Rod­ney Green

Yorkshire Post - - OBITUARIES & APPRECIATIONS -

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.

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