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Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:50 am
by Jon G
Anybody remember this duo from the folk clubs in the early 70s? John Brown and Mike Draper purveyed an esoteric mix of romantic songs influenced by music-hall, played on a multitude of instruments including a phonofiddle, with incredibly funny introductions by John.

They also sold posters of their songs drawn by their manager and roadie, Bob Workman, which were great for student walls.

A friend of mine from those days, singer-songwriter Martin Stirrup, decided to dedicate a website to their memory, and with a bit of detective help from me we were able to trace the band members and put them in touch after several decades, which was great. There's also a recording by me hidden on the site of one of their hitherto unrecorded songs (learned from the wall of my student digs!).

Martin's also traced a Radio 1 broadcast from about 1974, with Tony Visconti on bass, which is notable in that the last 40 minutes was unrehearsed because the main band din't turn up! Well worth a listen, if only to compare the introductory stories with those on the record stored at the main site. Here:

PS - what prompted this post was that a saxophonist friend of mine has just told me she has a phonofiddle in her loft, rescued from a skip. I have a new instrument to learn.

Re: Gasworks

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:24 am
Wow what name to conjure with. I must have seen these guys loads of times and shared the same bill with them. It's so good to have these names from the past come up again. Well done Jon.

Re: Gasworks

Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:52 pm
by Jon G
I always rate Mike Draper as the finest phonofiddle player on the contemporary folk-rock scene.

I must say that would be a double-bill to conjure with, too - John Brown introductions followed by Gordon Giltrap introductions... there wouldn't be any need for music at all. My favourite one liner (as a banjo is being tuned to accompany an accordion): "That's the trouble with these chrome and wood instruments - they give you a tremendous feeling of power when you're strapped into them, but..."