BARN DANCE BANDS

in the mid 1970s Peter Eagling introduced me to Richard and Sonia Carver.
Richard was the musician and Sonia dance director of the recently founded dance team,
Woodfidley.

Playing percussion, including my 'new' bodhran, I joined with Pete who played the fiddle, Richard on the piano accordion and Glyn Evans, who played wind intruments such as recorders and crumhorns.
We became the regular musicians for Woodfidley and soon branched out as a ceili/barn dance band.

The Woodfidley band with David Slater as caller were very popular across Southern Hampshire in the late 1970s.

The Woodfidley Band 1970s
Glyn Evans, Pete Eagling, Richard Carver and Me
with the Rev David Slater calling the dances.
We were also involved with the music at the first and many of the subsequent highly succesful Winchester Folk Festivals. These drew on local talent, who performed free of charge, the monies raised going to children's charity Action Research. I left Woodfidley band in September 1977 after playing 78 bookings, sometimes going out 2 or 3 times a week!

In November 1977 I joined the Bursledon Village Band, formed from regulars at a session in the Jolly Sailor at Bursledon, hosted by melodeon maestro Dave Ingledew. We soon became a very popular dance band and in 1978 we toured the British Forces bases in Germany! It was great fun, I played the 'dirty' percussion with crazy sound effects ably assisted (?) by the Bursledon Village Band's Euphonium player and total nutcase Pete Theobold, whist the rest of the band tried to keep to the tune and keep the dancers in time.

I left the band after a year during which I'd played 48 bookings in places as diverse as the Mountbatten Theatre Southampton, the Attic Folk club in RAF Gütersloh and Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke!

Upper Clatford Folk Club used to meet on alternative Fridays at The Crook and Shears, Upper Clatford, Nr Andover, Hampshire. Run by Steve Roud it was a very popular local club during the mid to late 1970s. I went along to most evenings with fellow singers Albert and Ron. We all had our 'party piece'. I used to sing Jim the Carter Lad and the Blue Haired Boy. I sang it there so often that the club regulars knew it better than I did, shouting out the words if I made a mistake. If there were 'guests' they were drawn from the local scene. Regulars Ralph, Pauline and Colin joined with Steve and Me in The Adelaide Band, an occasional barn dance band.

The Adelaide Barn Dance Band 1984
The Adelaide Barn Dance Band 1984
Pauline, fiddle, Ralph, drums. Steve melodeon,
Me, melodeon and Colin, banjo.

In 1978 I was invited to be the guest at an evening at The Foc's'le Folk Club. I sang and played the mouth-organ but I also took along my old mate Bob Mills and his son Rob.
Bob was in his seventies then and retired, but he had been a successful herdsman and champion Guernsey cattle breeder. He showed them at Agricultural shows across the south where he won many cups and trophies. It was after the day's events were over that Bob picked up many of his songs, from the herdsman from all over the country that gathered together for a pint and song.

Never one to be out of bands for long I cajoled some friends into forming a band specialising in Celtic music. BELTANE was formed in 1979 and consisted of Pete Harris, vocals, guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin; Dave Lambert, fiddles, mandolin and concertina; my best friend Chris Sullivan, bouzouki, mandolin, tenor banjo and tin whistles and myself playing bodhran, bones, spoons, and mouth-organs, with vocals.

Beltane at Dr Hobbs Folk Club 1981
Beltane 1981
Me, Chris, Dave and Pete.

We had our first public performance in June 1979 and soon became very popular on the south's folk music scene playing 49 bookings at Folk Clubs, Festivals and guesting on BBC Radio Solent's Folkscene with Sibby.
Sadly this band was short lived and our last booking was February 1981, a few months before Dave Lambert got married and emigrated to Australia, where he still lives.

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