Pop Folk

The Ian Campbell Folk Group

The Ian Campbell Folk Group The Ian Campbell Group was a renowned English folk group. Initially formed in 1956 in Birmingham as the Clarion Skiffle Group, the band was renamed the Ian Campbell Folk Group in 1958 and became one of the most respected, popular and influential folk groups of the British folk scene of the 1960s. Led by folk legend Ian Campbell (born 10 June 1933 in in Aberdeen, Scotland; died 24 November 2012), the band at times included Dave Swarbrick and Dave Pegg (the two of whom would later feature in folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention).

Ian Campbell was born June 10, 1933 in Aberdeen, Scotland and his family moved to Birmingham in 1946. He formed the Clarion Skiffle Group in the mid 1950s along with his sister Lorna Campbell who was also the singer. They were later joined by guitarist Dave Phillips and banjo player Gordon McCulloch, and by 1958 were known as the Ian Campbell Four.

By 1960, McCulloch had been replaced by John Dunkerley and the group was also joined by violinist Dave Swarbrick (born April 5, 1941 in London). The group became well-known on the local folk music scene and played regularly around Birmingham, often appearing at The Crown Pub on Station Street. It was there that they played on a live recording that was released as Ceilidh At The Crown in 1962. The following year, the group was signed to Transatlantic Records and released their first album entitled This Is The Ian Campbell Folk Group. At around this time, Dave Phillips left and was replaced by Brian Clark.

The Ian Campbell Group soon established themselves as a highly proficient live act who became well known for their instrumental abilities as well as Ian Campbell's talent as a songwriter. Tours and television appearances followed, and in March of 1965 the group even managed to get a hit single with their rendition of Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin'. The group's major strength however, lay in their live performances where the line-up was often supplemented by top session musicians.

In 1966, Dave Swarbrick left to become a major player in the British folk scene and later joined the well known group Fairport Convention. Bass player Dave Pegg from the Birmingham group The Uglys joined the Ian Campbell Group in 1967 and a few years later would also leave to join Fairport Convention.

Despite many further personnel changes, the Ian Campbell Folk Group continued to tour and release records throughout the 1960s and 1970s although tragically, John Dunkerley died of Hodgkinsons disease in 1977 at only 35 years old. The group disbanded in the late 1970's but their status in folk music circles has continued to increase since then as one of the earliest significant British folk groups.
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