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Although Archie Fisher is a legendary figure in the Scottish folk music world — everybody's favorite singer and an enormously influential presence both musically and philosophically — he has remained largely unknown to the greater pop music mainstream. While the mainstream's a poorer place for that, one gets the idea it suits Archie Fisher just fine.
Fisher was born into a family of semi-professional musicians and learned to play the guitar at a young age. Fisher and his sister Ray formed a skiffle group in the mid-'50s, as most musically inclined young Britons did around that time. Eventually, the siblings formed a vocal duo, releasing their debut album Far Over the North in 1963. In the tradition of the Coppers and the Watersons, Archie and Ray joined with their parents and sister Cilla and her husband Artie Tresize to form the Fisher Family. Playing both traditional material and Archie's own compositions, the Fisher Family were fixtures on the British folk circuit through the mid-'60s and released the album The Fisher Family in 1965. The family group split up in 1966 when Ray married and moved to London and Archie began his solo career.
Fisher's first album, Archie Fisher, was released in 1968. Around that time, Fisher also began his decades-long association with the BBC; Fisher wrote original songs for BBC documentaries on subjects like rural island communities in the Hebrides, and also appeared on radio and television music programs with regularity. Eventually, Fisher began working regularly with the BBC as a producer of radio documentaries and features; in the '80s, he inherited the series Traveling Folk, which he now produces and hosts, from the previous presenter Robin Hall. Fisher's recorded output, for someone with such a long and prolific career, is surprisingly sparse, consisting of a handful of solo albums and a live duo album with Canadian fiddler Garnet Rogers. Fisher has been much more active both as a live performer at festivals and concerts around the world (he directed the much-respected Edinburgh Folk Festival from 1988 to 1992) and as a producer for other artists, including several albums by the duo of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy and the phenomenal group Silly Wizard.