Old Swan Band
celebrated 21 years - in style!! Old Swan are widely acknowledged as the spearhead of
the continuing revival of English southern country dance music - born out of those wild and heady sessions in the early 70s
involving members of ' Oak',
of 'Flowers & Frolics'
and the 'Cotswold Liberation Front'
! Their early line-up and repertoire was fuelled with rich
sources of traditional tunes learnt 'at the knee' of great living traditional musicians like Oscar Woods, Bob Cann, Jim
and the legendary Scan Tester
, whose fine music lives on in the band's performances. And, for a band born in the Cotswolds and closely involved
with the Bampton
and Old Spot Morris
, there's always a generous leavening of great Cotswold Morris tunes
in the Swan Band's playing - and founder members Fi Fraser
and Martin Brinsford
heard on John Kirkpatrick
's Morris tunes CD Plain Capers
, (still available on Vinyl from Free Reed) - while Rod Stradling
has been the one of the musicians for Bampton Morris for years! This CD release celebrated the 21st birthday
(in 1995) of this institution of the English folk-scene. Though always happiest as a live band, they were thankfully 'dragged
kicking & screaming' into the recording studios just four
times during the late 70s and early 80s, and each
of these sessions is featured. Their first two albums were on the Free Reed
- the title hints at the Band's uncompromising attitude to their repertoire - (no 100mph 'Rigs
& Jeels' HERE, thank you!) - while in 1978 their ' Old Swan Brand'
appeared, with a sprinkling of songs
and more fine sets of tunes that are still in every decent band's repertoire. Their 3rd LP, on Dingles - 'Gamesters,
Pickpockets & Harlots'
was exclusively of newly discovered Cotswold material, and the 1983 line-up, now with
John Adams, Paul Burgess
and Richard Valentine
, then recorded an 4-track EP (remember them?) for Waterfront
- their last record until now! Over 78 minutes of the best that ever there was of English country music by the band who, as
Dan Quinn says ' gave English folk-dance music a good kick up the arse!'