It is with great sadness to say that John passed away in March 2015 aged 70 years! We will keep him on our Patrons Page as a mark of respect and love!
A great man, a great musician and a great friend!
John Renbourn studied classical guitar at school and it was during this period that he was introduced to Early Music. In the 1950s, along with many others, he was greatly influenced by the musical craze of "Skiffle" and this eventually led him to explore the work of artists such as Lead Belly, Josh White and Big Bill Broonzy.
In the 1960s the new craze in popular music was Rhythm and Blues, also the impact of Davey Graham was being felt. In 1961 Renbourn toured the South West with Mac MacLeod and repeated the tour in 1963.On returning from the South West Renbourn and MacLeod recorded a demo tape together. Renbourn briefly played in an R&B band while studying at the Kingston College of Art in London. Although the British "Folk Revival" was underway, most folk clubs were biased towards traditional, unaccompanied folk songs, and guitar players were not always welcome. However, the Roundhouse in London had a more tolerant attitude and here, John Renbourn joined blues and gospel singer Dorris Henderson, playing backing guitar and recording two albums with her.
Possibly the best known London venue for contemporary folk music in the early 1960s was "Les Cousins" on Greek Street, Soho, which became the main meeting place for guitar players and contemporary singer-songwriters from Britain and America. Around 1963, Renbourn teamed up with guitarist Bert Jansch who had moved to London from Edinburgh, and together they developed an intricate duet style that became known as "folk baroque". Their album Bert and John is a fine example of their playing.
Renbourn released several albums on the Transatlantic label during the 1960s. Two of them, Sir John Alot and Lady and the Unicorn, sum up Renbourn's playing style and material from this period. Sir John Alot has a mixture of jazz/blues/folk playing alongside a more classical/early music style. Lady and the Unicorn is heavily influenced by Renbourn's interest in early music.
At around this time, Renbourn also started playing and recording with Jacqui McShee who sang traditional English folk songs, and with American fiddler Sue Draheim. Together with Bert Jansch, bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox, they went on to form Pentangle. The group became very successful, touring America in 1968, playing at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Folk Festival.
Renbourn went on to record more solo albums in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the music is based on traditional material with a Celtic influence, interwoven with other styles. He also collaborated with American guitarist Stefan Grossman in the late 1970s, recording two albums with him, which at times recall his folk baroque days with Bert Jansch.
In the mid-1980s Renbourn went back to the university to earn a degree in composition at Dartington College of Arts. Since then, he has focused mainly on writing classical music, while still performing in folk settings. He also added acoustic guitars for the movie soundtrack Scream for Help, a studio project with his neighbour John Paul Jones.
In 1988, Renbourn briefly formed a group called Ship of Fools with Tony Roberts (flute), Maggie Boyle (lyrics, misc. instruments) and Steve Tilston (guitar). They recorded one eponymous album together. After practising by mailing tapes to each other in England, they held their first concert, comprising two sold-out shows, at Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club Theater. Regrettably, the soundboard bootleg tape was not saved due to a dispute between the concert promoter and the audio engineer.
Renbourn continues to record and tour. He toured the USA with Archie Fisher. In 2005 he toured Japan (his fifth tour of that country) with Tokio Uchida and Woody Mann. In 2006 he played at number of venues in England, including appearances with Robin Williamson and with Jacqui McShee. In the same year, he was working on a new solo album and collaborated with Clive Carroll on the score for the film Driving Lessons, directed by Jeremy Brock.
In 2011 he released Palermo Snow, a collection of instrumental guitar solos also featuring clarinetist Dick Lee. The title track is a complex mix of classical, folk, jazz and blues. This piece is a departure, in that there is a classical core, with other styles intermixing, rather than the core style being blues, folk or jazz.
Since 2012 he has toured with Wizz Jones, playing a mixture of solo and duo material. Renbourn previously appeared on Jones's album "Lucky the Man" (2001) with other former members of Pentangle.
In Renbourn's early recordings, he was using a Scarth guitar. Scarths were English-made guitars, mainly used by dance band players, having maple back and sides, arched top, and tailpiece (like most jazz guitars), but featuring a round soundhole. The guitar is clearly visible on the cover of the 1965 John Renbourn album.
In the mid-1960s, he acquired a Gibson J-50. This was the main acoustic guitar that he used through the late 1960s and early 1970s: for example, he is seen playing it in the cover picture of the 1967 Another Monday album. Through that period, he also used a Gibson ES-335 "dot", semi-acoustic guitar, playing it fingerstyle as well as for lead lines.
