Oyster Band

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Imagine a fusion of folk and rock, of traditional songs and self- penned music that has something to say. This sums up a five-piece band that is now one of the best known names on the English folk scene. The group’s roots are in ceilidh music; they started out as the Whitstable Oyster Co. Ceilidh Band in November 1975. Over the next 6 years they evolved into more of a concert band and following the departure of their female singer, Kathy LeSurf, started writing more of their own material.

I first came across them on a radio folk programme, when I heard their classic song “The Oxford Girl” – this version from their album, “The Wide Blue Yonder” featuring guest vocalist Christine Collister and some great harmonies. Other favourite tracks are “Diamond for a Dime“ from the “Deserters” album and a traditional song given a driving rhythm, “Hal-an-Tow”, which appears on their debut album “Step Outside”.

One of the band’s best selling albums is the collaboration with gifted female folk artist June Tabor, on an album of cover songs. This includes the haunting “Tomorrow’s Parties”, written by Lou Reed.

The band are still touring and making great albums and have been getting airplay on BBC Radio 2. I got to see them live in their final concert of the millennium – in Congleton!

Check them out on their official website - http://www.oysterband.co.uk/

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