You might think that being ‘discovered’ by actor Richard Todd, a man with not a little clout in the entertainment world, might herald a bright future for any act, but in the case of Dulcimer it didn’t quite turn out that way.
Todd apparently saw them perform in a restaurant in the Cotswolds and the group, multi-instrumentalists Pete Hodge and Dave Eaves and bass player Jem North looked like they were on their way when they were signed to Larry Page’s Nepentha label – his version of EMI’s Harvest and RCA’s Neon labels. “And I Turned As I Had Turned As A Boy” (with Todd appearing on the LP as the narrator) was released in mid-1971 and gained international releases in Europe and America.
In Britain, the LP received highly favourable reviews, but a second more-electric album never made it to the record shops and Nepentha closed after releasing five albums and three singles.
That second album would eventually be released on a small label in 1992 and that prompted Hodges and Eaves to re-form, this time with Mike Hooper as the third member. With this new line-up three further albums were recorded for the President label.
Dulcimer had a resurgence of sorts in the nineties thanks to President Records, who released a trio of the band’s albums as well as the shelved ‘Room for Thought’ project on CD (‘A Land Fit for Heroes’ had been issued thanks to the band’s own financing in 1980).
Their music has been described as folk-rock and is mostly acoustic, but the band’s penchant for odd themes, creative arrangements and occasional progressive forays merits their wider recognition. Dulcimer will appeal to fans of understated, acoustic-driven music with classic folk instrumentation such as mandolins, acoustic guitars, flutes and of course dulcimers.
When Dulcimer eventually broke-up in the late 1990s, Eaves continued to be involved in music, writing a musical and exploring ecclesiastical music and composition but died in September 2011, aged 61.