Years: 1965 - September 29, 1969
Styles: Folk Rock
Peter Bellamy - Concertina, Guitar, Vocals, Whistle (in band: 1965 - 1969)
Royston Wood - Tambourine, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1969)
Heather Wood - Vocals, Whistle (in band: 1965 - 1969)
Young Tradition was founded in 1965 by Peter Bellamy, Heather Wood and Royston Wood. They took their name from a club originally called The Grand Tradition and to avoid being called the Scottish Hoose Singers, proposed by organiser Bruce Dunnet.
They were influenced by the Copper Family, but also by traditional Balkan singing, the American Sacred Harp style, acts like Ewen MacColl, Peggy Seeger, the Pennywhistlers, Frankie Armstrong, Louis Killen, Cyril Tawney; a bit later than the other major unaccompanied folk act, the Watersons, their own influence (on Home Bru, Swan Arcade) continued to grow after they broke up.
Debut album The Young Tradition 1966 includes dynamic versions of "Byker Hill", "Lyke Wake Dirge", "The Innocent Hare" (reissued on Demon 1987); their dress and long hair placed them in the era of pop/rock acts of the '60s, a revelation to folkies but distracting from their act.
So Cheerfully Round and EP of sea chanties Chicken On A Raft 1967 were followed by Galleries 1968, an attempt to blend influences from early music, trad. folk and spoof Delta blues, with guests Dolly Collins, Dave Swarbrick and David Munrow, which went off at half cock (once reissued as Galleries Revisited). Their final album The Holly Bears The Crown, 1969 with Shirley & Dolly Collins was not released (by Argo), though odd tracks found their way out; it was finally issued by Fledg'ling '95.
The band split up in 1969 when Bellamy was fed up with the medieval tendencies the other two wanted to pursue. They also sessioned for Judy Collins, Dolly Collins, Matt McGinn, Tony Rose. Bellamy had begun a solo career; the Woods called their duo album No Relation 1977, to silence the question they'd heard too often. All three were on Bellamy's Oak, Ash & Thorn '70 and (with the Watersons) for his "When I Die" on Both Sides Then 1979. The only surviving member of the band is Heather Wood - Royston Wood sang with the Albion Country Band and Swan Arcade, and was killed 6 April 1990 in New Rochelle NY while helping a broken-down motorist, and Peter Bellamy committed suicide in 1991.
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