Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
YOUNG TRADITION, The
UK folk group formed '65 by Peter Bellamy, Heather Wood and Royston Wood. Formed '65, taking the name from a club originally called The Grand Tradition and to avoid being called the Scottish Hoose Singers, proposed by organiser Bruce Dunnet. They were influenced by the Copper Family, but also by traditional Balkan singing, the American Sacred Harp style, acts like Ewen MacColl, Peggy Seeger, the Pennywhistlers, Frankie Armstrong, Louis Killen, Cyril Tawney; a bit later than the other major unaccompanied folk act, the Watersons, their own influence (on Home Bru, Swan Arcade) continued to grow after they broke up. Debut album The Young Tradition '66 incl. dynamic versions of 'Byker Hill', 'Lyke Wake Dirge', 'The Innocent Hare' (reissued on Demon '87); their dress and long hair placed them in the era of pop/rock acts of the '60s, a revelation to folkies but distracting from their act. So Cheerfully Round and EP of sea chanties Chicken On A Raft '67 were followed by Galleries '68, an attempt to blend influences from early music, trad. folk and spoof Delta blues, with guests Dolly Collins, Sandy Denny, Dave Swarbrick and David Munrow, which went off at half cock (once reissued as Galleries Revisited). Their final album The Holly Bears The Crown '69 with Shirley & Dolly Collins was not released (by Argo), though odd tracks found their way out; it was finally issued by Fledg'ling '95. All their original albums were on Transatlantic; The Young Tradition and Cheerfully Round were finally combined on a Castle/ Transatlantic CD '96, Galleries and No Relation scheduled for '97. Their track 'The Fox Hunt' on The Electric Muse '75, expanded as The New Electric Muse on CD, illustrates the way they added an element of fashion to a rediscovery of folk roots. They also sessioned for Judy Collins, Dolly Collins, Matt McGinn, Tony Rose. Bellamy had begun a solo career; the Woods called their duo album No Relation '77, to silence the question they'd heard too often. All three were on Bellamy's Oak, Ash & Thorn '70 and (with the Watersons) for his 'When I Die' on Both Sides Then '79. Royston Wood sang with the Albion Country Band and Swan Arcade, and was killed 10 April '90 in New Rochelle NY while helping a broken-down motorist; Bellamy committed suicide (see his entry).