After spending 5 years as a floor singer around the many folk clubs
in the North East of
England as well as being a resident singer at the famous Davylamp Folk
Club in Washington, Bob Fox met fellow North Easterner Tom McConville and
his career as a professional folk singer/musician began.
the duo with Tom he toured the vibrant folk club scene of mid 70's Britain
playing a mixture of Irish and Scottish dance music and singing mainly
traditional songs primarily from their native North East, Tom on fiddle
and Bob playing guitar and piano.
2 very successful years Bob and Tom parted company and the duo with ex
Hedgehog Pie man Stu Luckley was formed.
proved to be one of the most innovative and highly acclaimed collaborations
ever seen on the folkscene.
Bob Fox and Stu Luckley release
their first album ‘Nowt So Good’ll Pass ’ which was voted folk album
of the year and remains a unique and classic album.
Colin Irwin wrote an article in Melody Maker entitled ‘ A Meeting
of Two Minds’ in which he described them as ‘the progressive dynamic
duo’ and went on ‘Great White Hopes of Folk are such a rarity you’ll
forgive us for making an excessive fuss when we encounter one, two even!’
the success of this L.P. Bob and Stu were in great demand and played almost
every folk club and festival in the U.K. including Cambridge, Cropredy,
Edinburgh, Fylde, Cornwall.
Bob and Stu were support artists on major British tours
for Richard and Linda Thompson and Ralph Mctell.
duo also toured Germany, Holland, Australia and New Zealand in their own
right and released a second album 'Wish We Never Had Parted '
Bob Fox and Stu Luckley break up to pursue individual projects.
Bob continued to work as a solo artist as well as joining
Celtic Band The Rub and the short lived Vin
Garbutt Band as singer/keyboard player.
Bob was engaged as Folk Artist in Residence
for the District of Blyth Valley and
Music Development Worker for Easington District Council during which time
he was inspired by the discovery of a photographic archive to produce a
songs/slide show with Benny Graham celebrating the rich and varied culture
of the coal mining communities of Durham and Northumberland 'How Are
You Of For Coals? '
project brought Bob back to recording after almost 15 years when he and
Benny produced a CD collection of mining songs
'How Are You Off For Coals?'
FECD 111 and the following year re-recorded 14 songs from his albums with
Stu Luckley on the CD 'Box of Gold' FECD 124 (Fellside Recordings,
two CDs come highly recommended by reviewers who once again place Bob at
the top of the singers tree, Colin Irwin this time writing for Folk Roots
some 20 years after his article in Melody Maker makes this declaration:
always was one of the scene's superior singers and his voice is as confident
and ebullient as it ever was!'
Bob celebrated 25 years of singing folk songs professionally with
a number of tours both in the UK and abroad, starting with an appearance
as 'special guest' on the Fairport Convention tour and continuing
with folk club tours in Britain, Holland and Canada.
Bob also recorded
his first ever solo CD
LEAVE YOU” - WRCD 035 at DAVE PEGG’S Woodworm Studio with various
members of FAIRPORT playing on it.
The CD delighted
both the folk press and BOB’s growing legion of fans, he also performed
an impressive set at the CROPREDY FESTIVAL in August 2000.
with Fairport 'Wood and the Wire' tour 2000
here for the review
May/June 2001 BOB had a great reception on his first tour of US/Canada
and in Sept/Oct made the same impression on audiences in Australia and
New Zealand, his first return to those countries since touring there with
Stu in 1980!
a "Round the World Tour" in and shortly
after his return the CD “DARK TO THE SKY” was recorded in
the North East with a new band put together by another former Hedgehog Pie man Jed Grimes called THE HUSH.
”Here’s the tender coming” from “DARK TO THE SKY” nominated Best
Traditional Track and Bob nominated Best Folk Singer in the BBC Radio 2
Folk Awards 2003.
