Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher
|Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher|
|Dave Fletcher, Bill Whaley|
They have been singing together now for about forty years, originally as members of a Dubliners influenced group called Sluice Bridge which worked in and around the East Midlands, and later simply as a duo. They were also members of Kesteven Morris, where Bill was musician and Dave was a dancer, and were both in the Higgledy Piggledy Ceilidh Band, which was an offshoot of the morris side. Bill was still with the band in 2001 but Dave left in 1993 after some 15 years with them, and it was this move that gave the impetus to the growth and development of their duo work. Dave: "Me leaving the band did us a lot of good, 'cos instead of getting together every week with the band, we had to meet to practice as a duo and it made us look at doing new material." It also enabled them to work on developing the wonderfully mellow harmonies which are such a characteristic part of their singing. Bill: "When we started off Dave did the singing and I just accompanied him and kept me mouth shut!" Well that has certainly changed, not only with Bill singing, but also his stage input, but he still provides most of the music, with English and Duet concertina, Harmonium, Accordion and Northumbrian pipes.
Their first CD, 'Their Fine Array', recorded in 1996 was largely responsible for helping the pair, once referred to as "Lincolnshire's best kept secret", to become known to a much wider audience. Martyn Wyndham-Read was playing a Lincolnshire folk club, and afterwards he heard the recording, with Bill and Dave's version of 'Buncloudy', a song in Martyn's own repertoire. He listened to the rest of the CD and enjoyed it so much that he got in touch with the duo the following day, going on to give them help and encouragement and bringing them to the notice of a few Festival organisers. "Martyn said we needed a kick up the backside, and we did - but he did a lot to help us, telling people and getting them to book us. He's been excellent for us, we can't praise him enough." They soon had a few festival appearances, from which came club bookings, and from those the demand for a second CD.
- Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher on YouTube
- Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher at The Living Tradition
- Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher - Old Men & Love Songs - article by Mel Howley, The Living Tradition, Issue 44 July/August 2001
- Dave Fletcher - Not the tuck shop - the Old Bostonian Store
- The Higgledy Piggledy Band
- Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher - Old Men & Love Songs - article by Mel Howley, The Living Tradition, Issue 44 July/August 2001]