Personnel: Martyn Dormer (guitar); Peter Barry (drums).
Liner Note Author: Mick Mercer.
Recording information: Chelterham College (1981).
Author: Mick Mercer.
Photographer: Mick Mercer.
The popular belief that British folk rock died with the last days of Fairport and Steeleye at the end of the '70s takes a damned good kicking from Dancing Did, punkabilly madmen who looked at the directions drawn by Dexys on the one hand, Ten Pole Tudor on the other, and then drove a gap-toothed grinning juggernaut through the heart of all of them. Spectral rhythms meet manic jigs on darkened moors and misty hills, and if there's not a fiddle, bodkin, or pan pipe in sight, that's not to say their presence isn't felt. "The Wolves of Worcestershire" is almost Shakespearean in its lyrical vision, while "Squashed Things" is the sound of the Cure meets the Wurzels, and isn't the sort of song one would want to think about while driving. Martin Dormer's guitar even sounds like a lorry and Chris Houghton's drums are soft and squelchy beneath it. Occasionally Dancing Did let their post-punk origins shine through, in which case they remind one a little of Sad Lovers and Giants. But their roots are as ancient as the concepts behind "Badger Boys" and "Within the Green Green Avon-O," while the self-affirming Dancing Did is to English gypsy culture what the Pogues were to Ireland's tinkers.
Live, Dancing Did was one of the best times one could have without leaving the early '80s. On vinyl, the magic is just as potent as it ever was. ~ Dave Thompson