W TERRY FOX

        

w-terry-fox-sketch

 
 
 
 
 

  Poet Writer

Vocalist Musician

                    

 

William Terry Fox is an unsung hero of the world of poetry and music. A contemporary of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he is a modest genius who's songs and words have stood the test of time.

terry-fox-guitarist

Known as Terry to his friends, he grew up in the smoke and got into the performing arts through his love of Traditional Jazz, Blues, Folk and Rock.

Terry in the 50s

Terry taught himself the basics of banjo and guitar, but dropped them both in favour of the acoustic piano after hearing a Jimmy Yancy recording of the soulful blues, At The Window. A self -taught blues, boogie and ragtime player, Terry's first serious band in the sixties was the Giles-Fox Hot Four who toured Sweden with Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen.

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As a young man growing up and mixing with fellow Blues enthusiasts such as Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Paul Jones and Cyril Davies, he soon joined up with Henri Harrison, Brian 'Smudger' Smith, Keith Canadine and Steve Smith to form the cult R&B band Cops n Robbers with Terry on piano and Vox Continental and and Hammond organs.

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Along with the Rolling Stones, The Animals and The Artwoods (later to evolve into Deep Purple) they were given five year contracts with Decca Records.

The Cops n Robbers are noted for launching the career of their old mate from St. Albans and one time band member Donovan Leitch. During their time they also appeared live on TV's Ready Steady Go!, on Five O'Clock Club with Alexis Korner and Duffy Power, and on Manchester's Scene At 6.30.

They backed blues legend John Lee Hooker on his 1965 UK tour and were described by Eric Burdon as the one band in Britain capable of doing justice to the American blues man's unique style.

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The Cops n Robbers time at Decca was typical of the decade with the record company dictating what was and was not to be played and sacrificing musical integrity in search of a hit record. However the band released the much sort after album The Cops andRobbers featuring their own songs and other blues numbers.

PYE records released a single in Britain and a hit EP in France, I Could Have Danced All Night (on which Terry plays alto saxophone as well as keyboards) a song not of their choice, but, the better songs on the disc did lead to an invitation to follow in the Beatles footsteps and perform live at the Olympia, Paris on the PJ Proby Show.

On Decca USA sister labels Parrot and Coral they released various singles including, It's All Over Now Baby Blue/I Found Out (Coral), St. James Infirmary/Theres Got To Be A Reason (Parrot) and Just Keep Right On (Coral). These excersions into the American market were the beginnings of the bands cult status, much emulated and copied in the Grarage/Psych boom of the mid sixties. In those days Terry co-wrote his songs with Brian "Smudger" Smith and they came to the notice of other top bands, Oh My Love was released by The Artwoods and You'll Never Do It Baby was released by The Pretty Things, by USA garage band The Lyres in the eighties and by Holly Golightly's band Thee Headcotees in 2008.

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Terry's days with The Cops n Robbers came to an end in 1966 when his health was wearing thin with all the travelling and over indulgence symbolic of the sixties.Shortly before he left, he set up the New Vaudeville Band for Tin Pan Alley wizard Geoff Stephens (co-manager with Pete Eden of Cops n Robbers and folk singer Donovan), however after playing just a few dates he handed over to Henri Harrison, another old mate from the St. Albans scene (now of Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band) and moved up north to Stoke-on-Trent were he married a local girl.

In the 1970's, inspired by his aquaintance with Geordie singer Bob Davenport, terry was increasingly drawn to his own ethnic music. A chance meeting with tin whistle playercharlie-ferguson and flutist Charlie 'Chris' Ferguson from Bangor, N. Ireland, led to him studying tin whistle and bodhran under Charlies tutelage. They played together in Irish clubs and folk clubs around the midlands for a couple of years, sharing gigs with Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, Sean Canon and Dominic Behan, until Charlie moved back to Ireland.

Terry was then hired for Mooncrest with Stoke-in-Trent buddy Malcolm Spooner (later to co-found the band Demon). The two were signed by the Dawn Record Label, under the name of Me and Him realeasing two singles, For The Sake Of The Show/Loving Arc and Waiting There/Now You're down In London. They also wrote a single , Love Donation/Sad Song for Dawn Records band The Others.

In the late 1970's and early 1980's Terry rejuvinated himself and his music, by giving the folk music world the proverbial kick up the arse.  Heymaker redefined the language of folk-rock fusion. The band founded with his wife Lynda Fox on keyboards and percussion, stepson Jack Fox on lead guitar, drummer Mickey Gibson and bass player Phil Johnson.However Heymaker's sound was characterised by Terry's individual electric fiddle style and his brilliantly quirky songs, such as his lyric/poem to masterbation, Rhythmic Habits, and his song of love and lust Be My Violin. Heymaker quickly developed into a cult band, in demand on the beer festival, biker circuits and around Europe in particular Germany influencing The Levellers among many others.

