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Oysterband & June Tabor
** BBC FOLK AWARDS 2012 FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR June Tabor
** BBC FOLK AWARDS 2012 BEST GROUP
June Tabor & OysterbandThe band grew out of the earlier Fiddler\'s Dram and their side project Oyster Ceilidh Band. The name Oyster comes from the group\'s early association with the coastal town of Whitstable in East Kent, known for the quality of its oysters. Their first album, released under the Oyster Ceilidh Band name, was Jack\'s Alive (1978) on the Dingles record label. Subsequent albums, as Oyster Band (sometimes The Oyster Band) were released on the band\'s own Pukka Music label: English Rock \'n\' Roll: The Early Years 1800–1850 and Lie Back and Think of England, followed by Liberty Hall and 20 Golden Tie-Slackeners.
The lineup of the band changed over these albums. The first recorded line-up was:
Cathy Lesurf - vocals;
John Jones - melodeon, vocals;
Alan Prosser - guitars, violin;
Chris Taylor - guitar, bouzouki, harmonica, one-row melodeon, mandola;
Ian Telfer - violin, English concertina, saxophone;
Chris Wood - bass guitar;
Will Ward - bassoon, recorders, crumhorn, keyboards
When Chris Wood left the band to go travelling in Canada, he was replaced on bass guitar by returning founder member Ian Kearey. Cathy Lesurf subsequently left to join Ashley Hutchings\' Albion Band, and Will Ward also departed so that by the time they recorded Lie Back and Think of England the personnel had settled down to John Jones, Ian Kearey, Alan Prosser and Ian Telfer. For the album Step Outside they added Russell Lax on drums. Step Outside mixed self-penned songs, often with a political theme, with reworkings of traditional standards such as Hal-an-Tow.
After the 1987 release Wide Blue Yonder Kearey left the band to be replaced by Chopper (real name Ray Cooper). Subsequent albums included Ride, Little Rock to Leipzig and the June Tabor collaboration Freedom and Rain. Following this the band name changed to Oysterband. Drummer Lee Partis (who for several years was billed only by his forename) replaced Russell Lax for 1992\'s Deserters before Holy Bandits in 1993 propelled the band to the forefront of a booming folk rock scene alongside bands such as The Levellers.
In the nineties the band adopted a more overtly political stance, recording the harder The Shouting End of Life and collaborating with Chumbawamba to record "Farewell to the Crown", released as the b-side of the Tubthumping single. But recent releases Deep Dark Ocean, Here I Stand, Rise Above and Meet You There have seen the band return to a softer, more melodic sound while recent tours under the banner The Big Session have seen the band offer exposure to several young, emerging folk musicians like, Dan Donnelly, the Handsome Family and veteran musicians such as June Tabor. James O\'Grady (Uilleann pipes, fiddle, flute, vocals) regularly appeared on the Oysters\' albums and tours in the last few years.
John Jones, James O\'Grady and Ian Telfer provided vocals and instrumentation on Chumbawamba\'s album A Singsong and a Scrap, and Oysterband provided vocals for the song "Hull or Hell" on The Boy Bands Have Won.
In 2007, long standing drummer Lee Partis decided to take a sabbatical break to be able to concentrate on his work as a psychotherapist, counselling in prisons. In August 2008, he confirmed that he would be leaving the band permanently. The band have recently announced the appointment of "secret welshman" Dilwyn Davies as replacement drummer.
Following a 30th anniversary concert in December 2008 the band took a six-month sabbatical, during which John Jones and Chopper have both made solo albums.
Chopper - bass guitar, cello, vocals
John Jones - melodeon, lead vocals
Alan Prosser - guitars, viola, vocals
Ian Telfer - fiddle, English concertina, vocals
Dil Davies - drums
Dan Donnelly - mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, vocals (additional touring musician, not considered a member of the band)