Brothers Robin & Barry Dransfield, born in Yorkshire, England, joined together to form the British folk band the Dransfields in 1969. While Robin, the older of the two by three years, provided solid rhythmic accompaniment on guitar, Barry summoned an amazing array of melodies with his fiddle and guitar. As a duo, Robin & Barry Dransfield built their early following at the Harrogate Folk Club, where they shared the stage with such influential folk artists as Martin Carthy, Ewan MacColl, and the Watersons. Their previous experiences with a semi-professional New Lost City Ramblers-like bluegrass/old-timey band had taught them to sing harmony in a style that they dubbed "country and northeastern." Continuing to evolve as a band, the Dransfields moved to an acoustic/electric sound with the addition of vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Charlie Smith and drummer Brian Harrison. Two years of nonstop work peaked with the release of two duo/band albums, Rout of the Blues and Lord of All I Behold. The Dransfields toured with British singer/songwriter Ralph McTell and were invited to tour with Steeleye Span. They signed a recording contract with Warner Bros.
The streak of good luck ran out, however, when reports of their energetic performances were conveyed to Steeleye Span, who withdrew their invitation. Instead, the Dransfields were forced to tour the United Kingdom as opening act for American singer/songwriter Tom Paxton. Frustrations during the tour led to heated arguments between Robin & Barry Dransfield, resulting in the group disbanding. Although Barry credited the ambitious but poor-selling album The Fiddler's Dream, based on tales of a fictitious traveling fiddler, to the band, it was primarily a solo effort. While Barry remained active as a musician, recording several impressive solo albums, Robin found employment as a roadie for Dave & Toni Arthur. He released a solo album, Tidewave, in 1980.
Separated for nearly a decade, Robin & Barry Dransfield reunited to record an acoustic duo album, Popular to Contrary Belief, in 1977. They soon resumed their solo careers. A 39-track compilation spanning Robin & Barry Dransfield's discography (together and solo), Up to Now, was released on the Free Reed label in 1997. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi