Meet the band

Wynford Glyn Jones

I started learning to play the guitar at the age of 9 to be like Hank Marvin.

Played my first live performance at secondary school Christmas concert 1964 playing Shadows tunes and Beatles songs.

It was during this period I became interested in writing short stories winning the school Eisteddfod for 2nd year compositions 1964.
I continued to play in school bands covering blues and soul music. During the Flower Power era when people were getting turned on to American West Coast hippie music
I heard the Dubliners singing Pat worked on the Railway and became an
instant convert to folk music.
At a party I heard Bob Dylan`s Blonde on Blonde album and was
knocked out by his use of mixing acoustic and electric instruments in a folk idiom,
and his use of story telling through song.
In the early 70`s I started playing in local folk clubs forming a duo with my
good mate Roger Griffiths, calling ourselves Gruff. After a while this duo grew into a folk band with my younger brother Anthony on vocals.
With the departure of Roger we then added drums, bass and keyboard and became a folk rock band called Shunter (later changing our name to Katch).
1977 saw me branching out on my own equipped with a handful of self penned songs which led to demo tapes being recorded and sent to various record companies.

1979 I wrote the Chartist song cycle along with fellow musicians Geri Thomas and Geoff Cripps from the Islwyn Folk Club, culminating in a song/narrative cycle which received critical acclaim and led to the release of The Chartists LP in 1982.

1979 also saw me leaving my “proper job” as an electrician with the National Coal Board, which I’d been doing since I started my apprenticeship in 1968, to concentrate more on music and contract work.

In 1983 I worked with Phil Cope at St. Donats Arts Centre putting music to Welsh poet Duncan Bush’s words for a street play entitled ‘Sticks and Stones’ performed live on the streets of Llantwit Major.

In 1987 a second album, Cause for Complaint, was released. This album contained songs about life in the South Wales valleys after the 1984 miners strike. The album was also released on the Hypertension record label in Germany where we toured to promote it.

1989 saw me working with Phil Cope again providing songs and music for his adaptation of the building of Barry Docks, another musical / dramatisation called ‘Built for Two Halfpennies’ in which The Chartists also performed.

1990 was the final performance that the Chartists played before going our separate ways.

Both myself and fellow ‘Chartist’ Laurence Eddy kept in touch and played the odd gig together though out the 90`s.

The 90’s also saw me playing in cabaret show bands (putting my Shadows tunes to good use again) and returning to full time engineering work.

1999 myself and Laurence ran the Platform Folk club at the Ynysddu Hotel on a monthly basis encouraging a new generation of singers/musicans.

With the Platform Folk Club closing in 2004 I decided to take a ‘back seat’ on performing live and settle with my ‘coco and slippers’ of a night.

2009 I was coaxed by Laurence out of folk retirement returning to stage with a trio called Lauford, made up of myself, Laurence and Nigel Hodge. Together we played a mixture of contemporary and self penned songs and tunes, releasing a CD called Over The Land in September 2010.

2011 following a conversation with Geri who had been approached by Newport Chartist Society asking would the Chartists be available for a performance at the anniversary gig 4th November, both myself and Geri were joined by Laurence, regrouped and re-recorded the first album in its entirety ready for the gig. We are now in the process of promoting ourselves as The Chartists Rise Again.

I am currently in the process of writing new songs, one being The Universal a song about the Senghenydd Mining Disaster in October 1913. It was the biggest explosion in British Coal Mining history in which 439 men and boys lost their lives.

Laurence Eddy

“I’ve has been playing acoustic guitar since 1971 in bands Dusty, Rash Tactics, Thin Wallet, The Chartists and more recently, Lauford with Wynford Jones and Nigel Hodge. I’ve been a regular performer at folk clubs in South Wales since 1971. I recently contributed to the recording of Alan Coles’ album “Play Something We Know”. My time with the Chartists took me further afield to exotic foreign venues such as Trowbridge, Bury, Towersey and a tour of Germany .

My early influences include a mix of British and American artistes such as CSNY; John Martyn; Dave Evans; Jonathon Kelly; Jackson Browne; Jimmie Spheeris; Paul Penfield; America . More recently I’ve been impressed by the likes of Colin Hay; Boo Hewerdine and revisited Bruce Cockburn. Generally speaking, crisp clean acoustic guitars everywhere catch my ear. A particular interest in the last few years has been Jimmy Wahlsteen, an amazing Swedish guitarist.

