The Etchingham Steam Band was the product of sheer expediency -- parts of England faced brown-outs and other power cuts during the mid-1970's, and one result was that Ashley Hutchings was left with a series of only partly completed recordings of his latest work. His longtime friend Martin Carthy suggested that he form an acoustic ensemble and take it on the road, and the result was the Etchingham Steam Band, taking its name from the Sussex village where Hutchings and his then wife Shirley Collins lived. Consisting of Hutchings and Collins with Terry Potter, Ian Holder, and Vic Gammon, with Simon Nicol providing an occasional bit of support and violinist Peter Knight and others joining in, they played clubs and folk festivals across England -- they were never to record a complete LP of their own but they appeared on several folk compilation albums, and eventually spawned the Albion Dance Band. Their repertory, drawn principally from material native to Sussex, included dances, traditional folk material, and carols. In 1995, a compilation their recordings was assembled from the quintet's scattered live and studio tracks, and their work has appeared on various Ashley Hutchings career compilations.
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