~Barry Dransfield~

What have Mel Gibson, Mars Confectionery Ltd and Barry Dransfield got in common? (NB please take into account this is a poor attempt at wit) - the answer is.. Bounty!

Barry played the blind fiddler Michael Byrne in the film 'The Saga of HMS Bounty' which starred Mel Gibson, Daniel Day-Lewis and Anthony Hopkins. What is it with these fiddle players and the big screen? Mind you I think I'd have opted for the Ian Cutler route of getting up close to Britt Ekland in the 'Wicker Man'!

                 

Anyway, before that Barry did a few things of note. He made two of THE classic folk albums in the company of brother Robin - 'Rout of the Blues' and 'Lord of All I Behold'. By 1974 he was a solo artiste recording an album for Polydor which has the dubious distinction of having been voted rarest folk album by Record Hunter magazine (get searchin' it has an estimated mint condition value of £100+).

For me the best bit came in 1975 when back with Robin, and Brian Harrison and wittily calling themselves "DRANSFIED" the album 'The Fiddler's Dream' was produced. One of my all time favourites - almost certainly a contributory factor to its poor sales and the consequent split of the band. When it was re-released, of course, it received wide critical acclaim.

Barry, between 1978 and 1984 worked pretty hard, touring with Robin, the Albion Band and contributing to another of THE classics 'Morris On'. It was then that he got involved in the murky world of film and television composing for the film 'S.O.S Titanic', and the televison plays 'Adelaide Harris', 'Play Away', 'Samson and Delilah' and 'Ballymena Opera House'. In 1984 a second solo album appeared on Topic called 'Bowin' and Scrapin'' and that appeared to be that!

In 1986 Barry retired from live performance, opening a violin and cello restoration business in Hastings. But by 1994 he was obviously tired of the delights of Hastings, considerable though they are, because he released another album 'Be Your Own Man' and toured with Steeleye Span. Over the next two years he covered the nation's clubs and festivals and produced a final album (or is it?) called 'Wings of the Sphinx'. Then back to semi-retirement.

We liked Robin and Barry. 'tis true they always had a strong point of view.. not always one shared by the rest of mankind but they were fun, reliable and hugely talented. They kept wanting to buy our speaker cabinets from us - I wish they had now as I think they're bricked up in the walls at the Blacksmith's Arms!

Enough time has elapsed to re-charge the batteries - let's hear some more!

M&K©2002

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