Ooh arr! It’s time for the final Thekla Isolation Discs Podcast episode of the year and what a great guest we have to finish on! It’s the accordion-wielding, cider-drinking, West Country legend that is Tommy Banner from the Wurzels! Originally from Scotland, Tommy moved to a caravan in Somerset in the 60s to become a full time member. Now 81, he’s spent a lot of 2020 stuck at home and not where he would like to be – on stage! He shares his fantastic isolation selections and tells Chris about his youth, discovering rock & roll, moving to Somerset, his rowdy caravan party days, getting a UK number 1, travelling around central London in a tractor and also overcoming cancer. Tommy Banner – the Thekla Isolation Discs Podcast salutes you and your fellow Wurzels. And to all our listeners – a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. Here’s to more live shows on the boat in 2021!
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Formed in 1966 by singer/songwriter Adge Cutler, British country-folk/novelty outfit the Wurzels wrote, performed, and recorded rustic and occasionally comedic tunes (and reworkings of whatever songs were popular at the time) teeming with the industrial and rural images of their West Country farming communities, specifically the drinking of cider. Originally conceived as a backing band for Cutler before his death in 1974, the band hit it big in 1976 with “Combine Harvester,” a parody of ‘s “Brand New Key.” The song sat atop the U.K. pop charts for two weeks, resulting in a string of similarly successful outings like “I Am a Cider Drinker” and “Farmer Bill’s Cowman.” The group fell beneath the pop culture radio in the 1980s, but never stopped recording and performing. New manager Sil Willcox () brought with him a brief resurgence in the mid-’90s with the Wurzels’ collection of British rock covers, Never Mind the Bullocks. The veteran group appeared on a split single with enigmatic Brit-pop revivalists in 2005, and remain quite popular in their West Country homeland. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi