Friday October 4th 2019 (Bob Fox)

Have we ever had a “turn” from the Northeast who failed to give us a great night? I think not. Tonight we had the very welcome return of Bob Fox.

The usual suspects served as foreplay before Bob’s first set, which lasted for almost an hour. An array of material, including some seldom heard Ewan MacColl songs and some from “Warhorse” (Bob was the “Songman” in the production for several runs), all richly sung with accompaniment from nimble fingers on guitar.

Bob explained that he had to learn to play the melodeon to get the “Songman” job. I’ve often looked at a melodeon and thought “pressing a few buttons while you squeeze it? Can’t be all that difficult? Even Keith Price can manage it”. Now, knowing how it works – perhaps not for me. Several John Tams songs made their appearance in the set, the first half ending with “Rolling Home”, which we all belted out, some of us in tune.

Following the short break, Brian, Geoff S and Mike did one each to warm us up for part 2 (Brian sang Sheep Crook & Black Dog but I’m trying to erase it from my memory). Alun is still in Witness Protection till next week, but if the murderous drug cartels want him – he’s in France.

More of the same in part 2 from Bob, the second half having more of a Tyne & Wear flavour. Loads of banter, which we love at Rhyl and an endless supply of chorus songs, although Bob berated the audience for their inability to manage anything much more than 2 short lines. Our lot struggle to remember their names.

One of the most popular songs of the night was “The Whitby Tailor” – where the bloke goes on the booze before going out(pre-loading) so he’s half cut when he meets the girl. He then suggests cross dressing and it goes downhill and tits up from there. “Farewell Johnny Miner” was the “last” song of the night (I remember Nick Jackson writing “Farewell Johnny Major” after an election), with “Sally Wheatley” sending us home with a song in our hearts. A privilege to have such a talent at our club. I’m not known for being pleasant or kind to anyone –  I’m a Northerner, I don’t take prisoners – but what a great night. Only criticism? Get a bloody shave, Bob!

Here’s a Youtube clip of Bob singing “The Snow Falls”. Sorry about the shorts, not in my control. You can catch Bob and the other Pitmen Poets at the Brindley Theatre, Runcorn on Oct. 29th.

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