Unknown recording from 1973 or earlier

Re: Unknown recording from 1973 or earlier

God help us all but that was weird. Try "The Song of the Chanter" , https://thesession.org/tunes/2082.

Be prepared for a different key and a different rhythm (it’s a march!).

Everything else is possibly the same…. (Heh heh….)

Re: Unknown recording from 1973 or earlier

Sounds familiar but can’t put a name to them. The 1st tune is The Chanter’s Song a very close relative of the English morris dance The Rambling Sailor. I wish the drummer would lay off the cowbell!

Re: Unknown recording from 1973 or earlier

Its Jethro Tull with the Chieftains.

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That’s the JSD Band from Scotland. I recorded it live from the programme at the time, and still have it on a cassette tape.

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Seriously? It needs more cowbell….MORE COWBELL!

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Yep. Weird.

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I’ve still got my vinyl copy of that album - it was probably my first exposure to trad/folk rock.

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Kenny I saw the JSD band here in Kent sometime in the 70’s - they sounded very different to the John Peel recording above, Chuck Fleming was on fiddle and a tenor banjo player who’s name I cannot recall. They interspersed jigs and reels with what would now be called Americana, songs by the likes of Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie.

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It’s interesting how the Scottish contributions to the "folk-rock" genre, or whatever you want to call it, have faded from memory, unlike contemporaries like Fairport. Not many people I meet know of Five Hand Reel, never mind the JSD band.

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Wouldn"t have been the Rochester Folk Festival, 1972, would it, Christy ? Dougie MacLean and I came down because JSD were playing, and for a bit of a tear.

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Kenny, no it was Leas Cliff Hall , Folkestone - about 50 miles from Rochester, I cannot remember the exact year. Calum I saw 5 Hand Reel at the National, Kilburn - again can’t remember the year, probably mid 70’s. Great band.

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"It’s interesting how the Scottish contributions to the "folk-rock" genre, or whatever you want to call it, have faded from memory, unlike contemporaries like Fairport."

Perhaps it was simply that Scotland still had an ongoing ‘living tradition’ - of singing, piping, fiddling and accordion playing - so folk rock was little more than a sideshow. Bands like Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, The Oyster Band, The Albion Band etc., on the other hand, were key in bringing English traditional music back into popular consciousness at a time when what might otherwise have been the last generation of traditional singers and musicians were dying off.

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Well, Scottish folk bands such as The Tannahill Weavers, Battlefield Band, Silly Wizard, Ossian etc while not "folk rock" were also very energetic and innovative for their time. They were just as important for Scottish music as the English bands mentioned.

We had the "folk rock" as well, of course. As well as 5 Hand Reel, JSD etc, there was also Bully Wee, New Celeste, Avalon to name but a few.

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These things may depend who you ask and where? Five Hand Reel and JSD Band are certainly not forgotten in Scotland, and I went to a great JSD reunion gig in Biggar only 4-5 years ago: total sell-out and brilliant night. And some Scottish bands were more folk than rock, and orhers more rock than folk.
Then, talking 1973, that was the start of Runrig, who did their 45-year farewell tour just last year.
Silly Wizard: started around 1970-71 and still remembered very fondly here, with many of their songs and tunes stil being played.
And a whole bunch of Scottish/Gaelic folk-rock bands since, through the 80s and to present day: Wolfstone, Tonight at Noon, Skerryvore, Skipinnish, Tidelines, and, most recently, Peat and Diesel.

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"Five Hand Reel and JSD Band are certainly not forgotten in Scotland," - I’ll challenge that - ask anyone on the Scottish music scene under the age of 30, maybe even 40. None of Scotland’s "folk-rock" bands were anywhere near as accomplished or innovative as Fairport Convention, and certainly not Steeleye Span. My opinion.
And as far as "Scottish "folk-rock" is concerned, "Contraband", which later morphed into "Ossian", were the best of the lot.

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"Not many people I meet know of Five Hand Reel, never mind the JSD band." People you meet in Scotland or in London? I wonder if its a matter or geographic perspective.

I had heard of Five Hand Reel but thought of them as "a Scottish Band" (along with the others Johnny Jay listed) rather than "a Folk Rock band". I don’t recall JSD but may I well have heard that broadcast and put them in the "John Peel eclectic" category. Listening to the clip above my thought was "don’t know the band but I’m not surprised John Peel played them".

[crossing with trish santer and kenny (I got distracted and didn’t post)]

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Thanks JJ very interesting - I’m not familiar with this song and that doesnt sound like Dick Gaughan singing?

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Gee, monotony does set in listening to that tune, though the players later speed up and change tack slightly. Penny whistle good. (Maybe a keyboard vamper would help).

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Hi Christy,

It was Bobby Eaglesham. Dick had just left the band by then. However, Bobby also featured a lot on vocals throughout the band’s career.

It’s a very well known song in Scotland and became popular through "the singing" of Jeannie Robertson. Lots of excellent versions but here’s a nice one from one of our better young singers of today.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ous8s-gcgl4

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Yes, Five Hand Reel put out one more album after Dick left but the momentum was gone (not a bad album either, IMO, certainly stands comparison with the rest of their output).

Dick made an interesting comment somewhere that Five Hand Reel had a lot of money put into it by the record company looking for another Fairport or Steeleye and dropped them quickly when it became apparent that that kind of chart success wasn’t going to happen.

