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John Birkby formed Aiken's Drum in 1977 with fellow musicians Neil Ingram and Brian Skinner. The band played in pubs and clubs all over the area before establishing residencies in local pubs. The first residency was at The Jack and Jill in Bradford which lasted for three years, during which time they were also residents at The Ringway in Horsforth for a year. The band is best remembered during this time for its appearances at The Eagle Tavern on North Street in Leeds, where they enjoyed resident status for eight years. Other venues have included Wigs Wine Bar and The Peel (now called The Square on the Lane) in Leeds city centre.

In 1981 the band released its first LP "Aiken's Drum" which was well received on the local folk scene. In April 1986 they took up a residency playing Sunday nights at The World's End in Pudsey and remarkably this continued until November 2005.

The band has had a variety of different line-ups over the years, with mainstream members including Neil Ingram, Dave Calvert, Dennis Carbery, Brian Lishman, Nigel Lawson (no, not that one!) and Brian Skinner as well as the longest serving members Ian Fairbairn (who left the band in 2012) and Paul Flannery. A variety of other people have played with the band as stand-in members, including Tom McConville, Tom Napper, Bernie Parry, Nick Strutt, Brian Golby, Tony Wilson, Gordon Tyrrall, Dave Mallinson, Roger Sutcliffe and Alistair Russell.

Playing an eclectic range of songs, both traditional and contemporary, the band is not tied to any particular genre. They are always willing to try out new material and, if it fits, then any song can become part of their huge and varied repertoire. Their CDs entitled "The Late Harvest" and "Beyond the World's End" represent a tiny cross-section of the music they play.


Page last updated 02.01.18