Thursday, December 31, 2009

Folkobit: Tim Hart

A founder member of Steeleye Span, Tim Hart, died on Christmas Eve.

Hart had been working with Maddy Prior when the pair were approached by Ashley Hutchings, fresh from Fairport Convention, with a view to creating a new band. The original line-up, with Terry and Gay Woods, collapsed early on; the Woods were cut and replaced by Martin Carthy and Peter Knight.

This version of Steeleye Span enjoyed success on the folk circuit, but a further line-up change introduced a sound drawing more firmly on rock. Hart became, perhaps, the world's greatest electric Appalachian dulcimer player during this period.

The new mix worked well - the band did a stadium tour of the US and hooked up with Mike Batt. This collaboration led to the high-water mark for the band, the UK number five hit All Around My Hat, in 1975.

The band continued, but with diminishing success and in 1983 Hart quit. Beset by ill-health, he moved to the Canary Islands, where he worked as a writer and photographer.

Hart returned to Britain this year for treatment for lung cancer; this proved ultimately unsuccessful and he returned home to La Gomera last month. Hart, who was 61, is survived by his second wife, Conny, and two children.

This is All Around My Hat, performed on Crackerjack in 1976:


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