I am a slow book reader these days (blame the computer), but I have finally read Rob Young´s 600 pages of "Electric Eden. Unearthing Britain´s visionary music" (Faber & Faber 2010).
Here most of you will get to know everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about the folk music of Britain, from the early 1900 and to this day.
The book starts with a fine chapter on the 60s with Vashti Bunyan and Incredible String Band, before we jump back to the old song collectors and composers (you know, Cecil Sharp and Vaughn Williams, and those people), and then come the stories on the revolutionaries (Ewan McColl and comrades), tradition against electricity, the hippies, the festivals and modern rock and pop with traces of folk (Van Morrison, David Sylvian, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Kate Bush).
Young covers several of this blog´s favorites (of course!) like Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, John Martyn, Waterson-Carthy, Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, Pentangle and Richard and Linda Thompson.
If you are quite new to this area, my guess is that parts of the book will be a bit too detailed, but what the hell, you may read those parts in some years. The book has good notes, bibliography, index and a musical/discographic timeline. You know the angle is not narrow, when you find Aphex Twin and The Orb in the discography.
I have fetched (almost) forgotten vinyl in my basement, borrowed albums at the library and made a list of artists to check out. This must be an inspiring book then. Good job.
More over at electriceden.net.