Hit pop-folk group’s sentimental return to Burnham, 40 years on

Former Burnham musicians who won fame and acclaim in the 1970s are returning to the town after 40 years to launch their band’s first album in nearly four decades.

Steve Somers and Patty Vetta are bringing  pop/folk group The Settlers – best remembered for their 1971 hit, The Lightning Tree (the theme to the TV show Follyfoot) – back to Burnham on Saturday, April 27, to play a very special gig at the Village Hall, in Arcadia Road.

Steve and Patty were both based in Burnham in the 1970s, touring worldwide with the band and  occasionally bringing them back to the Essex town to play what was then known as the Carnival Hall.

The group, who had a top 40 hit with The Lightning Tree, disbanded in the early 1980s, but Steve and Patty continued to play together for several years, working with such stars as Glen Campbell, Lonnie Donegan, Don Everly and Lulu on TV shows and studio recordings.

After many years apart, a chance meeting led the pair to discover they lived ten minutes apart and still loved the music which made them well known in the 1970s. So the Settlers were reborn last summer, playing several acclaimed gigs and recording a new album, Resettled.

Sadly, bandleader Mike Jones died a few years ago. In his place, The Settlers have recruited Patty’s husband, Tony Harris, and Lincolnshire folk musician Dave Smith to complete the group’s original, close- harmony, acoustic pop/folk sound.

Steve Somers grew up on the marshes outside Tillingham and moved to Burnham when he got married. As a young, struggling singer/songwriter he first found success by winning the networked TV talent show New Faces – The X Factor of its day – in 1975. Not long after, Steve was asked to join The Settlers

Patty Vetta was a well known face and voice on the British folk circuit in the 1970s and took over when original Settlers singer Cindy Kent decided to go forward for ordination as a priest.

Steve said: “It’s such a thrill to be playing this music again. We were worried that everyone would have forgotten our music by now, but it’s going down a storm.

“When past fans asked us to make a new album, we wanted it to be special. We decided to reject bigger venues for the album launch and do it in Burnham because the town holds the best memories from that time in our lives.

The gig, at the Burnham Village Hall, in Arcadia Road, Burnham, starts at 8.30pm Tickets cost £13.20 ( £11, over-60s) and are on sale from https://www.wegottickets.com/thesettlers