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Bob Fox "Dreams Never Leave You" Woodworm Records WRCD035

I must confess to having never seen Bob Fox live, and neither have I heard any of his earlier albums with partner Stu Luckley. And it was my loss, for on the basis of this, his first solo outing, I suspect he provides a terrific evening's entertainment. You can tell he has been around for a while, both from his confident but relaxed delivery and his eclectic mix of material. There is both trad and contemporary folk here, and, dare I say, a bit of easy listening, but it's OK, Bob's not afraid of singing what many people would probably consider "uncool", and his confidence brings it off.

Ralph McTell's "From Clare to Here" must have been covered to death in pubs the length and breadth of the country, yet he gives it a very respectful and solid performance. He does the same with Jimmy Nail's "Big River", prefacing it with a stirring rendition of the traditional "Water of Tyne", accompanied just by Ric Sanders' fiddle. And he eases the obligatory Beatles song - "From Me to You" - into the programme with a line from the previous track, Jez Lowe's "Greek Lightning" - "I shouted for songs by the Beatles". Clever stuff. There is plenty of more conventional fare here, such as "The White Cockade" and "The Galway Shawl" or a quite jazzy version of Ewan McColl's "Champion at Keeping Them Rolling". Bob pays every line the same respect.

For much of the album there is a fair smattering of Fairports in evidence, but the production throughout stays both varied and clean. And Bob always stays centre stage, both his guitar and voice highly distinctive. I'll be making a special effort to catch him when he next appears in my neck of the folk club circuit.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 47 of The Living Tradition magazine.