Monday, November 10, 2014

Pete Willow's Coventry Folk Connection Blog

Pete Willow has created a new folk Connection blog to keep you all upto date with the latest happenings on the folk and acoustic scene in Coventry and Warwickshire. Great initiative and much needed in the area.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lot Lorien

The other day I got an email from Lot Lorien, a Bulgarian folk band now resident in Coventry. Further more they sent me a copy of their CD Elsewhere and it's musical alchemy!

NEWS UPDATE - Coventry singer / Songwriter / Venue Organiser has joined Lot Lorien. You'll find an updated biography of the band below. September 4th 2014

The beautiful Tolkien style cover of their album Elsewhere.  The album is a joy to listen to with elements of Pentangle, Everything but the Girl, All About Eve and Bulgarian traditional music. 

All you need to know about the band is on their website but here is the biography of the band -

Lot Lorien
Lot Lorien is a British progressive-folk band, combining in a modern way the traditions of British and Bulgarian folklore with classical music, jazz and progressive rock. Some of the main influences can be found among great musicians and bands like Theodosii Spassov, Fairport Convention, Dando Shaft, Pentangle, Rush, Steeleye Span, etc.
The band, initially Bulgarian, first came into existence in 1996, when the founders - Kiril Georgiev (guitars, lyrics, compositions) and Zlatomir Valchev (drums, percussion) were joined by Petar Pavlov (bass). After number of experiments and line-up changes the band were joined by Bora Petkova (vocals), Galina Koycheva (violin) and Nelly Gancheva (cello, for few concerts).
Being ardent fans of English fiction writer John R. R. Tolkien, the band members were inspired to choose their name by Tolkien’s Middle-earth works (the place where the stories of "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" unfold). Lothlorien is the fairytale woods kingdom of the Galadhrim elves where time seems to have stopped and every stranger entering this land forgets all worries and pending threats. Inspired by this standstill of time, Lot Lorien (they choose to spell the name as two separate words) begin to create music evocative of fairytale images that prompt the listener to forget their mundane worries.

Early years

Lot Lorien’s first serious performances started in 1998. Joined by Alexander Kinov (sound engineer, technician) and Yasen Kazandjiev (manager), the band made its first concert in Varna on February 14th 1998. The date is accepted as the official birthday of Lot Lorien.
With the course of time, the band’s specific sound and style started to evolve and take shape with the great contribution of band’s songwriter Kiril Georgiev and the non-standard use of instruments: acoustic guitar, violin and gentle female voice were successfully combined with synthesizer, bass guitar, drums and different folk instruments like tapan, tabla, djembe, darbouka, didgeridoo. Unique handmade instruments crafted by the band members themselves also found a place in the compositions.
 In 2000 the band started touring abroad and was warmly accepted by international audience and promoters.
After numerous successful concerts and demo records (some of them broadcast on the air), it was time for the band’s first album "Eastern Wind". The album was recorded in the summer of 2002 in Balkanton studio (Sofia/Bulgaria) with the legendary sound engineer Deyan Timnev and with the special support of Rudolf Carrera - founder of Falcata-Galia Recordings and president of Carrera Linn Cultural Exchange (USA). Renowned young opera singer Ina Kancheva was guest performer in one of the compositions included in this album.
New events and shows followed, and the creation of new compositions. At the beginning, Lot Lorien were experiencing strong influence from classical music and English folklore and later their style and sound were enhanced by inspirations of jazz, progressive rock and Bulgarian folklore.

Theodosii Spassov

2003 started with one of the most interesting collaborations of the band with the great musician Theodosii Spassov *. The first result of this collaboration was the participation at the Mobimak Balkan Square 2003 festival in Ohrid, Macedonia where Lot Lorien played their rearranged compositions with the serious contribution by the great Bulgarian musician. This and the following shows enjoyed great success. The concert in Ohrid was recorded and part of it was later released under the title "Live in Ohrid", the second album in the band’s discography.
* Theodosii Spassov plays kaval - chromatic end-blown flute traditionally played throughout Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bulgaria, etc. Unlike the transverse flute, the kaval is fully open at both ends, and is played by blowing on the sharpened edge of one end. The kaval has 8 playing holes (7 in front and 1 in the back for the thumb) and usually four more unfingered intonation holes near the bottom of the kaval. The name kaval may once have been referred to various Balkan duct and rim-blown flutes, accounting for the present day diversity of the term’s usage.
In 2003 Lot Lorien also became a member of IOV - a UNESCO affiliated International Folk Arts Organization.
Gradually the band started touring abroad more frequently, presenting its original compositions and interpretations on Bulgarian folklore tunes. By that time some music videos were created by the famous Bulgarian director Todor Chapkanov – friend of the band. The first music video was for the song "Mari Mariiko" - based on folklore song from the Strandja mountain region of Bulgaria.