Bob has a busy schedule including extensive tours in the UK, a third
US tour, a return to Australia to perform at the National Festival in Canberra
and Fairbridge Festival in W.A. and continued with appearances at some
of the most prestigious Folk Festivals in England throughout the Spring
with TOPIC RECORDS, his first CD entitled
on 3rd Sept 2003 immediately received ecstatic reviews.
Bob was nominated
Best Folk Singer once again in the 2004 Folk Awards and his version of
the Chris Leslie song My Love is in America, recorded on “BORROWED MOMENTS”,
gained a nomination for Best Original Song.
2005 Bob toured UK, USA, Australia and The Netherlands as well as appearing
at many UK Folk Festivals in celebration of 30 years “on the road”.
Bob was invited to join an elite group of folk singers, writers and musicians
to record 6 new Radio Ballads commissioned by the BBC and produced and
recorded by John Tams and John Leonard.
Bob can be
heard on all but the first of these and the series of six received great
relationship with John Tams was so successful that when Bob recorded his
second TOPIC album “THE BLAST” he asked John to record and produce it.
worked on the material and format of the album, mostly traditional songs
with Bob’s superb voice accompanied only by his equally wonderful guitar
"At last, the
record we've been waiting for from Bob, it's the sound we hear in live
performance, that astonishing guitar technique coupled with one of
England's finest voices." Ralph McTell
the usual grueling round of solo touring Bob teamed up with old mate Billy
Mitchell ex-Lindisfarne front man for a very special duo tour in the Autumn
This tour resulted in a great live CD being produced called “5 Star
B & B."
(Bob thought of that!)
The pairing proved to be highly successful and so enjoyable that they did a second extensive UK tour together in 2007 and produced a
second album "Back on City Road"
Bob started the year with a 3 month tour of Australia and New Zealand, beginning at Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania on Fri 11th January and including Festival performances in Georgetown, Aukland, Brunswick and The Australian National in Canberra as well as numerous other concerts from the top to the bottom of NZ and all around Australia, finishing in Melbourne on 28th March!!
He returned to the UK to a full schedule of British Festivals and gigs before embarking on a massive and long awaited re-union tour with Stu Luckley to celebrate 30th anniversary of the release of their seminal vinyl L.P. record
"Nowt So Good'll Pass"
The original album had been unavailable for years as had their second album "Wish We Never Had Parted" so Bob and Stu lovingly and painstakingly re-recorded every track from both albums sticking faithfully to their original arrangements and including some previously unrecorded material to produce a fantastic commemorative double CD aptly entitled
"Thirty Years On"
The tour was extremely well received and finished with a triumphant return to their native North East for the final concert of the tour at The Sage,Gateshead.
More UK touring for Bob solo and a third and fourth duo tour with Billy Mitchell....they were getting to like it!
April 2010 also saw the throwing together of the very first "Pitmen Poets" concert when Bob was asked to put a team together for a one-off concert of North Eastern "cultural" material at The Kings Place in London.
He recruited old mates Benny Graham and Billy Mitchell and added North East singer/songwriter Jez Lowe to join him. This was a significant development of the earlier show with Benny "How are you off for coals".
The Pitmen Poets concert went so well that they were asked to repeat it at The Sage,Gateshead in March 2011 and the resulting success prompted the organising of a short tour.
Bob was enjoying great popularity as a solo artist and having much fun touring as a duo with Billy. The new "Pitmen Poets" were all set to take the scene by storm when a meeting with John Tams changed his life completely!
Bob was doing a solo gig at The Spanker Inn, Nether Heage (Tam's home village) 1st July 2011 and John arrived at the gig late and they chatted on long after the gig was over during which time John suggested that Bob would be an ideal "Songman" in the National Theatre's production of WarHorse in the West End.
3 months later Bob was rehearsing in London with the new cast and travelling up and down to the North to fulfill Pitme Poets gigs. He opened in the New London Theatre as "Songman" in October 2011!! ught