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modern folk & singer-songwriter

The closest equivalent in Britain to American folk pioneers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger is Ewan MacColl, widely regarded as the father of the modern British folk movement. It was MacColl who wrote the old favourite "Dirty Old Town" in 1946 about his native Salford, and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for his wife Peggy Seeger in 1963, nine years before Roberta Flack had a hit with it. But it wasn't until the coming of Bob Dylan that the British folk movement really began to find a voice within the mainstream.
The earliest manifestations of this include the romantic idealism of Scottish singer Donovan and the more traditional output of Ralph McTell. A little later came John Martyn, who wrote "Solid Air" for Nick Drake, an artist elevated to cult status in recent years following his unfortunate death in 1974.
As the modern movement has grown and diversified the true folkie has become rarer and rarer, replaced by more introspective singer-songwriters, some of whom have embraced folk-rock and the pop production techniques which have become more prevalent within the industry. Traditions of political protest and social commentry inherent in folk have remained alive, however, in the hands of artists such as Roy Harper, Labi Siffre, Richard Thompson and Billy Bragg, and the singer-songwriter tradition continues to throw up talents such as P.J. Harvey, David Gray, Damon Gough, a.k.a. Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Hawley.

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Prominent songwriters

Ewan MacColl
Donovan
Ralph McTell
John Martyn
Nick Drake
Roy Harper
Al Stewart
Cat Stevens
Davey Graham
Robert Wyatt
Labi Siffre
Gilbert O' Sullivan
Joan Armatrading
Richard Thompson
Joe Jackson
Graham Parker
Kate Bush
Elvis Costello
Kirsty MacColl
Billy Bragg
P.J. Harvey
David Gray
Badly Drawn Boy
Teddy Thompson
Richard Hawley

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