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Scrumpy & Western

The definitive guide to the West Country music

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The Yetties

"Dorset's Scrumpy & Western Stars!"

biography | discography | gigs | gallery | links

Who Are The Yetties?

The Scrumpy & Western website would not be complete without including a mention of Dorset's famous sons The Yetties. This Dorsetshire quartet took their name from their home village of Yetminster. They formed in the early 1960s to play for traditional dance evenings, and were called the Yetminster and Ryme Intrinseca Junior Folk Dance Display Team; luckily this was shorted to The Yetties; and the name stuck.

The band's original line-up consisted of percussionist Maurice John "Bonny" Sartin (born: 22th October 1943), guitarist/banjo-player and ex-pat Londoner Malcolm "Mac" McCulloch (born: 12th December 1945), the highly talented and multi-instrumentalist Peter Cecil Shutler (born: 6th October 1945) who played accordion, keyboards, penny whistle, concertina and bowed psaltery) and singer Bob Common (born: 26th December 1940). For recording purposes, fiddle player Oscar Burridge was drafted into the line-up but he was never part of the band.

The band played their first ever gig in 1961, and were soon performing at the Sidmouth Folk Festival providing the music for the Yeovil-based Wessex Morris Men. They quickly became established as a cornerstone of the South West folk dance scene, regularly performing at the Yeovil Folk Dance club. In 1967 the band quit their respective day jobs and went professional. Their first recorded release was on the Festival At Towersey album released the year later, and in 1969 they released their debut album Fifty Stone Of Loveliness on the Acorn label.

In 1970, after the release of their second album Who's A'Fear'd, The Yetties were snapped up by Argo Records (a company specialising in "British music played by British artists"!) who were at the time a subsidiary of Decca. The band released a further eight albums on the Argo label before being moved onto the higher profile Decca label for whom they recorded another five. The group also appeared on a Cyril Tawney album in 1972, Cyril Tawney In Port, providing background music and vocals. Another 1972 release, Bob Arnold, Mornin' All, featured the group providing background music and vocals for Bob Arnold. The same year, the group's version of The Archers theme tune, "Barwick Green", was first used for the Sunday omnibus editions of the series on BBC radio.

Bob left the band in 1979, and the band continued as a three-piece with Bonny taking the lead vocals. During the 1980s, the band expanded to a four-piece once more with the arrival of fiddler player Roger Trim who stayed with the band from 1984 to 1991 during which time they recorded The Musical Heritage Of Thomas Hardy, drawing from Hardy family manuscripts, and performed using Hardy's own violin.

Despite having played worldwide, the Yetties have never lost the almost boyish enthusiasm which pervades their music, and still retain a loyal following. They are still going strong and have their own website run by Bonny Sartin which has details of the band's current activities, as well as a well-stocked shop. Over the years they have toured the world and recorded a large number of albums. Apart from their own compositions, the band has built up a huge repertoire of music of many types from diverse sources, including folk songs, dance music and popular songs from England, Scotland, Ireland, North America and other countries. A good deal of the Yetties' music falls outside the Scrumpy & Western genre, but throughout their career the Yetties have stayed true to their Dorset roots in spite of their worldwide travelling - their West Country humour and songs still form a much-appreciated part of their act.

The Yetties

The Yetties

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