Monday, May 26, 2008


"Promises" 1985

Recorded ar the Abattoir, Birmingham, December 1984;
Produced by Whippersnapper;
Engineered by Alan Caves and Dave Snead;
Sleeve design by Andrew Esson;
Front cover photo by Jim Botton

Dave Swarbrick, violin, mandolin, vocals;
Chris Leslie, violin, mandolin, vocals;
Martin Jenkins, mandocello, mandolin, flute, vocals;
Kevin Dempsey, guitar, vocals

01. Whenever
02. Banks of the Sweet Primroses
03. An Sean Bhean Bhocht / The Gipsy's Rest / Atholl Highlanders' Farewell to Loch Katrine
04. John Gaudie / John Broke the Prison Door
05. One Way Donkey Ride
06. Hard Times of Old England
07. Downtown Rodeo
08. Carolanning: Mrs. Bermingham / Mrs. Maxwell / John Jameson
09. Loving Hannah
10. Lizzie Wan

Tracks 1, 7 Martin Jenkins;
Track 2 trad. arr. Kevin Dempsey;
Tracks 3a, 4b, 6 trad. arr. Whippersnapper;
Track 3b Whippersnapper;
Track 3c Rose arr. Whippersnapper;
Track 4a Chris Leslie;
Track 5 Sandy Denny;
Tracks 8a,b Carolan arr. Dave Swarbrick;
Track 8c Carolan arr. Whippersnapper;
Track 9 words adapted Dave Swarbrick, tune trad. arr. Whippersnapper;
Track 10 words adapted Kevin Dempsey, tune Kevin Dempsey


"Tsubo" 1987

Recorded at Magritte Studios, London;
Engineered by Dan Priest;
Assisted by Eric Hine;
Cover design and artwork: Linda Hill;
Lay-out: Kevin Dempsey

Dave Swarbrick, violin, mandolin, vocals;
Chris Leslie, violin, mandolin, vocals;
Kevin Dempsey, guitar, vocals;
Martin Jenkins, mandocello, mandolin, flute, vocals

01. Farewell My Lovely Nancy (5:10)
02. The Pride of Kildare (6:45)
03. Rouge & Red Shoes (3:49)
04. I Wandered By a Brookside (5:13)
05. The Seven Keys (4:18)
06. Romanitza (5:10)
07. Deneze-Sous-Doue (On the Wall) (5:55)
08. Frank Dempsey's Lament and Joy (6:30)
09. My Little Fiddle (4:21)
10. There's a River (3:50)

Track 1 trad. arr. Whippersnapper;
Track 2 words adapted Kevin Dempsey, tune Kevin Dempsey;
Tracks 3, 6 Martin Jenkins;
Track 4 words trad., tune B. Berry;
Track 5 Dave Swarbrick;
Track 7 Chris Leslie;
Track 8 Kevin Dempsey;
Track 9 prelude Dave Swarbrick/ Kevin Dempsey, Dave Swarbrick;
Track 10 Stevie Winwood


posted by request...

Whippersnapper was formed in 1983 by Dave Swarbrick. His career to date meant he was already a legend on the folk scene - solo, with Beryl Marriott, The Ian Campbell Folk Group, Martin Carthy and, of course Fairport Convention. They were the first band he had brought together himself. Initial contact was with Martin Jenkins and Chris Leslie. Looking for a fourth member, Martin recommended fellow Coventry musician Kevin Dempsey to complete the quartet. Swarb now had three of the most respected acoustic string players in the country as his fellow musicians.

Martin Jenkins and Kevin Dempsey had both been members of Dando Shaft. After the group broke up in the early seventies, Martin joined Hedgehog Pie and Bert Jansch`s Conundrum, as well a pursuing a solo career. Kevin became an early exponent of world music, whose career embraced Indian classical, Latin, jazz-funk and big band: he played alongside such legendary figures as Alice Coltrane and David LaFlamme.

Chris Leslie was known both as an instrument maker and as a member of duos with his brother John and Steve Ashley; like Swarb he had played fiddle with Beryl Marriott`s groups. He had a growing reputation as a songwriter.

Whippersnapper made their debut at The Burnt Post, Coventry on January 15, 1984. The anticipation was enormous. Here was a coming together of great talents in an acoustic band able to command a stunning array of instruments (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bouzouki, mandocello, mandola, whistle, cittern, flute) with great virtuosity. Giving us a taste of what to expect, Swarb told the papers, "It is very advanced music, quite intricate and swings like mad."

In their first year together they played at the two most famous folk festivals in the UK - Cambridge and Cropredy. They were also the unlikely pioneers of the way the music business was about to go, since their first release was a live video of the Cambridge set, filmed four months before they even began recording their debut album.

Through the second half of the 1980s Whippsnapper remained one of the must-see (and must-hear) bands playing on the British acoustic music scene. Tour gigs were inevitable sell-out dates and festival organisers vied to book them. They released five albums - the classic Promises (1985), Tsubo (1987), the live album These Foolish Strings (1989), Fortune (1989) and Stories (1991). By the time the final album was released, Swarb had left the band he had formed, leaving the others to continue as a trio.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got both these on LP - excellent albums full of intricately arranged acoustic music, brilliantly played. Definitely worth a listen!

27 May, 2008 04:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have listened...: newelectricmuse is right!
Thanks, Oisín

29 May, 2008 21:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you

07 February, 2009 21:28  
Blogger bobbysu said...

thank you very much

05 April, 2009 13:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for both of these. I had no idea he had formed this band. Great stuff.

29 August, 2009 13:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to get these digitally, if you could make them available again.

26 November, 2011 04:58  
Blogger John H said...

Wow, I've only ever heard a few tracks from this era of Dave Swarbrick. Wonder if someone could re-upload these now that rapidsahre's nonexistent...

15 April, 2015 15:15  

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