THE FOGGY DEW-O STORY------- Circa -1965-1973.

 

Personnel - Danny Clarke & Lennie Wesley

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The Foggy Dew-O was formed from a chance meeting by two former ‘Beat group’ performers in

South Yorkshire-who became one Britain’s top contemporary Folk bands- playing a variety of

acoustic instruments, with a minstrel image as 20th Century Troubadours. 

Performing Traditional folk and contemporary songs with unusual style-and

approach – developing their own sound and distinctive image-courtesy of the

local curtain material shop with Lennie’s mum and Grannie’s sewing skills!

 

They became the first professional folk singers in their native Yorkshire,

and pioneered the South Yorkshire folk scene- at a time when traditional narrow

minded-ness dominated the ‘finger in ear’ folk clubs, diverting them try their music

on to the local Working Mens clubs and Cabaret scene, which was booming at that

time, and after performing three auditions spots on the concert secretary booking

nights in West Yorkshire- they received over 100 bookings to appear at those

WM clubs at £12 per night giving them a financial launching pad.

They used  those earnings, with their manager at that time Matt Moore –

to open their own folk concert venues, and promote themselves alongside  top British

and American artists of the time-giving the legendary Tom Paxton and Ralph McTell

their first Northern concerts – who appreciated Danny and Lennie – introducing their

then unknown songs – now classics –

                                        The Last Thing On My Mind and Streets of London,       

                                                                                                                       -  to a wider audience.

The father of bluegrass - Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass boys played at the Barnsley Bowling Alley lounge,

where Lennie and Danny had opened their Latest folk concert venue, conveniently located for

American touring artistes between the Royal Albert Hall and Manchester Free trade Hall.

They also featured Blues legend Rev. Gary Davis – ( who’s carer/roadie at the time became 

Steelye Span’s  Maddie Prior) - Ewan Mcall & Peggy Seeger / Mike Seeger / and old timie country

musicians Clarence Ashley and Tex Isley.

 

Other venues they opened around Barnsley were at Ardsley Working Men’s club and the

Strafford Arms public house, Stainborough – where the likes of Alex Campbell, Christy Moore, and

The Strawbs folk band were regular guests.

 

They successfully worked the Manchester college and university scene through College agent

Chris Wright who later went on to form the Chrysalis Group – His office colleague Don Reid had heard

of a new talent programme starting at Granada Television-he rang head of Light entertainment there

and fixed up the audition at granada studio’s with Johnny Hamp to use as the PR photo for

the Radio times cover. They passed the audition, and made their TV debut as the first ‘Firstimers’ a

new talent series in 1967 –also appearing three times in the same evening on ‘Scene at 6.30’ for

producer Barry Cockcroft – the same programme that launched the Beatles-eventually winning the talent

series with the best original song ‘Reflections’ which became their first debut single for

Decca records – before recording two albums for Decca – despite Dick Rowe, the Decca A & R boss

initially turning them down ( infamous for also turning down the Beatles ) -  but the persistence of Decca

talent scout, Peter Shelley who later became their recording manager, persevered and negotiated a

three year recording contract for them. (Peter went on to later have chart success himself with two

number ones; ‘Love me love My dog’ being one, - and created Alvin Stardust and Magnet Records.)

He proved his point with Decca, as the first album Foggy Dew-O and the single ‘Reflections sold well.

They were the first recording artists to be offered original songs from a then unknowns;

John Denver and  Joni Mitchell – ( but Dick Rowe refused to let them record ‘Both sides Now’ for the

first album in 1967 – on the grounds that it wasn’t commercial – the song went on to  become a

number one hit single for Judy Collins a year later – and went on to be a classic song with over

600 recordings ) – they also had similar refusals with other songs which went on to become

standard classics; ‘Streets of London’ – ‘Me and Bobby Mcgee’ – ‘Reason to Believe’ – and later

John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to name a few.

 

Always innovative-they were the first dual presenters on BBC Radio 2 with their own series

‘My kinda Folk’ - and regular guests on BBC's  popular weekly live series ‘Country meets Folk’.

They launched the first Folk series on BBC Radio Sheffield-covering festivals  working in studio

and live concerts, presenting three successful series, before handing over to their folkie mate

Tony Capstick.

They also were TV regulars on Yorkshire TV on ‘Calendar’ with

Jonathan Aitken, Austin Mitchell and Richard Whiteley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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