The Lancashire monologist equivalent of Tom Lehrer….Scintillating daftness, absurdity run amok.
-Ken Hunt, Q Magazine
Les Barker writes strange poems and comes from originally from Manchester, but he’s now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He’s written 85 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don’t quite believe what they’ve just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive and Spot of the Antarctic, to name but two.
Les has several solo albums to his credit: ‘Dogologues’, An Infinite Number of Occasional Tables’, ‘A Cardi and Bloke’, ‘Up the creek without a poodle’, ‘Arovertherapy’ and ‘The War on Terrier’. He has travelled the length, breadth and height of Great Britain, as well as Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and – both solo and with the band – the United States and Canada, and has more recently won prizes for his Welsh poetry, including 3 small chairs and one big one.
The Mrs Ackroyd Band – supplemented by guest members such as June Tabor and Martin Allcock – has released five albums;Oranges & Lemmings’, ‘Gnus & Roses’, ‘Tubular Dogs’, ‘Yelp!’. and ‘Dark side of the mongrel’.
In addition there are five highly acclaimed albums of his serious work; the folk opera ‘The Stones of Callanish’, ‘Some Love’, ‘The Wings of Butterflies’, Airs of the Dog’ and ‘Twilight of the Dogs’, all involving a galaxy of talent. His serious songs have also featured on albums by Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, and by June Tabor. June invariably includes a smattering of Mr Barker’s serious and comic songs in her live performances. The Kingston Trio and Tom Paxton have also recorded Mr Barker’s songs’.
Les and the Mrs Ackroyd Band burst furtively onto national radio with a series of six programmes for BBC Radio 2 entitled ‘Mrs Ackroyd explores her roots’. A new, and much larger audience were led in ever decreasing circles by Mr Barker’s strange mind. A growing number of radio programmes worldwide are featuring his recorded work. Dr Demento has included the Mrs Ackroyd Band’s performance of ‘Dachshunds with erections can’t climb stairs’ on one of his compilations, and ‘Will the turtle be unbroken?’ on another; and ‘Reinstalling Windows’ on the next one.
2017 Line up
The line-up so far:
Le Vent du Nord
The Changing Room (feat. Tanya Brittain & Sam Kelly)
The East Pointers
Attila the Stockbroker
The Ooks of Hazzard
Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin
Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley
Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage
The Rubber Wellies
James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band
Alden Patterson & Dashwood
Idiot & Friend
Dana Immanuel & the Stolen Band
Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra
The Life & Times of the Brothers Hogg
Maniere Des Bohemiens
The Leen Valley Band
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