"Lot Lorien"

The end of 2005 set the beginning of an ambitious project of working title "Lot Lorien and Friends". The band purchased their own professional equipment and established a home studio, which provided them with creative freedom for experimentation. At the end of 2006, an album including 12 compositions was a fact: recorded and mixed in the band’s studio. Featuring in this album were numerous guest musicians whom Lot Lorien had met and worked with in Bulgaria and abroad: Roman Stolyar (Russia): flute; Latif Bolat (Turkey/USA): vocals; Nikolay Yordanov: flute; Dragni Dragnev: bagpipe and kaval; Petya Dragneva: folk singing; Maryana Cvetanova-Milanova and Dilyana Cvetanova: violin; Christian Nedelchev: rebeck; Snajen Kovachev: vocals; 84-year old Kiro Dikov from village Brodilovo: vocal; Georgi Konstantinov: lyrics; Rey Gonzales: lyrics. The album was released at the beginning of 2007 under the title "Lot Lorien". One of the most interesting collaborations included in this album is the song "Ballad for The Lost", based on improvisations with certain ideas and gradually upgraded with numerous instruments, including small string orchestra, bagpipe and tabla (used for the first time in band’s composition). The "icing on the cake" is Latif Bolat, a long-time friend of the band and renowned Turkish composer/musician living in the USA, famous for his collaboration with George Lukas on the soundtrack of "Young Indiana Jones". Latif and Bora (vocals) produced an interesting multi-language vocal dialogue: Bulgarian lyrics by Lyuben Karavelov and Turkish lyrics by Turkish medieval poet Yunus Emre. Tunes from Turkish folk song are incorporated at the beginning and the end of the composition. This song becomes one of the award winners in the contest for intercultural dialogue "Other songs" of Euromedcafe (held under the auspices of the Directorate for External Relations at the European Commission, Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue and Fondazzione Mediterraneo).
In 2007 Lot Lorien decided to join "You Are Not Alone" initiative to support the Bulgarian nurses retained in Libya. Apart from a series of concerts in connection with this initiative, with the support of Stefan Sofiansky and the Union of Free Democrats, Lot Lorien released a special edition of their latest album of which each member of the European Parliament received a copy.
In 2008, after a couple of concerts, the band split with its long time manager Yasen Kazandjiev. At the end of this year the band celebrated its 10th anniversary with a grand concert in Varna Opera House where the musicians present their recent and earlier compositions and create a conceptual multimedia and special lighting for each song.
In 2009 Lot Lorien continued their work with composing and arranging songs for their next album. They had some participations as well, one of which was at the prestigious Spirit of Burgas festival, rated among Europe’s 10 best summer festivals for 2009.


