Dave & Toni Arthur

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Dave & Toni Arthur were a triple-threat music duo for much of the 1960s and '70s. Yet they started out not so much as musicians -- although they were that -- as academics and folk scholars. Toni had…
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Dave & Toni Arthur were a triple-threat music duo for much of the 1960s and '70s. Yet they started out not so much as musicians -- although they were that -- as academics and folk scholars. Toni had studied at the Royal Academy of Music from age nine (when she'd earned a scholarship), whilst Dave was a jack-of-all-trades and itinerant guitarist and banjo player, and after they met they traveled around the world performing. But at the start of the '60s they were mostly working as researchers, both with a prodigious knowledge of folk songs English and Celtic, and Toni Arthur worked for the BBC as the host of the British children's television shows Play School and Playaway, on which Dave Arthur would join his wife in performance. It was through those appearances that they became widely known in England as a singing duo before they ever started recording. It wasn't until the second half of the '60s that they made their first album, Morning Sounds on Tiptoe (1967). The latter was a 15-song release on the Transatlantic label, which was an immediate success, at least within the folk music community. The public discovered with that album that their scholarship was exceeded by their performing ability, and their albums have all been regarded as special events by folk aficionados ever since. They followed it up with The Lark in the Morning (1969) on Topic Records, which featured Barry Dransfield providing fiddle accompaniment; and Harken to the Witches Rune (1970), for the Trailer label, which featured Nic Jones providing accompaniment. They continued to work in music and television, as well as writing books and raising a family into the '70s and beyond. The first two of their three albums were re-released on CD in England during the late '90s.