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.

No comments:

Post a Comment