2010 was year of dramatic changes for the band: Bora and Galina stepped out but their withdrawal was compensated by Yordan Danev, a virtuoso accordionist who joined the group - a perfect team player and inspired composer and arranger. Yordan Danev contributes to the band’s richer and more diversified sound. Of course, the band would be incomplete without suitable vocals and after a long search, at the end of 2010, Lot Lorien were happy and proud to welcome Gergana Velikova, a young singer who instantaneously fused in the band with remarkable vocal range and technique. With Yordan and Gergana on board, Lot Lorien were active once again and started preparations for their successive album and concert performances.
On February 14th 2011, the band’s 13th anniversary, the new members were officially announced and a new webpage and video was launched. Тhe video was created by the team of the young movie director Stoyan Yankov after the instrumental composition "Different faces" from Lot Lorien’s forthcoming album "Elsewhere". It is the beginning of a new great collaboration.
The main engagement for the band during 2011 was creating and finishing the compositions for the forthcoming fourth album. At the end of the year 11 compositions were recorded.
At the beginning of 2012, the band started mixing the album. During the summer of 2012 Lot Lorien won the audience’s prize at Golden Spring Festival – a competition for new Bulgarian pop and rock song, produced by the Bulgarian National Radio.
The new album "Elsewhere" was mastered at the end of the summer and after a competition made by the band, the visual design was created by Dilyana Delcheva – journalist at Metal Hammer magazine for Bulgaria and professional designer for bands like Sonata Arctica, Dreamtale, Absinthium, Gothmog, Leviathan, Amaseffer, etc.
At the middle of September, the band participated at the Festival for new pop and rock song Sofia 2012, where they won the audience’s prize, after voting with SMS messages. The earnings from the SMS messages were meant to support the National charity campaign "Let's be better" which is initiated by the municipality of Sofia for building of a Center for treatment and rehabilitation of people injured in accidents and people in "awakening coma". Lot Lorien won the prize with "Gypsy song" – composition from the new album, which had its video released soon after that. The video was created by Stoyan Yankov’s crew again. At the end of September the band started a small tour to promote "Elsewhere" around Bulgaria.
In May 2013 Lot Lorien won "Varna" reward (Music category) - prestigious reward given by the Municipality of Varna for great achievements in the fields of culture and education.
A few months later Gergana left Bulgaria and she was replaced by Hristiana Dynkova - young, charismatic and very talented singer, winner of many international rewards and student at the Bulgarian Music Academy - Sofia/Bulgaria. With Hristiana on board, Lot Lorien released one new song and won two prizes at the International Music Festival Discovery 2014.

British career

The summer of 2014 marked a serious change. It was time for a new beginning in the band's career - Kiril,/songwriters in the West Midlands, well known for her enigmatic voice and charisma...
New singer - Justine Watson
Zlatomir and Alexander move to Coventry / United Kingdom. The area is well known with its music traditions and connection with folk bands like Pentangle, Dando Shaft, Fairport Convention, etc - some of them are recognized as a huge influence on Lot Lorien. Soon after their arrival, the musicians were joined by Justine Watson - one of the best folk-singers
... To be continued...

Selected rewards

2007 - Award winner in the contest for intercultural dialogue "Other songs" of Euromedcafe (held under the auspices of the Directorate for External Relations at the European Commission, Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Intercultural Dialogue and Fondazzione Mediterraneo);
2010 - Nomination for "Varna" reward / category "Music";
2012 - The listener’s reward - 43-th competition for new pop and rock music "Golden spring" 2012 - Bulgarian National Radio / Horizont program;
2012 - The audience’s reward - Sofia 2012 Festival for pop and rock music;
2012 - On top of the weekly music chart by the Bulgarian National Radio, 03.10.2012;
2013 - "Varna" reward / "Music" category. Official and prestigious reward by the municipality of Varna (Lot Lorien's home town) for the original album "Elsewhere", created in 2012;
2014 - "Music Innovation Prize" - XXIII Discovery International music festival - Varna / Bulgaria;
2014 - Winner of the Discovery International Radio Voting in Ukraine - XXIII Discovery International music festival - Varna / Bulgaria;

Here is Lot Lorien Video with Coventry singer Sean O'Connor

Below with the current line up based in Leamington Spa.

Jake Wilson – (ex Fairport Convention) vocals / vocal arrangements Lot Lorien: Adam Jurewicz – Spanish guitar / arrangement Kiril Georgiev – Steel-strings guitar /arrangement Lyrics: traditional Original music: Kiril Georgiev Recorded and Mixed by Adam Jurewicz at Red Diamond Recordings, Royal Leamington Spa, UK (2016/2017)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Beverley Martyn

"Beverley Martyn has led an incredible life: a beautiful woman and talented
singer-songwriter she was also muse, friend or partner to some of the greatest recording artists of the past forty years....Bert Jansch, Paul Simon, Nick Drake and of course her husband John Martyn. Along the way she played at the Monterey Festival in 1967...."

