b. Keith Cyril Manifold, 2 April 1947, Biggin By Hartington, near Buxton, Derbyshire, England, d. 22 May 2005, Sussex, England. Manifold learned to play guitar and after completing his education, he sought a singing career. He was influenced by country artists such as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. He was also greatly inspired by the recordings and particularly the yodels of Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) and quickly became one of the few British artists to become completely proficient in the art of yodelling. He made his professional debut at a local club in Derbyshire in June 1965. In 1974, he became the first UK country artist to benefit from appearances on television’sOpportunity Knocks, eventually finishing second to the series’ overall winner Lena Zavaroni. He made his first recordings for the Westwood label in 1974. In 1975, he performed the winning song, ‘Who’s Gonna Bring Me Laughter’, in the 1975Opportunity Knocks Songwriters Competition, which led him to record for a major label, and he was also voted the Billboard Best British Solo Artist at London’s Wembley Festival. In 1977, he recorded for DJM and in September 1978, he was sponsored and taken to the USA to record an album in Nashville, using Nashville musicians. In 1986, he varied his style to record a gospel album, on which he was backed by the Pilling Brass Ensemble. Manifold maintained his popularity over the years, he toured extensively in the UK and also regularly played in several European venues. Occasionally he performed onstage with his two daughters. He also owned an entertainments agency and was involved with promotional work and a recording studio. He died just before a gig after suffering a sudden heart attack.
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