10 beautiful, beguiling and bold folk albums from 1969

1969 was an amazing year for music, particularly for the album format.
Ralph McTell
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As opposed to the early 1960s, albums had become much more important. The industry was no longer driven by the sales of singles. This helped to allow different genres to grow and bloom.

Due to this influx, in the final year of the 1960s, artists delivered an impressive number of classic albums – making 1969 one of the best years in music history.

While the U.S. folk rock boom – brought about by The Byrds, among many others – was not quite what it once was, the U.K. folk scene was still buzzing with top-flight talent, and, as such, seven of the top 10 folk albums of 1969 all hail from across the pond.

Folk music had a banner year in 1969, with a few notable releases moving the genre forward considerably

Though 1969 had many albums in myriad genres that have stood the test of time, these 10 folk albums celebrating their 55th anniversary in 2024 are surely among the best from that year. Read on to explore the 10 best folk albums from the final year of the 1960s.   

10. Happy Sad – Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley, father of notable 1990s alt-rock hero Jeff Buckley produced this pensive and ruminative folk album in 1969, which is dominated by the gentle tones of a vibraphone and features unusual jazzy chord shapes and idiosyncratic melodies and song structures.

"Dream Letter," which is a heart-rending highlight, serves as an ode to Buckley’s ex-wife and son Jeff and contains gut-wrenching lyrics related to desperately missing his son: “Oh, is he a soldier or is he a dreamer? Is he Mama's little man? Does he help you when he can? Or does he ask about me?”