Below - Beverley on the cover of Bert Jansch It Don't Bother me album 1965 (thanks to Dave Cooper for that information)

"Beverley Martyn (born Beverley Kutner on 24 March 1947) is an English singer, songwriter and
Beverley Martyn in the 1970's
guitarist. Beverley was born near Coventry. While still a student, she was picked to front The Levee Breakers, a jug band featuring Mac McGann and Johnny Joyce, who played the folk circuit in south east England. At the age of 16 she recorded her first single. "Babe I'm Leaving You", which was released on the Parlophone label in 1965. Martyn was then signed as a solo artist to the Deram Records label. In 1966 she released a single, "Happy New Year" (b-side "Where The Good Times Are"), written by Randy Newman, on which she was accompanied by Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Andy White. "Happy New Year" was chosen, together with "I Love My Dog" by Cat Stevens, to launch Deram as the progressive branch of Decca Records. She also recorded an unreleased single in the same year, "Picking Up The Sunshine" / "Gin House Blues". These last two tracks also featured John Renbourn and Mike Lease. During this period she was taught the guitar by the folk guitarist Bert Jansch who also encouraged her songwriting. Her follow-up single "Museum", written by Donovan was released in 1967, produced by Denny Cordell.

Closely involved with the folk scene at the time, she met Paul Simon who invited her to New York where she contributed to the track "Fakin' It" on the Simon & Garfunkel album Bookends on which she says in the middle of the song: "Good morning, Mr Leitch, have you had a busy day." She later appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival on 16 June 1967, as did Simon & Garfunkel.

In 1969 she met John Martyn, whom she later married. As a duo they issued two albums, Stormbringer!
and The Road to Ruin both of which were released on Island Records. Following The Road to Ruin, Island persuaded John Martyn to resume his career as a solo artist because they believed that there was more public interest in solo singer/songwriters. Although she was spending more time with her children, Martyn continued to contribute to her husband's solo projects until the breakdown of their marriage. The couple divorced during the making of John Martyn's album Grace and Danger in 1980 and she retired from music for years.

In the 1990s, with her children now grown, she was invited to join Loudon Wainwright III on his European tour. In 1998 she resumed her recording career with the release of the album No Frills.

In 2004 Martyn's song "Primrose Hill" about the simple joys of domesticity, which she wrote and sang on Road To Ruin, was sampled by Fat Boy Slim for the track "North West Three" on his 2004 album Palookaville.

At various times, Martyn has worked with Levon Helm, Jimmy Page, Dave Pegg, Richard Thompson,
John Renbourn, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham and Sandy Denny. She appeared in the photograph on the album sleeve of  Bert Jansch's 1965 album It Don't Bother Me; where she can be seen lounging in the background. On 3 December 2013 she performed the song "Levee Breaks" with her band at the concert A Celebration Of  Bert Jansch at London's Royal Festival Hall alongside Robert Plant, Donovan and various members of Pentangle, amongst others. The concert was broadcast by BBC4 in the UK on 28 March 2014 under the name The Genius of Bert Jansch: Folk Blues and Beyond.

Martyn released a new album in 2014 entitled The Phoenix and The Turtle. The album features a previously unrecorded Nick Drake and Martyn song, "Reckless Jane". The album features bass by Matt Malley (Counting Crows), drums by Victor Bisetti (Los Lobos), acoustic guitars by Mark Pavey, electric guitars by Jakob Nebel and Michael Watts with strings by Owain Roberts."

"Babe, I'm Leaving You" (McGann) / "Wild About My Lovin'" (Trad. Arr. Joyce) (June 1965 with the Levee Breakers)
"Happy New Year" (Newman) / "Where The Good Times Are" (Martyn) (September 1966 as "Beverley")
"Picking Up The Sunshine" / "Gin House" (1966 as "Beverley"; unreleased)
"Museum" (Leitch) / "A Quick One For Sanity" (by "D. Cordell Tea Time Ensemble") (July 1967 as "Beverley")
Stormbringer! (February 1970 with John Martyn)
The Road to Ruin (November 1970 with John Martyn)
No Frills (1998)
The Phoenix and the Turtle (2014)

Below is a link to an interesting and recent interview with Beverley Martyn

In this cutting from a Coventry paper in the mid 60's (via The Broadgate Gnome A to Z of Coventry Bands), Beverley says "My band will be the best in England" and her early records had the likes of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones on, long before Led Zeppelin came along and Nicky Hopkins. "Good artistic pop records can be made and I am trying to prove this." Her early association with Donovan resulted in her recording Donovan's Museum in 1967. Perhaps her two lines in Paul Simon's song Fakin' It "Good morning Mr Leitch, have you had a busy day" was a reference to Donovan Leitch. However i can't verify that. 

