Since the 1950s Bob has been recording and singing and educating and talking and “curating” great folk nights in the London area, the first being at The Fox in Islington. Perhaps “roots music nights” might be a better expression because, on a typical night organised by Bob and his pals, you might see a New Orlean’s Jazz band, Sam Sherry, the Lancashire Clog Dancer and singer, Loudon Wainwright or even the late Dubliner, Luke Kelly.
Bob has made a cluster of fine albums and on them you’ll find everything from a Billy Bennett monologue to a traditional Border Ballad, from a Richard Thompson song to an Irish Music Hall song.
He has had a massive influence on the folk scene and his work with bands like The Rakes, Flowers and Frolics and The Marsden Rattlers has produced a fine body of songs and music including probably the best version ever of the Bonzo’s song Mickey’s Son And Daughter.
More recently Bob has been working with Roger Digby, the great Anglo concertina player, and the result has been such classic recordings as Bring Your Best Men Forward.
Bob once told me that he started singing because he was in a pub in the East End of London when a load of gangsters came in. Bob’s pal told them he was a singer so they could get a couple of free drinks. When it came down to it, as Bob said, it was either sing or end up in intensive care. Thankfully he sang out and earned his keep – he’s been doing it ever since.