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Swan Arcade

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Renowned for their potent a cappella vocals and intricate close harmonies, Swan Arcade was a leading light of the British folk revival, drawing upon gospel, blues, and pop music traditions to create a unique bridge between past and present.

Swan Arcade was led by Yorkshire native Dave Brady, who began singing traditional folk songs in local pubs while still in his teens. After losing an arm in a motorcycle accident at age 19, he was forced to abandon the guitar but was still able to play the concertina. At a Leeds folk club Brady met his future wife, Heather, and together they began performing as a duo. With the 1970 addition of bass Jim Boyes, the couple launched Swan Arcade, taking the name from a Bradford-area shopping district recently demolished per the order of city officials.

Considered direct descendants of the unaccompanied close-harmony approach of mid-’60s acts like The Young Tradition and The Watersons, Swan Arcade nevertheless presented an eccentric and confrontational interpretation of folk traditions, including in their repertoire such rock & roll hits as the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” and the Kinks’ “Lola” alongside more conventional protest anthems. Upon signing to the Trailer label, Swan Arcade issued their self-titled debut LP in 1971. Despite critical acclaim the record fared poorly, and when relocation forced Boyes to resign, the group’s continued future looked dim.

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  • madsiuk1

    Awesome and i love the protest tracks they bring belife to my heart if only we could live by those morals now!

    17 May 2009 Reply
  • leedevens

    fantastic vocal harmonies

    22 Jan 2009 Reply

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