Another cutting, also from The Broadgate Gnome A to z Site 

Beverley's sister ran the Hub Boutique in Coventry  and the above article by the Coventry Standard in 1967 was conducted in a Coventry Precinct cafe cafe not long after her return from San Francisco during which she recorded with Paul Simon and appeared at Monterey and appreciated by the Monkees.

Pete Willow, writing in Folks magazine (Coventry folk magazine Jan/Feb 1979) covered the history of the Coventry folk scene (his articles and magazines posted on this blog), included another cutting -

The Daily Sketch (Aug 23rd 1966) ran an article headed 'Now Beverley has the key to the top' which
read: " If there was an award for sheer will to win in the pop business it would this year to an 18 year old singer billed simply as Beverley. Just a year ago she came to London and Demmy Cordell, who makes discs for Georgie Fame and the Moody Blues, heard her sing in a club. Cordell told me: "I offered her a recording contract. She is the only person, other than Georgie and the Moodies, I've wanted to record. "But Beverley told him: 'I'm going away - i'll see you when i think I'm ready'..Beverley went back to her home in Coventry with a guitar - which Denny Laine of the Moody Blues had given her - and learned to play. Now she is rated by Jimmy Page of the Yardbirds, as ' the best girl guitarist' he's heard."

Pete Willow comments - "Here is a typical selection of other cuttings about the lady, proving the press moves in mysterious way: She's an 18 year old Chelsea-looking brunette from Coventry who has just cut her
first record. The title is 'Happy new year' (Derem)." " Beverley......wore a cool black satin pajama suit - with enormous flapping trousers - at London airport yesterday. To keep away the chill winter breezes she wore a snug fox fur on top. Beverley was flying to Munich to make a broadcast and make promote her new record....""She admires Donovan's interpretations and was particularly thrilled when, in a London club recently, he stepped from the audience and offered to accompany her on guitar." " that at 20 she has at last found her real self thanks to the Love Thy neighbour hippies of San Francisco. Beverley has just returned from Hippie-land after taking part in the Monterey pop Festival."

It seemed for a while that Beverly was in the limelight of press attention and attracting a lot of interest in the
national folk/rock scene. When she married and worked with John Martyn, interest in her from the music media fell and lost much of its previous intensity. The sleeve notes on John and Beverley's album Stormbringer simply refer to the fact that she once worked for a jug band in Coventry. Mentioning no names."

A few memories from Dave Cooper of  Dando Shaft
"Bev and John had a basement flat in West Hampstead. I had a brief meeting there with Nick Drake in '71. Bev had been mates with Ted Kaye of Dando Shaft in Coventry. She was the perfect Hippy Chic icon, stunning, and a great voice. Bev is also on the cover of Bert Jansch's 1965 album "It Dont Bother Me" Glad she succeeded in releasing "The Phoenix And The Turtle" earlier this year.


As fairytale as Beverley's musical career appears, she tells a more reveals a more disturbing side to her life in her biography published in 2011 - Sweet Honesty -

"Sweet Honesty - The Beverley Martyn Story ... as told to Jaki daCosta. Beverley was a rising star in
the 1960s' British folk/rock music scene when she met and married singer/songwriter John Martyn, who died in 2009. For years she kept silent about the abusive relationship they shared. Here she tells her story in her own words, taking us from her childhood in post-war Coventry through the making of classic albums "Stormbringer!" and "Road to Ruin" to today, where she survives as a woman beaten but not bowed and still a gifted musician in her own right." Amazon

You can read some sample chapters on the Amazon kindle version on the above site too. Another review on Amazon -

"Beverley Martyn has led an incredible life: a beautiful woman and talented singer-songwriter she was also muse, friend or partner to some of the greatest recording artists of the past forty years....Bert Jansch, Paul Simon, Nick Drake and of course her husband John Martyn. Along the way she played at the Monterey Festival in 1967 and also endured ten years of marriage with an abusive husband that eventually led her to have a breakdown, near destitute and in a mental hospital."

