About

Scarborough's Rattlin Sheiks
The Rattlin’ Sheiks
String Band from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK.

Our lineup consists of:
Alex Thompson (lead vocal, guitar, banjo & harmonica )
T J Gilfoyle (Mandolin, Fiddle, Vocals and Bass)
Tim Riley (Double Bass, Guitar, Vocals, kazoo)

What type of music do you play ?

We are often asked this question and always struggle to give a quick answer; Our repertoire fits more easily into an era than a genre.
We play a variety of American acoustic music from the 1920s and 1930s that encompasses a whole range of styles from accross The States.  We love playing country blues and jug band dance music originating from Memphis, Gatsby style urban swing from Chicago and New York,  early Jazz from the streets of New Orleans,  and also old time, front porch fiddle tunes from the moonshine hills of Kentucky.

We use a combination of instruments appropriate to the song or tune we’re playing but also try to utilise our voices whenever we can. This can result in anything from sensitive three part harmony to  raucous squawking depending on how far through the set we are, or what beer is available.

Why the name Rattlin’ Sheiks ?

There was a hit romantic film in 1921 called “The Sheik” starring Rudolph Valentino.  The film became so popular that the word ‘Sheik’ came to be used to mean a young man on the prowl.

Various musicians of the era fancied themselves as womanisers and adopted the word as part of their name, the most notable being the Mississippi Sheiks.   As a hat tip to them (and being such head turners with the ladies ourselves) we decided to call our band the Ratllin’ Sheiks.

Check out our gigs page to see when we’re playing, and if you would like to follow us, this is what we look like…