Answer To The Wurzels"!
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Are The Yokels?
Yokels have been called "Wiltshire's
answer to The Wurzels", and I guess that pretty much describes
their style. A Scrumpy & Western band in their own right, their
songs - all home-grown compositions - are about their home county
of Wiltshire, just as Adge Cutler's were mainly about Somerset.
band formed in 1976 when Geoff
Paget (vocals) and Tom Mills (guitar), who were playing the
club cabaret circuit, were spotted by record producer Joe Stead.
He asked them if they would like to make a record, and asked if
they had any songs. Geoff's
total instrumental musical talent consisted of his one string bass,
which was tied to the top of a broom handle at one end and attached
to a tea chest at the other. He never did know the difference between
a crotchet and a cow pat, but he did have some talent in lyric writing
based on his own life experiences. Guitarist Tom was no songwriter
- and he approached local musician Keith 'Keef' Burge who eventually
managed to decipher Geoff's scrawl, and added some music to it.
Yokels recorded eleven songs with Yokel Geoff and Yokel Tom accompanied
on the album by Keith's band Four In The Bar and
the album Yer We Be was born. The line-up
on the album is Geoff
Paget (vocals) and Tom Mills (guitar)
Burge (electric piano, vocals), Bryan Bevan (bass, vocals), Peter
Lamb (electric & acoustic guitars), Keith Bishop (drums), and
Chris Stone (vocals). The
album was produced by Joe, and released later that year on the Sweet
Folk & Country label. Joe admits that to his knowledge,
it was the only record they made. He added: "They were nice
blokes - really cheery and even bought me a bottle of whisky which
I very much appreciated!" And that seemed the end of The Yokels'
But no - in 2001, 25 years later, the band got back together at
The Music Workshop Studio in Devizes, Wiltshire; it was a good excuse
for a 25th anniversary booze up if nothing else. Keith Burge had
been writing Yokel's music since 1976, and after finally removing
his head from the bucket of straight-out-the-animal fresh steaming
manure at his initiation ceremony, he was christened Yokel Keef
and made the official third Yokel. The trio then re-recorded five
of the songs from Yer We Be and released it as The
Yokels Have Landed; with a single released the same
time containing two of the re-recorded tracks.
the same year, a second single was released; this containing the
first new Yokels songs recorded since the 70s - The Cows
All Do The Line Dance backed with I Likes Being
Stupid. The CD made in conjunction with the Bromham
Girls' Line Dance Club, and the band claim there was a
dance to go with it. Sadly this is before the days of YouTube, so
we don't have any proof! According to the band's website Yokel Keef
has also written a Yokels song for local brewery Wadworths.
on Thursday 7th November 2002, quite by chance, Scrumpy & Western
editor Zider Ed happened to turn the car radio on, when veteran
DJ Johnnie Walker's guest Reg Presley of The Troggs mentioned that
a Wiltshire band The Yokels had recorded a cover of his old 1966
hit With A Girl Like You, which Johnnie then obligingly played.
The record was titled Marry Me, and was made in
aid of the BBC Children In Need 2002 charity appeal and
produced by BBC Radio Wiltshire presenter Graham Seaman.
Zider Ed was so astounded at this piece of luck - not to mention
laughing at the record - that he almost drove the car into a ditch!
and Tom has also been involved in a side-project. Rustic
Tales From Wiltshire is made up of five Wiltshire men -
Geoff, Tom, Frank Giles, Peter Amor and Jim Hughes - with strong
local dialect and good memories. They got together after a suggestion
by Peter Lamb of The Music Workshop Studio to make a recording of
past experiences and anecdotes in the Wiltshire dialect. The reasoning
being that they should be recorded before they are forgotten and
to enable future generations to share the humour and dialect of
the recent and not too recent past. Rustic Tales From
Wiltshire vol 1 is over 60 minutes long with a sample
clip on their MySpace
the first few months since release, the CD sold over 700 copies
(far beyond anyone's expectations) and by Feb 2008 they had already
raised over £2000 with all profits going to local charities.
band continued to play ocassional gigs in Wiltshire, but sadly in
December 2007 came the news that frontman Geoff Paget passed away;
he will be missed by all. As a result the band has decided, with
regret, to hang up their respective instruments - at least for the
Tales From Wiltshire vol 2 was released in 2008 -
but sadly without Geoff and Jim Hughes who also passed away at the
end of 2007. And in October 2008 Keith and Tom released Marnin'
Moonrakers, a book described as 'a survival guide
to the linguistic jungle of the Wiltshire dialect' published
by Countryside Books (ISBN number 9781846741197); available from
shops across the UK as well as being available worldwide from online
'another end of an another era'
- on September 1st 2009, Tom Mills died suddenly from a heart attack
- ironically only a few weeks after retiring just a few weeks ago
in order to have some time to himself and his wife.
Yokels (Left to right: Tom Mills, Keith Burge, Geoff Paget)
Yokels (Left to right: Geoff Paget, Keith Burge, Tom Mills)
in the studio with BBC Radio Wiltshire presenter Graham
lads at the BBC Radio Wiltshire Children In Need
Burge and Tom Mills promoting their book Marnin'
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Folk & Country SFA 063
Side 1: A Couple Of Country Yokels / Get Thik Pint
Down Albert / The Wiltshire County Show / This Marriage Lark
/ Country Music
Side 2: There's Nothing Like Country Smells / Let's
All Get Our Fingers Out / Nellie Hayseed / Inflation / Haymaking
/ Jack Of All Trades
Yokels Have Landed!
There's Nothing Like Country Smells / Nellie Hayseed / This
Marriage Lark / Get Thik Pint Down Albert / A Couple Of Country
Nothing Like Country Smells / Get Think Pint Down Albert
Cows All Do The Line Dance / I Likes Being Stupid
made in conjunction with the Bromham Girls' Line Dance
Club. Subtitled It's Moosic To Your Ears,
the dance to go with this single was choreographed by Buttercup,
Rosebud and Daisy.
Me / The Wiltshire County Show
produced in aid of the BBC Children In Need charity in 2002.
Marry Me is a parody of The Troggs' 1966 no. 1 hit
With A Girl Like You and features special guest The
Troggs' singer and songwriter Reg Presley.
Word & Books
Tales From Wiltshire vol 1
and Tom's side-project from The Yokels; a spoken word Cd of
Wiltshire humour and dialect.
Tales From Wiltshire vol 2
spoken word Cd of Wiltshire humour and dialect; recorded after
Geoff's death, but still featuring Tom.
Moonrakers (Local Dialect) by Keith Burge and Tom
Keef and Tom's local dialect book described both as 'a survival
guide to the linguistic jungle of the Wiltshire dialect' and
also as 'the essential handbook for visitors to Wiltshire'.
It's not all about dialect of course - it's for locals and
tourists alike, but it is a fun stocking filler type of book.
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- Graham Seaman of BBC Radio Wiltshire for helping
with information about The Yokels
- Tom Mills of The Yokels for updates on the band's
latest records and activities and the pictures in the gallery
- Keef Burge of The Yokels for details about the band
and their new website
- Joe Stead for his help and information about the 1976 Yokels'
- Kevin Goodall for originally providing the information
about the Yokels' 1976 album.
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