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dawn trader

Dawn Trader


Don Bailey

With great sadness we share news that our former drummer, Don Bailey passed away...

New Band Member

DAWN TRADER welcome to the ranks guitarist DAVE THOMPSON. Dave will add a new dimension to the music with that familair twin guitar sound and he has the nicest shoes out of all of us, said singer Mick Preston in a press interview this morning ...


Dawn Trader would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathy to Ben Evans and family over the recent tragic events...





The History of Dawn Trader

Dawn Trader Promo Pic Nottingham outfit DAWN TRADER emanated from local band SCREW which featured vocalist Mick Preston, guitarist Chris Allard and drummer Keith White. SCREW split in 1979 with Allard convincing Preston and White to join forces with bassist Ric Evans of LAZY and SPOONFUL to form DAWN TRADER. Within a month guitarist Wayne Vizard was added and the band began to gig around the Nottingham and local circuit. Guitarist Chris Allard takes up the tale:

"Screw had been formed in 1977/8 with the intention of playing the band's own material. The band evolved from a showband called "Liberty Belle" which featured Carole Addison (?) on vocals, me, Pete Horsnell (bass), Ian Wright (rhythm), Mick Smith (harmonicals, congos, tenor sax and flute) plus as many drummers as you can name!! Carole left and Ron Barrie (one-time vocalist for Red House and Hades in the 60s) joined as vocal/songwriter. When Ron left the band, Mick Preston (vocals) joined. We entered the Melody Maker Rock and Folk contest and won the local region heats.

We recognised a need to develop our sound and evolved with Mark Everatt on keys. We just needed a great drummer to settle the band down. Keith White was approached and he added a critical solidity to our performance. In this format, Screw worked for about 12 months until Keith mentioned in summer 1979 that he wanted something new. He knew this great guitarist, Wayne Vizard, and was keen to develop something with him and thought that Wayne and I would work well together. I greatly admired Keith's playing and we agreed that Keith, Wayne and me should meet to discuss a possible way forward.

Dawn Trader at the Imperial Our initial meeting was VERY productive and we decided that we should build a new band based on the three of us, with Wayne taking the lion's share of the vocal duties. A bass player was obviously needed and Wayne suggested Ric Evans. Rehearsals began in earnest in September 1979 but it became increasingly obvious that, as our twin lead guitar approach became more developed, the idea of doubling complicated guitar lines with tricky vocal parts was slowing down the process. Against some natural resistance to making the band "bigger", I suggested that Mick Preston be invited to front the, as yet un-named, band. Mick was an instant fit and the song-pad soon reached gig-able proportions. A name was required and, at a meeting in my house in late 1979, Keith saw a copy of CS Lewis's Dawn Treader on the bookshelf. He dropped an 'e' (groan) and Dawn Trader was born!!"

Dawn Trader EPRecording ensued and Shortly after the limited edition, self-titled demo single was issued and amid several unfortunate degrees of confusion Allard, the band's musical driving force, left to pursue a career in London only to be replaced with local Carlsboro Sound guitar expert Steve Humphreys. Humphreys himself was superseded by ex-NOEL REDDING and TRISTRAM SHANDY guitarist Andy Kealey, widely recognised as one of the very best guitarists on the UK circuit and DAWN TRADER would wind up releasing two commercially available demo cassettes on local Way Ahead Records label.

Further band changes abounded when White and Kealey quit to form Blues act ABK, White's position being filled by former SAVAGE drummer Dave Lindley and finally local drummer Don Bailey became a Trader stalwart. DAWN TRADER's career was often adversely affected, the major label record deal was always one step away despite the band having capable management in the form of Way Ahead supremo Dave Brett and Radio Trent DJ Graham Neal. he band, and everyone in the Nottingham rock scene, was shaken to the core by the tragic events of 1985 when Neal murdered his girlfriend then hanged himself in his cell while on remand awaiting trial. Many have said this was to be the blow that the band never recovered from.

Dawn Trader - The End 1985Mick Preston himself left in 1985 following the third of the memorable Market Square gigs and the infamous "Mick's Last Stand" gig. Replaced by vocalist Mac Coxhead DAWN TRADER soldiered on for another year, adding keyboard player Dave Langdon along the way, whilst Preston joined BAD REPUTATION. The band wrote new material Langdon teaming up with Vizard and Evans but eventually, despite a further Market Square appearance, the band reached the end, Evans joined FIRE BRIGADE, others joined Free AND COMPANY and by the end of 1986 Dawn Trader was no more.

But this was not the end of the line forever...
After the turn of the century Mick Preston rejoined Wayne Vizard and Dave Lindley to form 60s covers band CARNABY ROCKS, Ric Evans had joined ex-WITCHFYNDE singer Luther Beltz in KRUSADE and Humphreys was last seen playing in MERCURY, a Queen tribute act (albeit a very good one!). Dave Langdon played in Magic Car and did sessions and tours with Scott 4, The Electric Effect, Laura Mayne Kebrat (a big French pop star) and the 22-20s. Andy Kealy and Keith White, having played with Boris Carlin in the imaginitively named ANDY BORIS AND KEITH were playing in BUZZARD and Chris Allard, described by other band members as a musical virtuoso, was playing in London outfit SCRATCH which features Pete Horsnell formerly of SCREW where it all started (!!!) on bass.

A few friends and fans had begun to make contact via the internet and during 2009 the nostalgia and passion for the band so impressed the irrepressible Preston that he convinced Vizard to contact Evans. One of the fans had some material recorded and had began to collect, catalogue and archive more footage still some of which was thought to have long been lost. Meetings ensued, beers were drunk, stories swapped and slowly the phoenix of Nottingham's finest ever band slowly rose back up to create the reunion of 2010, a fitting 30 years on from the beginning of Dawn Trader.

The history of the band and its line-ups can be neatly traced and described with a chronological list of songs grouped by "era": click here for the list