Mike and Mandy Morton formed Spriguns Of Tolgus at their own folk club in Cambridge, England. On their first two, self-financed albums, the Mortons were joined by Rick Thomas (fiddle) and Chris Russon (electric guitar). Playing soft focus electric folk, the band signed with Decca, and were encouraged by Steeleye Span’s Tim Hart, who produced Revel, Weird & Wild in 1976. By then known as the Spriguns, the group enlisted Dick Powell (keyboards), Tom Ling (fiddle), and Chris Woodcock (drums). Mandy Morton’s songs reworked traditional ballads, making them difficult to distinguish from the original folk material. Powell was retained for Time Will Pass, and Australians Wayne Morrison (guitar) and Dennis Dunstan (drums) were recruited. Mandy Morton became the group’s focus, and later releases were credited to her. Magic Lady involved several important folk guest artists, and when Morton signed for Polydor Scandinavia in 1979, she released her best work for some time. ‘Scandinavia is great, ’ she said in 1980, ‘they just turn up and listen to the music and don’t think about categories or pigeon holes.’ During the early 80s she toured with a straight rock band, and included a tribute on one of her albums to her all-time heroine Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane etc.) - a paisley version of ‘Somebody To Love’. The warm feyness of Morton’s vocals fired the Spriguns, although they failed to break through despite a major recording deal. Mandy Morton was subsequently a presenter at BBC Radio Cambridge. The Spriguns releases later became the target of record collectors.
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