I play mainly in alternate tunings, particularly DADGAD. My guitars live in that strange world. I play an Ovation Balladeer 1982 (sometimes high strung/Nashville Tuning); a Taylor Big baby 2002; a Taylor 414CE 2010 and a Taylor GS Mini 2011. An Ozark Tenor guitar recently joined my collection. I claim the Mini is really for grand daughter Daisy, but I’ll make sure it’s well mellowed by the time she’s grown into it! ;o)”

Geri FosterThomas

Music and me….the early years:

When I was a little lad, I listened to my Dad singing, he was a bit of a ‘crooner’ who used to sing Hogey Carmichaels ‘Stardust’ to my Mam….He showed me it was ok to sing. He also played harmonica and taught me that as well.

In Aberbargoed junior school I enjoyed the weekly radio programme where I first heard and sang Shanties and other folk songs as well as listening to classical music such as ‘Peter & the Wolf’. I also attended Caersalem Baptist Chapel where all the old Welsh hymns were sung with typical welsh gusto. I didn’t have much time for religion but I enjoyed the singing. Music was starting to be important to me.

Then as I moved into my teens and started to go to watch the rugby with my Dad, once again Welsh hymns were the order of the day, particularly at Internationals. Then when I started playing rugby, we sang a different sort of rugby song and I learned that I could pitch them so that everyone could join in, so “start us off Ger” became a regular call.

At about the same timeI moved schools to join the sixth form at Bedwellty Grammar School where I came across an inspired and inspiring music teacher called Hettie Watkins who managed to win over a group of disgruntled 17yr old boys by teaching us to sing in harmony; initially rugby songs…. the clean ones, plus Welsh hymns again and then into operetta such as ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ and arias from operas.The Slaves Chorus from Nabocco is still one of my favourites.

At the same time pop music was being heavily influenced by Black American Blues singers so in addition to listening to Cream with Eric Clapton, I started going back to the roots with Howling Wolf, Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcgee plus others shaping musical tastes. A buttie of mine, Nigel Williams played good honkytonk blues piano, which often led to raucous sessions singing and playing harmonica.

After A levels we scattered to different universities and colleges. I ended up in Cardiff where I met Richard Thomas a budding singer songwriter who introduced me to other singer songwriters; Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jon Martin plus bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It was at this time that the 70’s Folk revival started with bands like Fairport Convention and Steel eye Span reintroducing Modern Britain to its folk heritage. Some of my favourites of that period were Robin and BarryDransfield. I started going to the folk club at the Marchioness of Bute near our flat. It was hear I first sang in a folk club.

When I moved home from Cardiff, I started going to the Newbridge Folk Club which eventually morphed into Islwyn Folk Club and I started singing unaccompanied Traditional Folk music sole on a regular basis. It was her that I met the singer songwriters who eventually formed the band called the Chartists and started writing songs. After this meeting, I also learned from my Uncle Lepo who was a folk singer himself that in fact there was a long tradition of folk singing in my family and that an ancestor of mine who was a Triple Harpist, singer and composer was on the Chartists March on Newport and that he took a musket ball in the leg on the steps of the West gate Hotel. Destiny had come full circle.

Andrew Eddy

Andrew first picked up an acoustic guitar at age fourteen and within six months had more or less picked his dad’s thirty years of experience clean. Visits to South Wales folk clubs as a duo with his pal Alastair Britten made a great impression on a much older generation. Andrew was making strides into electric guitar in a short while and he and drummer Alastair formed a school rock band that went on to play on the main stage at St David’s Hall Cardiff. After three years in University Andrew began roadying for 4th Street Traffic, Alastair’s latest band.

When their bass player left Andrew was invited to replace him and following a steep learning curve was on the road with the band within a fortnight.. Having won several battle of the bands competitions they ended up in a final in a German Festival. He now helps 4th Street out by standing in on electric and acoustic guitar as well as bass while adding in some very tight harmonies. This can be heard on 4th Street’s albums where some of Andrew’s own song writing is included. One of his claim’s to fame is that 4th Street Traffic were the first band to play at Cardiff Football Club’s new ground as the opening support for the Stereophonics.

When the Chartists’ bass player dropped out during re-recording of their album Laurence invited Andrew to session on full gigs that autumn and we haven’t been disappointed. Andrew’s Fender Precision bass slipped in perfectly with the Chartists’ line up giving a solid bottom end to balance the dynamics.

As new songs are written we hope to make use of his guitar and vocal talents.