The Music - Early singles from the mid 1960's -

This is Donovan's version of his song which Beverley covered.

Beverley Martyn appears on this Simon and Garfunkle track as the voice that says "Good morning Mr Leitch, have you had a busy day" and possibly some backing vocals.

A song she wrote with Nick Drake which was unfinished.

Beverley talks about the song she wrote with Nick Drake here 
and in this video Interview

From her new album The Phoenix and The Turtle 2014

Visit Beverley Martyn's site for photos / live dates / audio / the new album and bio etc. 

Monday, June 2, 2014


Isambarde Folk / Acoustic / Alternative
Label Whirly Whorl Records
line up
Chris Green Vocals Guitar
Emily Sanders (vocals, fiddle)
Jude Rees (oboe, vocals)

"They are the unusual and winning combination of Chris's driving guitar, Emily's incisive fiddle playing and Jude's lyrical oboe coupled with great full on vocal harmonies."

"The  Isambarde story begins in late 2001, when Chris Green (vocals, guitar), decided to form a band. The only slight problem with this was the fact that he didn't really know anyone within twenty years of his own age who shared his taste for traditional English folk music. A lonely and brief solo career beckoned!

Then as luck would have it, Chris got involved at very short notice in a musical theatre production at the
Alexandra Theatre that shall remain nameless, as it was a bit of a nightmare for all concerned. It was in these stressful circumstances that he met the show's orchestral manager and more importantly pit oboist Jude Rees (oboe, vocals), a fellow folkie reared on Steeleye Span, the Albion Band and other alumni of the 60's and 70's folk revival. She had just completed an MA at Birmingham Conservatoire and leapt at the chance to do something different from the music traditionally associated with the oboe.

Chris had met Emily Sanders (vocals, fiddle) briefly at the Bridgnorth Folk Festival in 1997, but being Chris had promptly lost her number! They met again by chance at the Boggery Folk Club in Solihull in early 2002. Emily had been a regular fixture on the Staffordshire circuit since the age of 12, but was not involved with any band on a regular basis, so the other two lost no time in recruiting her talents and formidable repertoire of traditional songs and tunes.

Isambarde were now a trio and played their first gig to an appreciative audience at the Styvechale Folk
Club, Coventry in April 2002. Over the last few years they have played clubs and festivals all over the country, collecting songs, tunes and friends along the way.

Isambarde’s music is a powerful blend of traditional and contemporary folk songs, taking the English tradition forward into the 21st century.

Isambarde on Reverbnation

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dando Shaft

Dando Shaft c 1968 -72 ( with later reunions) Described variously as Progressive / Folk Rock / Acid Folk.

Dando Shaft - Coventry's legendary Progressive folk band formed in 1968 and split up around 1972 - with various reunions afterwards - sometimes to fulfil recording contracts or for performances.
Backrow - L to R Roger Bullen / Dave Cooper / Ted Kaye. Front Row L to R Polly Bolton / Kevin Dempsey / Martin Jenkins.

Line up -
Martin Jenkins - Vocals / Mandolin /  Electric Mandola /  Fiddle / Flute / Songwriter
Dave Cooper (Coopz) - Vocals / Guitar / Songwriter
Kevin Dempsey - Vocals / Guitar / Songwriter
Ted Kaye - Percussion / Tablas
Roger Bullen - Bass (Upright)
Polly Bolton - Vocals / Piano
Later additions for reunions.
Roger Williamson - Guitar / Vocals
Rod Felton - Guitar / Vocals
Baz Andruszko - bass


An Evening With ... (Youngblood 1970 SSYB006) 1970
Dando Shaft S/T (Neon 1971 NE6) 1971
Lantaloon (Neon 1972 SF8256) 1972

Later Albums - 
Kingdom (Rubber 1978 RUB034 ) 1977
Dando Shaft - Reaping the Harvest - Compilation 1990 See For Miles Records SEE CD 291

