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Richard Bleksley
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The Fiddler's Dream
« : 09.03.09 at 02:36 »
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Returning to the MV fold after an inexcusably long absence, I was browsing through the thread on the Demon reissues when I came upon Ian Ashleigh's reference to Robin and Barry Dransfields' The Fiddler's Dream. ("Does anybody else own [it]? If not, why not?"). Rather than reply three pages late and off-topic, I thought it better to post it here.
 
Well, Ian, yes, I do. I was one of the select few who bought it when it first came out (the notes to their CD retrospective Up to Now state that it "instantly sank without trace"), and it's been one of my favourite albums ever since.
 
Some time around 1970 Ashley Hutchings and Bob Pegg conceived between them the idea of creating a distinctively English modern music, not rock as such but bearing the same relation to English folk roots as rock does to American folk roots. Hutchings never seems to have got the idea quite off the ground, but Mr. Fox was Bob Pegg's shot at it. But to my ears The Fiddler's Dream comes closer to that idea than anything else I've heard. It's not, quite, folk music. It sure as hell ain't rock and roll. It's not really even folk-rock. It's something else again, a modern (in its time) music with a distinctively British sound. Follow the link below and listen to Up to Now, the first track, to hear what I mean.
 
I don't know of any other album (even by the Dransfields) quite like it, and I love it.
 
I'm glad to say that it seems to have undergone a critical renaissance and is now regarded as a lost gem of the British folk-rock movement, as per this review on Allmusic (which contains the promised audio sample)
 
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kzftxqr5ldte
 
Perhaps this is of some comfort to the brothers in their middle-age, even if it doesn't make them rich. But then, they never seem to have been very interested in that, anyway.
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S J Birkill
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Re: The Fiddler's Dream
« Reply #1: 09.03.09 at 08:47 »
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on 09.03.09 at 02:36, Richard Bleksley wrote:
Perhaps this is of some comfort to the brothers in their middle-age, even if it doesn't make them rich. But then, they never seem to have been very interested in that, anyway.

We approached them in 1997 to consider an appearance at the Monyash Folk Festival (we had to justify the 'Folk' part somehow and I knew what I liked), but even then they were in some kind of semi-retirement, from performance at least, and not interested.
 
Steve
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Richard Bleksley
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My time has come to find a better way

   

Posts: 164
Re: The Fiddler's Dream
« Reply #2: 09.03.09 at 10:40 »
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Both brothers ended up running musical instrument repair shops, Barry in Hastings and Robin in Cornwall. Barry did release a couple of desultory albums in the nineties and, I believe, still does the (very) occasional gig.
 
Barry also had a part (as a blind Irish fiddle player, no less) in the 1984 Mutiny on the Bounty movie. But, yes, they've basically retired.
 
Glad to hear our Noble Webmaster shares my opinion of them, though.
 
(By the way, if that poll a couple of years back had been for specific individual albums rather than artists' entire outputs, The Fiddler's Dream would have been one of the ten to go with me to that desert island. Forgot to mention that.)
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colin_boag
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Re: The Fiddler's Dream
« Reply #3: 09.03.09 at 16:24 »
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Might I recommend the recently released John Boden (Bellowhead frontman) album, 'Songs from the floodplain' - I don't think you will be disappointed
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Colin
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