1980 – present (39 years)
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom
- John Gill
Edward II & The Red Hot Polkas was the initial name of the English band world/folk band Edward II.
The band formed in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1980, in order to play for monthly dances at The Victory Club. Founder members Lizzy Howe-Pellant (melodeon) and Dion Cochrane (tenor banjo) were joined by Paul Burgess, Floss Headford and John Gill (fiddles), Martin Brinsford (sax) and Dave Haines (melodeon and concertina), and bringing in Richard Valentine on piano and as caller. It ran for a year or so in that form.
The Band personnel gradually changed over the years, and in around 1983, Rod Stradling (2-row melodeon) and Danny Stradling (percussion) - newly parted from the Old Swan Band - were asked to join, and John Gill changed from fiddle to bass. With this lineup, in 1985, they recorded a cassette called Demos, and a second one, Promos, in 1986, by which time Dion had left, replaced by Jon Moore (lead guitar) and they had added two rhythm guitar players, Tom Greenhalgh (from the Mekons) and Barn Stradling. At the end of 1986 they recorded a further 6 tracks which, together with the 5 Promos ones were published as Ethos. By 1987 the band had added Steve Goulding (drums), and with this lineup recorded the LP Let's Polkasteady: Edward the Second, Cooking Vinyl COOK 007, in 1987.
The band made their LP debut in 1987 with Let's Polka Steady!, with British dub producer Mad Professor, which contained several reggae inspired instrumentals and is usually considered the highpoint for the original line up. However, it was as a live act that they made their name with a series of gigs at festivals throughout the UK and Europe. Further additions to the fluid line-up during the late 80s included Neil Yates (trumpet), Lorna Bailey (vocals), John Hart (trombone), Gavin Sharp (tenor saxophone), and Alton Zebby (drums), all of whom made their début on the second album Two Step To Heaven (1989).
At the start of the 90s the band shortened their name to Edward II.
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