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John Kirkpatrick

+ {John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris} + {The Umps And Dumps}

Born 8 August 1947, Chiswick, London, master of the button accordion, concertina and melodeon, JOHN KIRKPATRICK has extended the limited boundaries of said Celtic-type instruments way beyond the realms of Morris-on folk music.
Following time spent in late 60s semi-pro acts like the Dingles Chillybom Band and the Troubadours, an invitation by TONY ROSE led to a session on ROSE’s 1970 set, `Young Hunting’, and the follow-up, `Under The Greenwood Tree’; the eponymous LP by ROY BAILEY was another to give his career a monetary boost. Alongside the cream of England’s folk-rock gentry (ASHLEY HUTCHINGS and RICHARD THOMPSON among them), JOHN KIRKPATRICK also found time to perform on SHIRLEY COLLINS AND THE ALBION COUNTRY BAND’s ground-breaking album, `No Roses’, while 1972 marked his inaugural solo LP (featuring HUTCHINGS and THOMPSON), entitled JUMP AT THE SUN {*6}; look out too for `The Battle Of The Field’, recorded 1973 and released along the same time (’76) as PLAIN CAPERS {*7}, a solo set showcasing MARTIN CARTHY and others.
Together with his wife and oboe player Sue Harris (a combination to rival that of friends RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON), THE ROSE OF BRITAIN’S ISLES (1974) {*6} became the first of four polka-vs-reel’n’hornpipe-type joint efforts; the others being AMONG THE MANY ATTRACTIONS AT THE SHOW WILL BE A REALLY HIGH CLASS BAND (1976) {*6}, SHREDS AND PATCHES (1977) {*6} and FACING THE MUSIC (1980) {*5}. Meanwhile, in between him joining STEELEYE SPAN (between 1977-78) and again as part of The ALBION BAND (for a musical adaptation of Flora Thompson’s `Lark Rise’ in 1980), KIRKPATRICK slipped out the weird but classic self-penned GOING SPARE (1978) {*7}; the Umps & Dumps set THE MOON’S IN A FIT (1980) was another with Sue Harris and band. A session man by trade, and a great one at that, the diversity of the many records he’d played on included GERRY RAFFERTY’s `Night Owl’ and PERE UBU’s `The Tenement Years’, while the aforementioned RICHARD THOMPSON employed John on many occasions.
Bypassing further rare Broadside LPs with Sue in the early 80s, and a few decades spent as an integral part of BRASS MONKEY (alongside MARTIN CARTHY, Howard Evans, Richard Cheetham and Martin Brinsford) plus ROY BAILEY’s BAND OF HOPE, the JOHN KIRKPATRICK BAND have been part of the ever-evolving Fledg’ling stable of folk artists since 1996’s FORCE OF HABIT {*7}; WELCOME TO HELL (1997) {*6}, and the solo ONE MAN AND HIS BOX (1998) {*6}, brought about a sort of renaissance for ye olde-styled trad-folk. The post-millennium period hasn’t seen a let-up for KIRKPATRICK, courtesy of a fine series of squeezebox sets from 2001’s MAZURKA BERSERKER {*6} to 2004’s THE DUCK RACE {*6} and 2007’s double MAKE NO BONES {*7}, to DANCE OF THE DEMON DAFFODILS (2009) {*6}, GOD SPEED THE PLOUGH (2011) {*6} and EVERY MORTAL PLACE (2013) {*6}.
Added to the fact he’d joined “comeback” folk-rock act, HOME SERVICE (in place of JOHN TAMS), KIRKPATRICK’s appeal was ever more widening.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Aug2015-Sep2016

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