We Are The Children Of The Sun.

Label: BBE Music.

Format: CD.

Recently, BBE  released the compilation We Are The Children Of The Sun, which was compiled by DJ and renowned crate digger Paul Hillery, who is one of leading lights of folk-funk scene. This new compilation offers a tantalising taste of a genre that many music lovers will be unfamiliar with. That’s a great shame as there’s a veritable feast of hidden gems awaiting discovery.

Just like origins of many genres, much debate sounds when the term folk-funk was coined. Musical historians continue to debate this, but it may be as long ago as 1967.

That’s when an article written by Chuck Boller for The Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, in Rochester, New York, and he used the term folk-funk. He was writing about The Kingston Trio who were at the heart of the late-fifties folk revival that began in American colleges. After that, folk music began to evolve, and a new sound became prevalent. This the writer referred to as “folk-funk.” However, he didn’t define this new genre.

By then, a number of artists had already made their mark on what would later be called folk-funk. This included Chicago-born Terry Callier and David Crosby who were part of the folk scene and headed to New York where they became familiar faces on the Greenwich Village folk scene. Later, they would be hailed as influences on the folk-funk genre.

So would Bob Dylan, and especially when he plugged in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. This landmark performance and the electric folk sound was a gamechanger and influenced everyone from The Byrds right through to CSNY.

Soon, other artists were playing their part in shaping the folk-funk sound. This included The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron and LeRoi Jones who who combined elements of jazz, proto-rap, poetry and social comment. 

Other influences included sixties sunshine pop whose origins can be traced to California. The music was influenced by the past and its lysergic sound was shaped by the counter culture. However, towards the end of the sixties optimism gave way to pessimism as the music took on a darker sound.

Partly, this was because of the looming threat of nuclear war as the Cold War began. It was no surprise that other influences began to influence what later became known as folk-funk.

This included a variety of genres including early seventies Christian music which soon evolved into Xian in an attempt to interest a younger audience. Soon, a variety of genres that included elements of folk were being released and later, would become part of folk-funk scene.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in Britain the folk scene had changed as groups like Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Sunshine Superman Donovan were transforming folk music. To do this, they plugged in and added a lysergic sound to their music. One artist pioneered this sound.

This was John Martyn who released his debut album London Conversation, in October 1967. His music began to evolve and on his 1971 album Bless The Weather he used an Echoplex tape delay on Glistening Glyndebourne. The followup Solid Air, was released in 1973 and was genre-melting classic that showcases the future folk-funk sound. So did his other classic album, 1977s One World. Especially the groundbreaking and timeless title-track which showcases a lysergic, dreamy sound by an artist who pioneered the folk-funk sound.  

In 1973, the same year that John Martyn released Solid Air, the San Francisco Examiner used the term folk-funk to describe concerts taking place in the city. 

Then a year later, in 1974, the duo Brewer and Shipley were being described as folk-funk by music critic Pete Bishop in The Pittsburgh Press. Suddenly, the term was being more widely used.

By then, Jon Lucien and Terry Callier had combined soul and folk and had helped to shape the new genre which grew in popularity in the late-eighties. 

That was when sample hungry crate diggers and DJs started to search for folk-funk hidden gems. They were played in clubs and the funkier cuts were sampled by producers for their drum breaks. Suddenly, these tracks were taking on a new lease of life.

With folk-funk’s popularity continuing to grow, it was no surprise that during the nineties and noughties that record labels started to release compilations of what was being referred to as a new genre. 

Meanwhile, there was a resurgence of interest in many artists that had influenced the folk-funk genre. This included Terry Callier, Jon Lucien and Susan Christie. 

Since then, folk-funk is still a popular genre with compiler, crate digger and DJ Paul Hillery one of the leading lights of the UK scene. He showcases his impeccable taste on We Are The Children Of The Sun. 

He’s hand picked eighteen eclectic tracks on We Are The Children Of The Sun. This includes a mixture of folk-funk, blissed out Balearic beats and soft fuzzy electronica.  

Opening this lovingly curated collection is Make Believe by Jim LaMarche with Theresa Moylan and Music Industry Art. This track features just flute and synths and an impassioned vocal full of sincerity on a track that fuses folk-funk and electronica.

Man Of Misery is a track from Mike Baumann and Tom Huntington’s 1981 album Get A Grip. It’s a quite beautiful song combines elements of sunshine pop and ambient music. Playing a starring role in this multilayered track is a ruminative vocal that’s tinged with sadness and emotion.

By 1983, Pixie Lauer entered the studio she was already a familiar face on the Maine and New England folk scene. The resulting album was the private press Pixie Lauer and Friends which was released later that year. It featured Sunday Morning a quite beautiful  example of laid-back femme-folk that’s a real hidden gem. 

Marla Fant was living in Florida when she recorded and released her debut album At Last in 1980. It features Land Of Wonder which was written by her brother Duane during a rainy afternoon. This song features a heartachingly beautiful vocal from a truly talented singer, while her brother and sister add backing vocals to a track with a Balearic vibe. It’s a welcome addition to We Are The Children Of The Sun, and is one of its highlights. 

Mistérios was the title-track to Brazilian singer Diana Pequeno’s 1989 album. It was released on her own Acquarius label. The song has a dreamy, lysergic sound as elements of jazz-folk, pop and sixties Brazilian music melt seamlessly into one resulting in a truly memorable track. 

Scott McGregor Moore’s So Good When It Comes originally featured on Share Chez a second compilation released by a Canadian radio station to showcase Canadian talent in 1981. The multi-instrumentalist is responsible for a radio friendly track that fuses electronica and synth pop with a Balearic sound. 

In West Germany in 1986, a compilation entitled Rock Aus Aachen, Wa, was released by Radio-Aktiv. One of the highlights was I Send You All My Love by Checkpoint which features a sweet, soulful and heartfelt vocal from Susy Wetter. 

When White Feather released Summer Days/Golden Haze on No No Records in 1983 it was a genre-melting track. Elements of folk and psychedelia combine to create a blissed out track. 

Monica Rypma released her one and only album Classifieds in 1985. This private press featured Let Love Flow where electronica, pop and soul on this hook-laden Balearic groove hidden gem.

Guy Maxwell’s You Never Sang This Song closes We Are The Children Of The Sun. It’s taken from his 1980 album Outside My Window and finds jazz, blues and rock being combined by this talented guitarist, songwriter and troubadour.

For newcomers to the folk-funk, We Are The Children Of The Sun is the perfect introduction to the genre. DJ and crate digger Paul Hillery’s taste is impeccable and features an array of hidden gems that showcase everything that’s good about folk-funk. Some are from genre-melting track and others are from private presses released in the seventies and eighties. They all have one thing in common, quality. There’s contributions from trippy troubadours and femme-folk singers. Along with the other artists on We Are The Children Of The Sun they’re responsible for a collection of folk-funk, blissed out Balearic beats and soft fuzzy electronica that’s the perfect post club soundtrack and also for early mornings on the beach spent watching the sun rise.

We Are The Children Of The Sun.

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