Lincoln Festival 1971
I went to a folk festival in Lincoln in 1971. This had a great bill opened by Ralph McTell, who played superb ragtime guitar and had the whole crowd joining in his recently written Streets of London. He was followed by an acoustic Dion with Abraham, Martin and John, Ruby baby etc. I was very anxious to see Tim Hardin, whose songs I first heard through Bobby Darin and Scott Walker. He sang his well-known Lady came from Baltimore, Black sheep boy, and Reason to believe in a style which was too jazzy at times and failed to project to the audience as it should have. Steeleye Span were entertaining. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were a thrill to see after all those years of listening to their records. Their set was pretty well the one they recorded at The Troubadour with Lightnin' Hopkins, which I had bought on the Saga label, and included the wonderful Just rode in your town. Sandy Denny was billed to appear with Fotheringay but they'd since disbanded. Instead, she sang powerfully with Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg and Gerry Conway who, I'm told, called themselves The Happy Blunderers - I thought I recalled her saying they were The Bunch. Tom Paxton was so predictably superb, that we thought we'd leave, so good had been the feast. Still to come were The Byrds, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick and James Taylor. However, as we were making our preparations and farewells, The Byrds came on stage. They had been billed to play an acoustic set, but they stormed on with the electric Rock and roll star and played a classic set which included a cymbal knocking over version of Jesus is just all right and an acoustic second half which included Chestnut Mare. They were magnificent. I hadn't been a fan previously, but now I was converted. When they finished, that really was it for us. It couldn't get any better. By this time the audience at the back were chucking cans about and setting fire to the rudimentary toilets which straddled a long ditch.
John Scott Cree