Artist Name
Vikki Clayton
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Genre
Folk

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Origin
Engkand

Born

1950

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Artist Biography
Vikki Clayton seemed to be aiming for a musical career from an early age. Born in England in the early/middle-1950's, she spent her early childhood absorbing the sounds of trad-jazz records, courtesy of her parents and, by her own account, later came to love the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein through the contemporary cast albums of South Pacific and The King And I. From her grandmother she learned folksongs from old Sussex, and she later enjoyed the advantage of having an eccentric music teacher, who introduced her to Morris Dancing and other folk traditions as well as to the folk-based work of Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Brittein, and Frederick Delius. Clayton took up the guitar at age 12, and at the time her influences were decidedly American -- Bob Dylan and Joan Baez loomed especially large in her consciousness when she was in her early teens. By the end of the 1960's, her family had left London and moved to Lincolnshire, and Clayton had begun hanging around with other folk enthusiasts -- after hearing the then-new Fairport Convention album Leige And Leif, she'd found a direction and, in Sandy Denny (who, rather ironically, exited the group soon after), a home-grown source of inspiration for her singing and playing. Seemingly following Denny's example, as well as the pattern of the times, Clayton joined a series of electric folk-rock bands, including Kelsay and the Ragged Heroes, of which the latter lasted long enough to record an LP. She also became infatuated with the work and music of folksong arranger (and composer) Percy Grainger (1882-1961) during the 1970's. Possessed of a silvery-pure voice and exquisite musical sensibilities, it was inevitable that Clayton would take center-stage as an artist. Her solo recording career -- which has principally been for the New Day label -- began with Honor Tokened, and her subsequent work included Lost Lady Found (which included her first recording of a Sandy Denny song); additionally, in association with Fred A. Baker and Ric Sanders, she recorded Sanders, Baker & Clayton Carried Away, In Flight and Looking At The Stars. Clayton has also worked with Gordon Giltrap and Tony Moore on Midsummer Cushion, an album of Georgian poet John Clare's work set to her music. On Movers And Shakers, she played and sang alongside Gerry Conway, Ric Sanders, John Kirkpatrick, and Jethro Tull's Martin Barre, and she has toured with the Vikki Clayton Band, which includes Jethro Tull co-founder Clive Bunker on the drums. She is best known as a solo performer, however. As of 2004, her most well-known recording is It Suits Me Well, an album of songs written by, arranged, or associated with her longtime idol Sandy Denny, originally released on the Kent-based HTD label and reissued by Castle Records.


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