Folk Rocks

Contrasting with the rockier work he’s perhaps better known for, Keith had an enduring affection for a number of seminal folk acts, some of them in fact quite rock-ish. Like many of Keith’s musical interests, the origins of this lay in the late ‘sixties musical scene where groups like the Fairport Convention, Incredible String Band and Pentangle melded traditional British folk traditions with emerging hippie sensibilities and the counter-culture.

Keith was of course involved in the underground press and it was inevitable that he would find himself photographing these early pioneers, and as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span subsequently appeared and osmosed into what became known as folk-rock acts, so too did Keith’s enthusiasm for the genre.

Keith also photographed one of Folk Rock’s key pioneers: Sandy Denny. Having brought traditional music to Fairport Convention, she moved the band away from the west-coast American covers they were then performing, and into the recording of traditional and original material with which they made their name. Her soaring, crystalline voice came to characterise their best known albums, ‘Liege and Lief’ and ‘Unhalfbricking’ and her composition, ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes?’ became a classic of the genre. Having left Fairport to form her own band, Fotheringay, Denny later went solo and recorded a series of albums under her own name. It was during this period that Keith took some especially wistful portraits of Sandy on the banks of the Thames near her flat in Fulham. He later photographed her in 1977 for what turned out to be her final album when her career was cut tragically short at the age of 31 when she died of a brain haemorrhage after falling down the stairs of a rented Cornish cottage.

Keith also developed a long-standing relationship with Steeleye Span and, in particular, lead singer Maddy Prior, which began in 1970 and lasted well into the late ‘nineties during their ‘comeback’ era. He also worked with Maddy when she joined up with folk singer June Tabor as one half of the Silly Sisters.

As well as solo sessions with several members of all the aforementioned bands, other notable folk and folk-rock artists Keith photographed included John and Beverley Martyn, Ian Matthews and Ireland’s traditional folk supergroup, the Chieftains.

All images are available for sale as high-quality hand printed editions.