Bob Roberts


Bob Roberts (1907 – 1982) was a British folk singer, songwriter, storyteller, bargeman, author, and journalist. He was the last captain of a British commercial vessel operating under sail, and brought to an end a centuries-old tradition. Working as a bargeman during the 1950s allowed Roberts to collect songs from bargemen and others he met along the East Anglian coast, which he added to his repertoire of his own songs. From the 1950s onwards, Roberts appeared in folk clubs and festivals. He gained the reputation as a great story teller, distinctive singer and charismatic personality. Alfred William Roberts was born in 1907 in the village of Hampreston, Dorset England, where his parents taught in the village school. Robert’s father, who was brought up in North Wales, ran the church choir as well as playing the piano, church organ, melodeon, concertina and fiddle for village dances. These musical interests led Ralph Vaughan Williams to visit him at the village. Roberts attended Wimborne Grammar School on a choral scholarship. After leaving school at 17, he eventually became a journalist at the Orpington Gazette, before moving to work as a sports reporter for the Daily Mail on Fleet Street. Robert found it difficult to settle at job at the Mail, and twice took off on long sea voyages. Finally he left the newspaper to work on a Thames sailing barge. Apart from a short stint as a sub-editor at the East Anglian Daily Times in the late forties, Roberts would work on eight bar...

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