In the mid-1970s, Renbourn acquired a Guild D-55 which he used on several albums, including his collaborations with Stefan Grossman. Later in the 1970s, having seen the Franklin guitar owned by Grossman, he started using a Franklin OM guitar, based on the style of Martin OM guitars, made by Nick Kukich who founded the Franklin guitar company. Renbourn continues to use this guitar and another OM-style instrument, made by Ralph Bown of York, UK, in 1985. He also has a signature model guitar, no longer in production, from C. F. Martin & Company.
Anthony John Clarke
Chances are you've met Anthony John at an event on the folk music circuit. He has been involved in music for many years now, having recorded twelve CD albums, three CD singles and published two songbooks. He has played in hundreds of clubs and festivals in the UK, Europe, Australasia and the USA, and his songs and career receive good coverage.Anthony John Clarke was born in Belfast on 18th October 1956. He started songwriting at the age of nine inspired by the sixties but it was only when he left Ireland and came to England that he pursued his passion for writing with any vigour. Lacking belief in his work he languished in the shadow of others for too long but the creator of "Irish Eyes" and the beautiful "Seven In Ireland" was destined to make a mark on the British contemporary music scene. Living in Liverpool and being managed superbly by Sheelagh McGovern for many years afforded Anthony John the opportunity of performing his songs far and wide. Seven tours of the East Coast of the USA ensured him a small but loyal following there which remains loyal to him to this day. Bookings at clubs up and down the UK and recent developments including the vocal collaboration with Elizabeth van de Waal increased his popularity and made him an established folk name.
There are very few places in the UK and Ireland that Anthony John has not played. His supporters are loyal and many, and the tributes he receives from his peers bear witness to the talent and hard work of one of the folk scene's nicest guys. He retains his reputation as one of the top songwriters on the scene and his hard work and dedication to his craft are a credit to him. For him, songwriting is indeed a craft"The songwriter has a responsibility. It's not enough to put a tune to some words or some words to a tune. The song is a vehicle for a notion that the writer has about something. If it wasn't, then the song would have no beginning, middle or end. It's not complicated. The notion is what starts the process and the completed song is the fruition. It invites others into the notion, the idea, the feeling, the celebration, the private moment. And if you can provide a laugh or two along the way it gets my vote."
Anthony John speaking on BBC Northern Ireland 2004
"People don't leave the house to be bored to death. You have a responsibility to entertain and avoid being self-indulgent. I avoid being professionally Irish as much as I can. Just because I'm an Irish songwriter doesn't mean I can't love the Kinks and the Small Faces, Wes Montgomery, Coldplay. I like the songs of George Formby. They were my first delight musically and I liked listening to them with my children as they were growing up."
Anthony John speaking on BBC Radio Merseyside 2005
His songs include the legendary: "Broken Years", "Darling", "The Only Life Gloria Knows", "Tuesday Night Is Always Karaoke", "Walking On Sunday", "Irish Eyes", "Between Midnight And Blue" and the sensational "Two People".
DHis shows are funny, challenging and extremely popular. Anthony John Clarke is one of the music scene's real gentlemen.
Dave was born on 2 November 1947 and brought up in Acocks Green, Birmingham. He joined Fairport Convention in 1969.
As a teenager, Dave became involved in Birmingham's vibrant 60s rock scene. He soon found himself playing guitar most evenings with one or other of the city's young bands. Later, Dave auditioned as a lead guitarist with The Uglys but was persuaded to swap to bass guitar and has played the instrument ever since.
After a spell with The Uglys, Dave joined the Ian Campbell Folk Group on double bass and met fiddle maestro Dave Swarbrick by whom he was introduced to Fairport Convention. He joined them and has been in the band ever since.
In 1980, he joined Jethro Tull as bass player and spent 15 years with the band. As if playing in two bands was not enough, he set up Woodworm Records to produce and market Fairport's albums. He also recorded a solo album.
Dave has also co-organised Fairport's Cropredy festival since the early 1980s. From small beginnings, it has grown into a major event that attracts 20,000 fans each August.
As well as recording and touring with Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull, Dave is much in demand as a session player and has contributed bass to innumerable recordings. He is also an accomplished mandolin player.
Dave lives in Banbury, Oxfordshire.
One of the finest exponents of Traditional Song in the United Kingdom; Raised in Norfolk and heavily influenced by such earlier Norfolk singers as Walter Pardon and Peter Bellamy, Damien is a stylish and distinctive singer, either unaccompanied or using guitar or concertina. Though he has lived for a long time in West Yorkshire he retains a strong East Anglian identity.
Damien has a rich repertoire of traditional songs plus the work of modern folk writers such as Bellamy, Ewan MacColl and Mike Waterson.