Formed in 1992 in Oxford, England, the initial line-up of this acoustic folk group comprised Ian Giles (vocals), Matt Green (fiddle), Andy Turner (concertina, vocals), Tom Bower (whistle, flute, recorder, harmonium, vocals), Peter Acty (guitar), Joanne Acty (vocals), and Isobel Dams (cello). Their debut recording, The Oxford Ramble, was originally intended as a one-off, but the positive reaction to the album encouraged the members to continue working together. Di Whitehead replaced Dams on 1994’s Speed The Plough, which was another well-researched and beautifully played collection of traditional English folk songs. The Actys played on two more albums, the seasonal Wassail: A Country Christmas, released in 1995, and 1998’s Jack-In-The-Green, before departing the ranks. The up-and-coming young musician Benji Kirkpatrick (b. 1976, Shropshire, England; guitar, bouzouki) joined in 1999, making his debut on the following year’s A Taste Of Ale, which was also the last recording to feature founding member Bower and Whitehead. Sophie Polhill (vocals, cello, tambourine) and Marguerite Hutchinson (vocals) joined up for the recording of 2002’s Six For Gold, while further line-up changes saw the replacement of Kirkpatrick by Jon Fletcher (ex-Epona) in 2004.
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