Miki & Griff

Even the most hardcore country music fanatics can be forgiven for not recognizing Miki & Griff, despite their 30 years of performing together -the duo was British and made virtually their entire career in England, though they did get a good reception when they played the United States. Barbara and Emyr Griffith were their real names, and they met while both had been members of the George Mitchell Choir during 1947-48. Scottish-born Barbara (from the Isle of Bute) and Welsh-born Emyr left Mitchell to join Johnny Dennis & The Ranchers and were married in 1950. They did comedy and variety work together with Max Bygraves, billing themselves as Miki & Griff -initially their sound was rooted in pop vocal music, but soon moved toward a country duo sound modeled on the harmony vocals of the Louvin Brothers and the Everly Brothers. They were heard by Lonnie Donegan, then the reigning king of skiffle music in England, who got them an audition and a recording contract with Pye Records, where he also recorded. The pair enjoyed a short string of English hits, "Hold Back Tomorrow", "Rockin' Alone (In An Old Rockin' Chair)", "Little Bitty Tear", and "I Wanna Stay Here", during the late 1950's and early 1960's, as well as singing with Donegan on the sessions for his self-titled album. Miki & Griff were also regulars on British television throughout the early 1960's, and also began to perform folk music as well -- they covered Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind", among other landmark songs in that field during the 1960's, while never moving too far from country music. In 1964, they decided to try their luck on the other side of the Atlantic, heading for Nashville, where they got a good reception from audiences at the Grand Ole Opry. The duo continued to make a successful career in England into the 1970's, working as support acts for various touring American country acts, though they'd long since stopped charting any records. Their career came to an end in 1981 with Barbara Griffith's death. In 1999 and 2002, Castle Communications released CD compilations of Miki & Griff's singles and album tracks. ~ Bruce Eder

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