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Oyster Heaven In Whitstable

Jody Kruskal

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My youtube channel is called jodysconcertina. At this point, there are 19 videos featuring my playing: songs from my CDs, offerings with fine art images and the early days of photography, live performances, studio recordings and my latest effort called...

Oyster Heaven in Whitstable

describing my yearly oyster odyssey in Kent and accompanied by the great tune Oyster River, played solo on my C/G Jefferies 38.

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Hi Frank and chas. Thanks.


Yes, the scenery is lovely. Whitstable is a very pretty town. The high street has lots of nice little shops catering to the tourists but its a gritty working town too. Interesting contrasts with the two aspects of Whitstable working harmoniously together. Then there are the delicious oysters, if you like that sort of food, and I certainly do!


Thanks for pointing out the Oysterband connection. Of course that makes sense... but I hadn't put 2&2 together before.

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I believe the Oyster band developed from original musicians for Oyster Morris.


Not exactly, John, but there was a connection.

Around 1974/5 there was a thriving folk club at The Duke of Cumberland in Whitstable. I was in one of the resident groups. Another (rather better!) group was going by the name of Fiddler's Dram. They were Alan Prosser, Ian Telfer, Chris Taylor and singer Cathy Lesurf, all I believe students or former students of the University of Kent at Canterbury. They were encouraged by various folk worthies and in due course released a recording of a song written by another club regular called Debbie Cooke - Day Trip to Bangor. Oysters fans may find it salutory to see the original "Top of the Pops" broadcast.

The club wanted to raise some funds to book bigger guests so they started organising ceilidhs. The music at the first one was provided by John Jones (another club regular) on melodeon with me hiding behind him with my Lachenal anglo! They got more organised after that and teamed John up with the Fiddler's Dram musicians. After a while, they realised the ceilidh band was getting more gigs than Fiddler's Dram. Then they dropped the word "ceilidh" and became just "Oyster Band". And the rest, as they say, is history. Ian, Alan and John, of course, remain with the band to this day and are now doing some gigs as a trio. Cathy went on to sing with the Albion Band and appeared as a guest vocalist on a Fairport album.

Remarkably, other regulars at the club went on to Folk fame. There were evenings when us humbler musicians got to perform with the likes of Ian, Alan and co. That's how Chris Wood got started. Nick Passmore (who accompanied Andy Turner on one of the FolkSongaWeek things) was there too.

As for the morris, I was dancing with Sandwich-based side Wantsum Morris at the time and was asked if I'd be interested in teaching a new side to be called Oyster Morris. I said no (they were initially a women's side and I still had reservations in those days!) so they turned to John Jones, who'd danced with Great Western in Devon. Good to see they're still going strong.

Any ole how, that's more than enough folk history for one post!


(edited to remove the definite article from the band name :) )

Edited by chas
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