Sun Clog Dance / This Gift - 1972 (RCA 1972 2246)

Dave Cooper
Here you can download some Dando Shaft tracks and other rare Coventry folk tracks for 55p each (with some freebies)
The band receive no royalties from the sale of the albums or compilations so do support Dave's raremusez site. Dave gives some interesting background on this site to the recording process of the albums and the dodgy ripoff side of recording contracts etc!!- worth a visit. Here's a quote from Dave -
"An Evening with Dando Shaft 1970" must have been one of the cheapest albums MD ever produced. I wrote five of the eight songs. Over the years various lease deals have been made with companies for compilations. Forty years later all the albums are available on Itunes. In all this time I have never received any form of statement or communication from MD/YBM or their many susiduries, they do not answer letters or emails. None of the band members receive royalties from the mechanical sale of this music."

Below - Three Dando Shaft songs - Kalyope Driver / Railway and Whispering Ned from their 1971 album 

The Introduction (written by John Tobler) to Dando Shaft's Compilation CD - Reaping the Harvest -released in 1990 on the See for Miles label, is perhaps the best description of Dando's formation, development and demise that we have, with contributions by the band members. And here it is -
Dando Shaft are also onFacebook -

Click to enlarge -


Dando Shaft - The Book of the Same Name
As mentioned in the introduction, the name Dando Shaft taken from a 60's novel by Dan Calhoun of which
this is a summary -

" Dando Shaft works in an ad agency where he comes up with the taglines we all remember decades later at the expense of any useful knowledge. He's unhappy in his job and embarks on a scheme to become "Everyman's Millionaire." He takes out a full-page ad in the NY Daily News for donations and he will live the life of a millionaire for your vicarious thrills. The endeavor is partly successful at best - money comes in, but not nearly as much as he'd like, and his affair with the trampy hotsy-totsy Bunny Fairchild destroys his marriage.
Disillusioned and broke, he has to pull himself back up from rock bottom.
A great satire about 1960s suburbia, the frustrated people in it, and the American phenomenon of celebrity culture."From this review site
On Amazon " One example dealt with the account supervisor who resented the owner's son position in the agency. The son had just purchased a new homburg hat and was quite proud of it. The account supervisor bought the same hat in a size smaller and one a size larger and would then periodically switch the hats. There is also an on-going tale of the account supervisor and a woman he sits next to on the train every day during his commute to work. It ends in the most hilarious scene immaginable. This is a light-hearted book that anyone who has ever had anything to do with advertising will find totally enjoyable."
Jackson C. Franks - An Early Influence.
Dave Cooper
 Dave Cooper recalls "At the age of 17 Jackson inspired me to write my first song "This Weary Road". Spent the summer of '65 (warm nights and groovy tunes) at the Barge Club in Kingston on Thames listening to his magical renditions. Like all maestro's he was humble and had time for anyone. Sitting on the upper deck of the barge he taught me some guitar how to hammer-on in G, and one night told me that "all great art seeks the poetic". I remember seeing Paul Simon, Sandy Denny and Martin Carthy's jaws hit the ground when Jacko sang. Strangely our paths crossed again. In 68? Sue and I by chance saw an advert with his name on a board outside the short lived Jaguar folk cellar bar in Coventry. We went in and found Jackson sitting on his own in a virtually empty bar. We shared a drink and a chat remembering the Barge Club. We waited with him, alas no one came, no gig organiser or audience. Sometime after 8 we said our goodbyes and he walked off into the night. Bert loved his music about a year before he died he played me his version of "My Name is Carnival" as we shared memories at Robs house. Without Jackson C. Frank no Dando Shaft" More about Jackson C Franks on this blog from Dave Coburn - Here
Darrell Viner
Back in 2007 when I started the Hobo blogs (Coventry music sites), Dave Cooper sent me a message about Dando Shaft's involvement with the Coventry born sculptor  / artist Darrell Viner. Dave said " Did you ever come across some of the 'Happenings' at some of the early Dando Shaft gigs at the Pilot on Sunday lunchtimes with Darrell Viner who sadly left the stage 2001?" Dave went on to say " In 1968 he built the first sound activated lighting system in the UK, before Pink Floyd or anyone. 20.000 Watt. I need to make a link as Darrells early involvement with ambience was special.

