Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas

Profile:
The band formed in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1980, in order to play for monthly dances at The Victory Club. Founder members Lizzy Howe-Pellant (melodeon) and Dion Cochrane (tenor banjo) were joined by Paul Burgess, Floss Headford and John Gill (fiddles), Martin Brinsford (sax) and Dave Haines (melodeon and concertina), and bringing in Richard Valentine on piano and as caller. It ran for a year or so in that form.

The Band personnel gradually changed over the years, and in around 1983, Rod Stradling (2-row melodeon) and Danny Stradling (percussion) - newly parted from the Old Swan Band - were asked to join, and John Gill changed from fiddle to bass. With this lineup, in 1985, they recorded a cassette called Demos, and a second one, Promos, in 1986, by which time Dion had left, replaced by Jon Moore (lead guitar) and they had added two rhythm guitar players, Tom Greenhalgh (from the Mekons) and Barn Stradling. At the end of 1986 they recorded a further 6 tracks which, together with the 5 Promos ones were published as Ethos. By 1987 the band had added Steve Goulding (drums), and with this lineup recorded the LP Let's Polkasteady: Edward the Second, Cooking Vinyl COOK 007, in 1987.

At a time when the emerging folk rock movement was flourishing as part of the broader folk revival, the band decided that a more natural connection would be with the reggae music of Jamaica, rather than the punk rock they were more familiar with. This came from the rationale that the two music forms were harmonically very similar, were both clearly folk music, the two nations sea-faring heritage, but most importantly to make the politically motivated argument that Britain was and always had been an island of immigrants and that this was reflected in the UK's musical heritage. There was also no doubt at the time of the slow and steady impact the West Indian communities, brought to the UK as part of the Windrush migration, was starting to have on British urban culture, and the early Edward II collective were heavily involved in the emerging anti-fascist Rock Against Racism movement.

The band made their LP debut in 1987 with Let's Polka Steady!, with British dub producer Mad Professor, which contained several reggae inspired instrumentals and is usually considered the highpoint for the original line up. However, it was as a live act that they made their name with a series of gigs at festivals throughout the UK and Europe. Further additions to the fluid line-up during the late 80s included Neil Yates (trumpet), Lorna Bailey (vocals), John Hart (trombone), Gavin Sharp (tenor saxophone), and Alton Zebby (drums), all of whom made their début on the second album Two Step To Heaven (1989).

The collective's centre of gravity moved with John Gill (bass player, producer and assistant engineer on Never Mind the Bollocks) to Manchester, where he soon developed connections with the reggae musicians surrounding Moss Side and specifically the Rastafarian organisation, The Twelve Tribes of Israel. From this fertile ground (and after John Gill’s departure) the long standing line-up, familiar to those that followed the band throughout the nineties, was formed
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[a2315217]

Artist

Albums

PLR 073, PLR073 Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - English Melodeon Players album art Martin Ellison, Tony Hall (2), Edward II And The Red Hot Polkas*, Dave Roberts (4), Roger Watson (5) Martin Ellison, Tony Hall (2), Edward II And The Red Hot Polkas*, Dave Roberts (4), Roger Watson (5) - English Melodeon Players(LP) Plant Life, Plant Life PLR 073, PLR073 UK 1986 Sell This Version
Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Polkasteady album art Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas Polkasteady (Album) Cooking Vinyl UK 1987 Sell This Version
Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Two Step To Heaven album art Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas Two Step To Heaven (Album) Cooking Vinyl UK 1989 Sell This Version
Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Wicked Men album art Edward II* Wicked Men (Album) Pure Bliss UK 1991 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

CHEF 001 Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Rose Of England / Dawn Run album art Oyster Band, The* / Edward II & The Red Hot Polkas* Oyster Band, The* / Edward II & The Red Hot Polkas* - Rose Of England / Dawn Run(7") Cooking Vinyl CHEF 001 UK 1987 Sell This Version
Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Bjorn Again Polka album art Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas Bjorn Again Polka (Maxi, Single) Mercury, Cooking Vinyl Europe 1989 Sell This Version
FRY007T, FRY 007T Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Swedish Polka album art Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas Swedish Polka(12") Cooking Vinyl, Cooking Vinyl FRY007T, FRY 007T UK 1989 Sell This Version
Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Dashing Away album art Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas Dashing Away (Single) Pure Bliss UK 1992 Sell This Version
PCDS 7009 Edward II* Wicked Fourplay(CD, EP) Rhythm Safari PCDS 7009 US 1992 Sell This Version
Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - Come Together... You & Me (Oh-Ay-Oh) album art Edward II* Versus The Development Corporation* Edward II* Versus The Development Corporation* - Come Together... You & Me (Oh-Ay-Oh) (Maxi) Zomba Records Europe 1995 Sell This Version

Compilations

E2CD1001 Edward The Second And The Red Hot Polkas - The Definitive Collection album art Edward II* The Definitive Collection(2xCD, Comp) E2 Music E2CD1001 UK 2009 Sell This Version

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