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Barbara Gaskin at Kent University, singing with the band Spirogyra
|Born||5 June 1950
|Origin||Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England|
|Associated acts||Dave Stewart, Spirogyra, Hatfield and the North|
|Website||Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin Website|
Barbara Gaskin is a British singer (born 5 June 1950) who, with her musical partner, the keyboardist Dave Stewart, formed a duo in 1981. In September of that year they had a number one single in the UK with a cover version of the song "It's My Party". Subsequent singles "Busy Doing Nothing" (1983), and "The Locomotion" (1986) also entered the UK Singles Chart, without reaching the heights of their debut release. Five albums followed, released on the duo's own Broken Records label. Gaskin and Stewart continue to work together and occasionally play live concerts with Andy Reynolds on guitar.
Gaskin has sung with Egg (The Civil Surface), National Health, Peter Blegvad (The Naked Shakespeare), Phil Miller, Nigel Planer (Neil's Heavy Concept Album), Jane Wiedlin (Tangled), Rick Biddulph and Mont Campbell (Music from a Round Tower).
Barbara Gaskin was born and grew up in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. She had formal training in piano and cello from the age of 10. In her early teens she taught herself very basic acoustic guitar (Lesson 1: The strings face outwards) and performed in local folk clubs.
In 1969 she moved from Hatfield to Canterbury to study for a degree in Philosophy and Literature at Kent University, but immediately became involved in the Canterbury music scene, joining folk rock group Spirogyra as vocalist. Spirogyra quickly procured a recording contract and subsequently made 3 albums, namely:- 'St Radigunds' B & C Records (CAS 1042), 'Old Boot Wine' Pegasus Records (PEG 13), and 'Bells, Boots, & Shambles' Polydor (2310 246), while gigging extensively on the UK college circuit, as well as completing numerous successful tours of Europe. During the same period, Barbara met guitarist Steve Hillage (also a student at Kent University) and via Steve, the members of Canterbury band Caravan, and Steve's old friend and musical colleague Dave Stewart. Barbara guested both live and on record with Dave's band 'Hatfield & The North', and was a member of the 'Ottawa Music Company', brainchild of Dave Stewart and `Henry Cow' drummer Chris Cutler. The intricate, largely instrumental music of bands such as Egg, Hatfield & The North and Henry Cow, and by contrast, the more spontaneous, lyrically driven approach of Spirogyra, were both powerful formative musical influences on Barbara during the six years she lived in Canterbury.
When Spirogyra split up, Barbara left England to travel in Asia for nearly three years, following her interest in Eastern philosophy and culture while earning money by teaching English. She continued to sing - in Japan, professionally - and while living in Java and Bali became very interested in gamelan music. She also lived in India for a total of 18 months.
On returning to England, Barbara was invited by drummer Germaine Dolan to play keyboards and sing in the all female band Red Roll On. Based in Canterbury, the band played in clubs and art colleges in the London area. But Barbara also renewed her musical association with Dave Stewart by contributing vocals to his compositions on Bill Bruford's "Gradually Going Tornado" album. In 1981 Dave & Barbara joined forces and recorded the hit single "It's My Party". The collaboration has continued to this day with a series of singles and albums on their own Broken Records label and Rykodisc Records.
Singles (Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin)
- "It's My Party" (Broken, 1981)
- "Johnny Rocco" (Broken, 1982)
- "Siamese Cat Song" (Broken, 1983)
- "Busy Doing Nothing" (Broken, 1983)
- "Leipzig" (Broken, 1983)
- "I'm In a Different World" (Broken, 1984)
- "The Locomotion" (Broken, 1986)
- "Walking the Dog" (Line (Germany) 1992)
- "Hour Moon" (EP) (Broken, 2009)
Albums (Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin)
- Up From The Dark (compilation), Rykodisc (USA) RCD 10011 (1986)
- Broken Records - The Singles, MIDI Records (Japan) (1987)
- As Far As Dreams Can Go, MIDI Records (Japan) (1988)
- The Big Idea, Rykodisc RCD 20172 / MIDI Records (1989)
- Spin, Rykodisc RCD 20213 / MIDI Records (1991)
- Selected Tracks (compilation), Musidisc (France) / Disky (Holland) (1993)
- Green and Blue, Broken Records BRCDLP-05 (March 2009)
- The TLG Collection, Broken Records BRCDLP-06 (October 2009)
- JON KELLY AND NICK WEBSTER (17 January 2005). "1,000 NO1S SMASH HITS; YOUR MUST-READ FOUR-PAGE GUIDE TO EVERY BRITISH CHART-TOPPER". The Mirror.