Darell Viner lived in the attic flat in the end house in Barras lane (the other end from Martin Jenkins of The Rest" when we all moved to London in 1970, gaining his place at Chelsea in 1971. The rest as they say is his story. Coopz.  Darrell Viners obituary was in the Guardian and gives a lot more background to his development and later career in the art world -
Dando Shaft and where Dando started out). We had an ajustable lense projector quite powerful. We were
into making our own acid slides oil, bubbles and dyes which we projected onto the synagogue wall down and opposite. The odd late night drunk got quite a colourful suprise. He lived in the Dando house/commune '

Darrell Viner (1947 – 2001) was a pioneer in the field of computer art. He originally turned to computers to pursue his interest in movement and animation and went on to apply the technology to kinetic and interactive sculpture.Viner was one of a small number of British artists, based at a cluster of art schools in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Hornsey and the Slade, who started to use computers as a creative tool. They learnt to write in code, developed their own systems and built their own equipment to further their aims."

Interview with Martin Jenkins from 1980 on Gentlefolk Radio with Norman Wheatley May 2014 -

Polly Bolton  "is recognised as one of the leading exponents of the decorative style of traditional
British singing. She began singing professionally in 1970 in an acoustic folk-rock band, Dando Shaft. In the 1970's she worked in soul and folk bands both in the States and Britain, including Bert Jansch's Conundrum. In 1980 she left the music business to live and work on an organic smallholding in South Shropshire, occasionally gigging with guitarist Kev Dempsey. In 1985, Polly was persuaded out of hiding by Ashley Hutchings, to sing on his album, "By Gloucester Docks I sat down and wept". She also sang and recorded with the Albion Dance Band. Ashley produced her first solo album "No Going Back" in 1987. Polly has been much in demand as a guest solo singer working with Alan Stival on "The Mists of Avalon" and has sung on several Show of Hands albums and appeared at the sell-out 10 year anniversary gig at the Albert Hall in April 2001. She has also sung with Steve Knightlyon his solo album, "Track of Words". " There's more on her website here

This is a beautiful track from Polly Bolton 1980

You Must Be Joking
There is already a post on this about this play by Paul Spavan which "portrayed the harsh reality of the bicycle industry of the 1800's and the modern car industry of the then present 1970's." and which featured the music and lyrics of Dando Shaft, so i won;t take up space here with it except to post a direct link here and Dave Cooper has kindly made some comments on it.

I went to see this at the Belgrade Theatre in 1971

A sample of the lyrics

"Coventry City of Cycles and Slums,Everywhere in the air is the winding and grinding and factory hums,
and the men in the town making bicycle wheels whirl around.
There's Standard and Singer and Hillman and Humber
Riley and Rudge and a very great number,
of bicycle makers that
work in the City,
side by side, it would be a great pity if business should die..
More found on the linked post.

From Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) August 1973 - Edited by Trev Teasdel
Dando Shaft may be reformed in the near future with original members Martin Jenkins on fiddle and mandolins, Ted Kaye on congos and other percussion and joined by Rod Felton on guitar and Baz Andruszko on bass and accordion. But at the moment they are fulfilling other commitments. Martin, who recently wrote and played the music for the Belgrade's production Little Red Riding Hood has another production in London. Rod is due for a tour of Germany, I believe."

Two Coventry singer songwriters were involved in reformed versions of Dando Shaft in the early to mid 70's - Rod Felton and Roger Williamson. Both are featured on this site if you follow the links.

From their first album on Youngblood. An Evening with Dando Shaft - Lazily Slowly.

Martin Jenkins with Bert Jansch Conundrum - Blues Run the Game - written by Jackson C. Franks

Martin Jenkins and Kevin Dempsey went on to play with Geordie folk outfit Hedgehog Pie and then joined forces with ex Fairport Convention fiddle player Dave Swarbrick in Whippersnapper. Martin's son Ray Jenkins also plays.

Dando Shaft Mk 2 1972 with Billy Bones, Roger Williamson, Ted Kay and Martin Jenkins.