Mudcat Café message #2163423 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104731   Message #2163423
Posted By: The Sandman
04-Oct-07 - 05:02 AM
Thread Name: how important is the label traditional singer?
Subject: RE: how important is the label traditional singer?
Jim, I said possibly.,however I apologise,it is the norm to put your name by GUEST.
Bob Roberts

Bob Roberts was a characterful singer with many songs about the sea, who is associated particularly with the Suffolk coast, and was known and loved by folk aficionados and sailing-barge enthusiasts all over the country. This article is written by Bob's daughters who are both active on the folk scene in the eastern region Jill plays fiddle and dulcimer and Anne plays melodeon and gives us an insight into the man behind the songs.




Ask people what they remember about Bob Roberts, and they'll tell you he was a 'great character'. He was proud to be a bargeman a dying breed even when he first stepped aboard a spritsail barge in the 1930s; a man who loved sailing both for work and pleasure. He was a singer who could get audiences roaring choruses to songs he learned trading round the East Anglian coast and a master storyteller: a former Fleet Street journalist who could make bargemen's seafaring adventures come alive.



His broadcasting brought their songs to a wider audience; his appearances at folk festivals, on radio and television, linked a modern generation to the music of the days of sail.



Bob was born Alfred William Roberts in 1907. His parents were teachers: his father, brought up in North Wales, played piano, church organ, melodeon, concertina and fiddle. He ran Hampreston village school in Dorset and was visited by Ralph Vaughan Williams, maybe through his interest in folk music, maybe because he ran the church choir and played for village dances. Bob left Wimborne Grammar School (where he had a choral scholarship) at 17 and after several unsatisfactory jobs became a journalist, starting on the Orpington Gazette, and progressing to Fleet Street as a sports reporter on the Daily Mail.But his passion was sailing. He left the Mail twice for long voyages of adventure, complete with ship's cat and melodeon. His early songs like Haul Away Joe reflect his deep sea ambitions.



Back in England Bob couldn't settle in what he called the musty offices of Fleet Street. He loved the pageant of sail in London River and left to work on a sailing barge. Over the next 35 years he was in eight barges: three as mate, five as skipper. He picked up songs from East Anglian bargemen and countrymen, adding to his repertoire.



Bob married Amelia (Toni) Roberts in 1940 they'd met in the late 1920s   - and in 1949 they moved to Pin Mill in Suffolk. He worked as a sub-editor on the East Anglian Daily Times, but then he was offered the barge he made famous: F.T. Everard and Sons' Cambria, and couldn't resist going back to sea. However, the handsome Cambria didn't entirely support a wife and two daughters. So hours waiting for wind or tide were spent writing books and articles on his battered old Corona portable typewriter.
This is from Bob Roberts website,There is no mention of the label traditional singer ,there is no need,he is aptly described without it,it is unnecessary, that is my whole point.
Jim ,thankyou for your post which is informative and interesting for ,and thanks for dealing with the points I raised.
Finally the Irish traditional music scene does not need to use these labels,[even though Comhaltas was formed because they thought it needed reviving ]people just play and sing.
GuestIRISH/ENGLISH,John Kirkpatrick is not a pal of mine,more an acquaintance,who recorded on Boxing Cleverhttp://www.dickmiles.com