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Decameron

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Biography

This UK folk rock band was formed in 1968 by Dave Bell (guitar/percussion/vocals), and Johnny Coppin (b. 5 April 1946, South Woodford, Essex, England; guitar/piano/vocals). The line-up grew, in September 1969, when the duo added Al Fenn (b. Alastair Fenn, 9 March 1947, Chingford, Essex, England; guitar/mandolin/vocals), and further still with the addition of Geoff March (cello/violin/vocals) in December 1969; Dik Cadbury (b. Richard Cadbury, 12 June 1950, Selly Oak, Birmingham, England; bass/violin/vocals) in July 1973; and finally Bob Critchley (drums/vocals) in September 1975. From 1971-74, the band was signed to the Fingimigig agency, then run by comedian Jasper Carrott and John Starkey. Based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Decameron performed contemporary folk rock material, much of which was composed by Bell and Coppin. They released three singles on as many labels: ‘Stoats Grope’ in 1973, on Vertigo Records; ‘Breakdown Of The Song’ in 1974, on Mooncrest; and ‘Dancing’ in 1976, on Transatlantic. Two other singles, both on Transatlantic, were released by the band under the name of the Magnificent Mercury Brothers, in which guise they sang 60s doo-wop style. The singles were ‘New Girl In School’ in 1975, and a version of the classic ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’, in 1976. Neither single achieved any great commercial success, and the band split, with Coppin going on to pursue an acclaimed solo career. He reunited with his former colleagues in Decameron for a series of live shows in the late 90s and early 00s.

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