SILVER BIRCH – Silver Birch (LP, RE Granadilla Music 1974,2014)

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Silver Birch put out a rare limited-edition self-titled album of quite respectable British folk in 1974, influenced by the likes of Fairport Convention, the Strawbs, and the Young Tradition, but wholly in the acoustic folk (as opposed to folk-rock) style. The six members all sang and played a wide array of instruments, including acoustic guitar, fiddle, harmonium, bells, recorder, and autoharp. The sharing of lead vocal duties by several different singers, as well as the use of male-female harmonies by various combinations of the members (four of them male and two female), also gave the record a more varied sound than many such folk albums of the era. The group was formed by four schoolteachers in 1972, and had a rearranged six-person lineup by the time Silver Birch recorded the LP in 1974. With further lineup changes, their sound changed in the ensuing years, first to accent the original material of new member Len Morter, and then (in the early ’80s) to emphasize céilidh band work. Though they didn’t release more records, the band continued to be active into the 21st century.

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