Fiddler's Dram were a British folk band of the late 1970s who enjoyed fleeting fame with this hit single. They were drawn from a group of musicians at the University of Kent at Canterbury and members of Duke's Folk Club in Whitstable, who cultivated an enthusiastic local following from their regular gigs at local clubs and bars in and around the Canterbury area. Their material mainly comprised arrangements of British traditional songs and tunes, but in time the original song "Daytrip to Bangor" became a live favorite.
"Daytrip" was included on Fiddler Dram's debut album, To See The Play, which was released on the Dingles label in 1978. The band then re-recorded the song after Dingles' David Foister suggested that this track be released as a single. It was redone at a faster tempo than on the original album, with the acoustic instruments augmented by bass guitar, synthesizer and drums.
It would be a fair assumption to make that the song was inspired by a day trip the song's writer, Whitstable Folk Club regular Debbie Cook, made to the North Welsh coastal town of Bangor. However, "Daytrip's" origins actually lay in a visit Cook made to Rhyl, a seaside resort 35 miles east of Bangor. Fiddle and concertina player Ian Telfer explained to Mojo magazine January 2010 that Bangor was chosen as it slipped off the tongue easier: "She was originally thinking of Rhyl, the resort, not Bangor," he said. "But clearly Rhyl has got no scan. The mayor of Bangor was a bit perplexed when it was a hit, but they were quite happy to accept the publicity."
Debbie Cook went on to become a successful scriptwriter penning scripts for The Archers and EastEnders.
Fiddler's Dram hurriedly recorded a second eponymous album to follow up on their unexpected success in the UK Singles Chart. The band was unable to achieve subsequent success however, gratefully took the money and ran. Telfer told Mojo the single was issued "for amusement. The label liked the song, so why not? We were charmed that anyone would put a single out. Naturally, we got back together - put the money in our pockets and thank you very much."
Does the name Dave Arbus ring any bells? Arbus's connection to this Songfact was that he was a founding member of Fiddler's Dram, but left long before the band achieved any success. The multi-instrumentalist is best known for being a member of progressive band East of Eden who had a one-off hit with "Jig a Jig
" and also for his tour-de-force violin solo on The Who's "Baba O'Riley