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Barry Dransfield
Folk fiddleBarry Dransfield, BiographyFolk fiddle


Barry began playing folk clubs in his native Yorkshire when just fourteen, but did not turn pro until five years later. Teaming up with his brother Robin they went on to make two albums for Bill Leader that are still regarded as classics: 'Rout Of The Blues' (1970) and 'Lord Of All I Behold' (1971). The former not only sold enough to give it a top five place these days, but was also voted Melody Maker's folk album of the year. On the back of this success came a management deal with the svengali of the times Jo Lustig and a record deal with Warner/Reprise, but an artistic disagreement lead to the cancellation of both contracts before any product could emerge.
The folk fiddle player
The fiddle player
From 1971 Barry was working consistently, doing tours with Robin and also stints with the Albion Band which included recording the legendary 'Morris On' album. In 1972 he went off to work solo and recorded an album for Polydor entitled 'Barry Dransfield'. It was voted rarest folk album in an article in Record Hunter magazine, which speculated that a mint copy would currently change hands for over £400! In 1975 he rejoined brother Robin and ex-Longdancer Brian Harrison to form the band Dransfield, which signed to Transatlantic Records. The resulting album, 'The Fiddler's Dream', a concept album mostly written by Barry, was ahead of its time and sold disappointingly, and the band split shortly thereafter. The album was re-released on CD to great critical acclaim by Castle, who now own the Transatlantic catalogue. 'The Fiddler's Dream' was followed in 1977 by another album from Barry and Robin entitled 'Popular To Contrary Belief', released on Free Reed who later went on to compile and release Up To Now, a 39 track double CD which includes 11 new and un-issued tracks.
Barry with Cliff Aungier
Sharing a joke with Cliff Aungier

Between 1978 and 1984, Barry became involved in the world of film and T.V., composing for the film 'S.O.S. Titanic' and the T.V. plays 'Adelaide Harris', 'Play Away', the BAFTA nominated 'Samson And Delilah' and 'Ballymena Opera House'. He also went to Tahiti with Mel Gibson, Daniel Day-Lewis and Anthony Hopkins to play the blind fiddler Michael Byrne in 'The Bounty'. In 1978 he released a second solo album 'Bowin' and Scrapin'' on the Topic label.

The Bounty - Michael Byrne
Filming 'The Bounty

In 1986 Barry retired from live performance, opening a violin and cello restoration business in Hastings, where he now lives. The release in 1994 of 'Be Your Own Man' and a subsequent UK tour with Steeleye Span marked his public return to making music. During a two year period from 1994 - 96, Barry played almost every club and festival in the UK as well as recording a second album, 'Wings Of The Sphinx', for Rhiannon.

Barry in the workshop
In the workshop

Barry has now made a new album, 'Barry Dransfield Unruly', which is on his own label: Violin Workshop. This brings together his two obsessions - music and instrument restoration.

Barry Dransfield Unruly
Latest release 'Unruly'

Barry in the studio

Barry playing cello

Off the chest

Fast Fiddlin'

In the studio during 'Unruly' sessions
Man and cello in perfect harmony
'Off the chest'
Fast Fiddlin'