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thanks JJ, I hadn’t heard Iona Fyfe before, she has a grand way with a song - but I realized I did know the song having heard it at festivals and sessions over the years , just didn’t recognize 5 Hand Reel’s version for whatever reason.
Calum, Fairport and Steeleye never achieved more than the odd freak chart single [Si tu dois Partir, Gaudete and All Around my Hat] so probably any hopes for 5 Hand Reel were doomed from the start

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I remember seeing the JSD Band playing in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark in the early 70s. That was my first exposure to trad music played in a rock context. I was psychedelicized at the time. Mind blown!

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Not sure how you can forget something that ceased to exist before you were born?? Those who do remember Five Hand Reel and JSD Band were around at the time, so, like me, getting old now!
Ossian were great, though I would have put them in my "more folk than rock" category: should have been on my earlier list.
Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and other English bands such as Lindisfarne are still out there doing gigs (have tickets to see Steeleye Span in Edinburgh in October, but doubt if this will happen!) For similar sheer staying power, I’ll again mention Runrig, also Tannahill Weavers, and the McCalmans.

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"Ossian were great, though I would have put them in my "more folk than rock" category…"

Hi Trish. Before the first Ossian LP, the members released an album on Transatlantic under the name Contraband, who would have been firmly in the folk-rock category.

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Not to be confused with the Danish band of the same name spelled with a "K" which also featured a Scot, Rod Sinclair.

I remember Contraband from the early seventies as their music was played a lot on Radio Four Scotland (before BBC Radio Scotland itself) during the regional opt out at lunchtime. There was a good music programme back then and they played lots of interesting stuff including Mike Maran (Later a Fringe stalwart), Gerry Rafferty, early Barbara Dickson, and much more.

Oh, and I’ve just treated myself to a copy of the album from a well known mail order site. "One copy left in stock" apparently but it’s also available to stream there if any of you want to check it out. Unfortunately, I doubt if any of the band will benefit as a result of my purchase but I’ve already bought all the other Ossian albums and many others featuring Billy and John. 🙂

Also have a Mae McKenna album somewhere too…

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I suddenly realized in all this discussion of Scottish bands no-one mentioned Capercaillie one of the few bands that has stood the test of time from the 80’s to the present day - I remember being blown away by them a few years back at Broadstairs Festival but with my erratic memory can’t quite remember who was in the band - certainly Karen Matheson and Donald Shaw, possibly Mike McGoldrick but I’m a bit hazy on that. This was probably 4 or 5 years ago, anyone seen them more recently?

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They are a slightly newer band and from a different era. It became more fashionable to use the term "fusion" rather than folk rock by that time. 🙂
As time passed, much of their work took on a more traditional, albeit still innovative, feel.

Other notable musicians in band are Charlie McKerron(a wonderful fiddler), Manus Lunny, and Ewen Vernal. Notable alumni include Marc Duff, James Mackintosh to name but a few.

Although they have never been my favourites, I’ve still enjoyed much of their music over the years.

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Agree that Capercaillie are also among the long stayers, but wouldn’t have thought of them as folk-rock (or even "fusion"). First came across them when they did the soundtrack music to the excellent TV series called "The Blood is Strong".

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I don’t remember that TV programme, Trish, or the theme music - any links?

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See Kenny’s link, Christy. Possibly only shown in Scotland at the time: says Grampian TV on the video clip, but we saw it down here in Edinburgh too.

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Last time I checked, Edinburgh was in Scotland too.
😉

Grampian and STV usually shared most of their programmes although they may have been shown at different times.

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… It was also possible to get Grampian TV itself in the Edinburgh area too, especially if you lived near the coast.

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Yes indeed, living in East Lothian the arrival of Channel 5 caused great ructions in our house as our TV could store five channels, and the fifth was tuned to Grampian while the third was on STV. My sister wanted channel 5 and my dad wanted Grampian and my mother was on the verge of throwing the thing in the Firth of Forth.

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Re: Unknown recording from 1973 or earlier

Just wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed the information about about the 70s music scene. My knowledge started with the Bairns, Silly Wizard, Ossian, early Battlefield and early Tannies. Was not familiar with Contrabnd, JSD, Five Hand Reel, etc.

I was very fortunate to have moved to northern Vermont in the early 80s, just in time for the explosion of a great trad. scene, including amazing concerts. Ossian and Silly Wizard were regulars in Burlington, and the Tannies came through as well.

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Five Hand Reel:
1. In April this year (2020) Tom Hickland (originally from Falls Road, Belfast but Mitcham, South London since ~1971!) fiddle player, died with Covid complications.
2. They were playing venues through 1977/ 8 at the height of punk rock. Punks loved their rootsy energy!
3. When Dick left, Sam Bracken joined. Taking the line up from 3 Scots, 1 Irish, 1 English to 2 Scots, 2 Irish, 1 English. Barry Lyons, the bass holder being the English one.
4. I saw them at the National, Kilburn. Seriously Irish place in the late 70s esp. for me a non Hibernian London boy!
5. They made 4 albums. 3 with Dick (Five Hand Reel, For A’That, the Earl of Murray) and 1 with Sam (A Bunch of Fives). They also made a rare album of Danish Trad songs/ tunes with Alan Klitgård.
6. I played many times in gigs and recording sessions with Tom, mainly in the 80s, hence my know-it-all posting!