star, 1970): She was a tree faerie Nico, or maybe the female Nick Drake. Bucolic British folk with a hushed, melancholic air; the confessions of a washerwoman

Donovan — Barabajagal (Epic, 1969): Lusty, organic ruminations on the fairer sex from the Scottish duke of psychedelic folk. Contains the classic “I Love My Shirt.”

Meat Puppets — II (SST, 1983): You know them as Kurt Cobain’s favorite band. The Puppets’ second album is a scraggly punk masterpiece infused with rootsy darkness and looming fatalism.

Bob Dylan — Blonde on Blonde (Columbia, 1966): Dylan’s absurdist lyrical journey through trashy rock ’n’ roll, brilliant balladry and incredibly cool song titles like “Absolutely Sweet Marie” and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.”

Pentangle — Basket of Light (Edsel, 1969): British combo whose dramatic, virtuosic folk-rock conjures images of Dr. Who and the Wickerman. While often beautiful, their music is also exceedingly creepy. You’ve been warned.

Buffy Saint-Marie — Illuminations (Vanguard, 1969): Speaking of creepy. Saint-Marie’s harrowing, many-tongued vocals and its tonal, occasionally synthesized, and always forward-looking arrangements mark Illuminations as a classic in experimental folk.

No Neck Blues Band — Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones But Names Will Never Hurt Me (Revenant, 2001): A contemporary classic issued through Fahey’s personal label. Twisting rhythms, random noises, and fractured jangles add up to a record that envelopes you in its grasp.

Sun City Girls — Torch of the Mystics (Majorca, 1990): A haunting and freaky lullaby wrapped in Middle Eastern mantras and clanging, fractured rock ’n’ roll. Gets in your head and stays there, murmuring.

Van Morrison — Astral Weeks (Warner Bros, 1968): Captivating, uplifting work from Van the Man. “Beside You” is what morning dew sounds like; Astral Weeks is some kind of organic masterwork.

Send comments to

blog comments powered by Disqus