ROY BAILEY, who has died at 83, was a Sheffield folk singer described by the politician Tony Benn as the greatest of his generation.
A musician who played alongside Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg and Tom Paxton on the international circuit, he was also a professor of social studies and the recipient of an MBE, which he returned.
He performed his final concert in his adopted city only a few weeks ago, after decades using his music to explore poverty, war and inequality.
His son-in-law, Martin Simpson, said he had never ceased to be a protest singer.
But in an interview a few years earlier, Bailey said he was not trying to spread a message.
“I’m just telling people in my songs that these are the things that make me laugh, cry and make me angry,” he said. “If people see me as a political singer that’s up to them. A lot of other singers share my world views, it’s just that I express mine through my music and they don’t. My songs are a comment about the world rather than a rallying cry for revolution.”
Born in London, he had begun singing in 1958, in a skiffle band in the student bars of the south coast, when the success of Lonnie Donegan made them fashionable. Later he joined the Three City Four, a folk ensemble that featured Leon Rosselson as a replacement for the influential guitarist Martin Carthy. Bailey released a first solo album in 1971 and went on to record around 20 more, eventually on his own Fuse label.
In 1998, he played a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
His association with Mr Benn had begun in 1976 and they performed as an unlikely folk duo, playing to 300 people in working men’s clubs and to 9,000 at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2000. Their performance there was released as an album called
and they went on to be named best live act at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
In his academic life he lectured in Britain, Germany, Belgium, the USA, Canada and Australia. In retirement, he became emeritus professor at Sheffield Hallam University and in 1989 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His MBE, for services to folk music, came in 2000, and was returned six years later, in protest against British support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
He is survived by his wife, Val, children Kit and David, and a brother, Ron. RODNEY GREEN, who has died at 79, was a former Halifax Town footballer who also turned out for Luton, Watford and Durban United in South Africa.
It was while playing for Halifax in 1962 that he was spotted by the manager of third division Bradford Park Avenue. He went on to play for both of the city’s league clubs and in his second full season at Bradford City became its top scorer.
He had trained originally as a teacher, after leaving Rastrick Grammar, but spent just a few months in his first post at Guiseley before being signed by Bradford. He moved to South Africa in 1970 and returned to Halifax six years later, becoming an antiques dealer and opening a shop on North Bridge. He later founded a furniture importing company in Elland.
He is survived by his four sons, daughter and step-daughter, and their families. THE ROCK musician Pete Shelley, who has died at 63, was a key figure in the punk music movement of the late 1970s.
A native of Leigh in Lancashire, he formed his band, the Buzzcocks, in Bolton at around the same time as the Sex Pistols, and the comparisons were many – with most commentators concluding that Shelley’s outfit was no less influential and a good deal more polished.
In 1976, he and his bandmate, Howard Devoto, had been to see the Sex Pistols in London and arranged for them to appear at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Unable to recruit any other supporting artists, the event was be the Buzzcocks’ stage debut. They became an important part of the burgeoning Manchester music scene, and the following year, recorded their best known song, The band broke up in 1981 but reformed eight years later, and continued to release albums and to tour. In the meantime, Shelley pursued a solo career, with a 1981 hit in America, called
Roy Bailey explored themes of poverty, war and inequality.