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.
In 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. After 2 very successful years Bob and Tom parted company and the duo with ex Hedgehog Pie man Stu Luckley was formed. This 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!’ Following 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.
The duo also toured Germany, Holland, Australia and New Zealand in their own right and released a second album ‘Wish We Never Had Parted ‘
By 1984, the duo decided 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.
Jumping forward to 2000, 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
“DREAMS NEVER LEAVE YOU” with various members of FAIRPORT playing on it.
In between came various nominations for Folk Awards, further albums, and tours that confirmed Bob’s position in the top flight of British folk musicians.
In 2006 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 critical acclaim.
His working relationship with John Tams was so successful that when Bob recorded “The Blast” he asked John to record and produce it. Together they worked on the material and format of the album, mostly traditional songs with Bob’s superb voice accompanied only by his equally wonderful guitar playing.
April 2010 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”.
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 – having, in that short space of time, somehow managed to master the melodeon!!