BOB FOX – Dorking Folk Club, Dorking (08.06.11)

The nice thing about arriving at Dorking Folk Club is that you are automatically made welcome by host and organiser Neil McRitchie and the friendly regulars. The new setting (a slightly smaller room due to the old one becoming too expensive) suits the club and the convivial surroundings lend well to the more intimate ‘acoustic’ setting. Starting with a floorspot from Terry (I’m afraid I didn’t catch his second name) who crooned his way…very well too…and much appreciated by the audience…through “Those Were The Days” and “House Of The Rising Sun” it was onto the main menu and a serving of Fox…Bob Fox that is. From the moment Bob set foot on stage you could rest assured that you were in the presence of ‘folk’ royalty such is the esteem he is held in and, as ever, a lot of this is down to his Northern wit and a performance that at times beggared belief. From his vast repertoire he stated straight away that the set would be (more or less) of our choosing. Starting with the ballad of “Jack Crawford” and how the said ‘Jack’ would be forever linked to the statement “…nail your colours to the mast…” it was request time for much of the rest of the gig. “Bonny Gateshead Lass”, “Dance To Your Daddy” and the salute to the shipyards with Jimmy Nail’s towering “Big River” were all included along with possibly the best rendition of “Galway Shawl” I have ever witnessed. To see an entire club (and I do mean entire club) so energised as to want to join in the chorus at every opportunity was truly inspirational. I’m sure he could have sung this song the full evening and everyone would have gone away happy but the ‘hits’ kept coming including “Greek Lightning”, “Sally Wheatley” and the encore “Rambling Rover” ensuring a long and orderly queue for his merchandise at the end of the evening. Many of today’s aspiring folk and acoustic artists could gain a lot in the art of stage-craft from witnessing our man in action not only from his rich vocal and technically flawless guitar picking but his ‘entertaining’ (yes, I know…it’s a ‘dirty’ word) delivery. My gig of the year so far and trust me, it will take some beating! 


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