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In about 2005, local winos Rick and Lindsey came back from a holiday in Killarney. After enjoying the kind of informal, traditional entertainment so common in Irish establishments, they were acutely aware of the absence of similar entertainment locally. The idea of a regular session at The Plough Kings Walden emerged and, after an appeal for participants, the first ever Plough session took place one Tuesday evening in an otherwise empty bar.

The founder members at that first, peculiar shambles were Rick, Trevor, Phil, Russell and early supporter Kenny. Kenny soon found that other commitments meant he had to drop out.

In the early days, the repertoire was mostly British, Irish, Australian and American folk songs - basically, the kind of stuff one would hear in a ballad session in Ireland. That kind of session was what had inspired the activity at The Plough. One of Rick's main concerns was to keep the whole thing simple and free of amplification, and to avoid spawning just another pub rock band. The idea was to create traditional, DIY pub entertainment. Not so much a performance as a session where guest singers and players could join in.

Next to join were folk enthusiasts Pete and Lyn Bliss, closely followed by Robin. Pete contributed a very strong, traditional singing voice while Lyn played tin whistle. Robin, a blues specialist, added a very welcome guitar while Russell found that demands on his time meant that his attendance became infrequent. It was when Robin, Pete and Lyn joined that things started to take shape and a few more people started coming along to listen or to join in. Nevertheless, a lot of people remained skeptical of the folky content, and gradually songs in other genres began to creep into the set.

At this point the "band" played their early gigs. The first was to be an appearance at the 2006 Great Offley Bike Show, a motorcycle event. Unfortunately, technical problems meant that the band spent a frustrating 20 minutes on an unsuccessful sound-check before leaving the stage without playing a note. By this time, Keith had got himself involved in the shambles.

The first successful gig was a garden party at The Plough. The event was well-attended and the performance went down very well. Soon afterwards came a gig at Offley club (the venue that hosted the bike show where the first, abortive gig attempt had occurred). Upon arrival, the band found that they were billed as "The Ploughmen", the name used to this day.

Pete and Lyn emigrated to Portugal a few months later, and vocal duties were taken over by Boyd. A few more gigs went well, and The Ploughmen began getting more frequent requests to play. Barry began to join the band for gigs and occasionally for the informal Tuesday sessions.

In the absence of Pete and Lyn's strong folk influence the band had to play to its remaining strengths, and other genres became more prominent, although the sing-along ethic (and the chaos) remained.

Gordon and PJ became regular members in 2007 adding very welcome vocals and instruments : guitar and double bass respectively. With their arrival a new collection of rock and roll and rockabilly songs were added to the repertoire, including some which have become an indispensable part of every performance.

2007 was the year of infamy: the year in which a Ploughmen video was banned. Following a complaint by the copyright holder, a video of The Ploughmen's cover version of the popular anagram 'ACMY' (added to the set as a nod to the gay and lesbian contingent of the band's huge worldwide fanbase) was pulled by a certain internet file hosting service [you-know-who-tube]. Despite international condemnation, the video ban remained and the only way to present the performance to an eager public was to add the clip here.

In 2010 founder member and chief culprit, Rick, decided to revive his original concept and now runs another highly successful ' Jam Night ' every Tuesday at the spiritual home, The Plough. Left to their own devices, the remaining Ploughmen continue to trawl Hertfordshire in search of venues brave enough to accommodate them . . . more

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