The 1986 Etruria Garden Festival became the birthplace of Terry's acoustic folk band Boneshaker. The band was formed originally to back the bones player Rob Coppard who achieved short-lived fame by appearing on the Ester Ranzen Show. With Terrydelivering vocals and playing acoustic fiddle, tin whistle and bodhran, the band established itself as a worthy acoustic counterpart to Heymaker.

Other members of Boneshaker were, Geoff Walton (acoustic guitar-bouzouki-bodrhan), Jack Fox (bass guitar-bodrhan), Adam Fenn (mandolin-low whistle-tin whistle-fiddle-bodhran), along with Adrian "Croz" Crosbie (melodian-fiddle), Phil Johnson (bass guitar) and Neil Hulse (acoustic guitar).

During the 1986 Boneshaker established themselves as a top class acoustic folk band, they did a huge amount of national and local radio slots Including (Folk on 2), as well as a dozen TV slots. Along with Heymaker, the band became a major force on the folk scene headlining club gigs, rallys and festivals. They were also popular with real ale drinkers and the Staffordshire CAMRA organisation, who's guru Barry Underwood and  ents man Dave Washbrook booked them to headline many large beer festival gatherings over the years.

Terry and Croz took some time out from Bonshaker to record an album with the extroadinary and idiosyncratic Jim Eldon, an ex-merchant seaman turned folk fiddler and singer from Hull. The album was released under the name of Jim Eldon and The Sharpshooters, with Croz on cello and Terry on second fiddle the three folkies recorded a handful of English folk dance tunes interspersed with some of Jim"s songs.

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In1995 Terry and Adam Fenn were invited by the British Government and Council to the City of Gdansk Poland, for the month long British Weeks Festival, performing English Broadsides to Polish audiences under the name Set The Milkmaids Free. They performed on Polish TV and live on the cult radio station Radio ARnet in a broadcast supporting Solidarities election campaign. Their bootlegged performances are still much saught after in the music worlds black market.

By now Boneshaker had become a platform for Terry's talents, offering him a free rein to perform his much loved traditional Anglo/Celtic songs and dance tunes. This enviroment with these wonderful musicians became the breeding place for more of Terry's self penned songs and stories of Staffordshire, Cheshire, political protest and poingnant observations. He remains one of far too few artists able to add new traditional/contemporary style folk songs, to the wealth of this great historic tradition, with songs that will be remembered 100 years from now. The band meet these days for Fairport Convention style get togethers as Terry's life becomes ever more consumed in words and music. This period also led to the forging of a partnership with virtuoso mandolin player Adam Fenn that endures to this day.

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Terry had during this period been writing poems as well as songs, although it would be fair to describe  many of his songs as song-poems. This work however remained hidden from the public as Terry refused to have them published.

Along with his band work Terry has also performed many solo gigs stretching back to the 1993 Universities Music Festival at which he topped the bill. In 2001 he played in France once again doing a solo spot at the cult association venue, the Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal Cafe (SSBONC), in Le Havre, Terry was heard to remark that the French were so impressed by his sixties Cops n Robbers gig that it took them 37 years to invite him back.

Terry's songs, poems and writing grew more diverse with time,  writing the biography of  Battling Jack, the story of Jackie Turpin of the famous Turpin boxing family and publishing several books of poems. He also did a two year spell as Cheshires Poet Laureate 2008/2009

In 2009 Terry came full circle with the formation of StringFing. Back on his old workhorse Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar and supported by Adam Fenn on mandolin and low whistle and the classic cellist Emilly Tellwright, he found a new rich groove for his music. 

Terry,s new songs continue to inspire, in 2012 his 'Lyin' Poltician Blues' was the inspiration behind the Lyin Politician Blues Festival in September, he allowed others through YouTube and Facebook to add verses of discontent of their own. The project caught the imagination of the public so well it is to become an annual event (unless all politicians start telling the truth).

After a long series of successful gigs Emily left StringFing in 2012 to concentrate on her art work, Terry and Adam carried on as a duo until the increasing demands of Terry’s Creative Writing teaching made music gigs unviable.

He now plays occasional gigs on fiddle with Jason Hill’s Alfa-Alfa & The Wild Oats and on guitar with his own Woodlands Country Dance Band. He also manages to get some studio time in, to make recordings with his wife Lynda and son Jack.

Terry’s latest project is a biography of The Cops n Robbers, he has just begun the research and drafting of the narrative, any reminiscences or photo’s of the band that you have would be welcomed by him.

By coincidence it has just been announced that one of Terry and Smudger Smith’s songs from their time in The Cops n Robbers, ‘Oh My Love’ covered by the Artwoods, is to be on the soundtrack of the controversial French film ‘Marguerite et Julien’, scheduled for release in September 2015

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NoLeftEar Artist



Ram Yer Spike

At Meadow Bank where I was born
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
We fire our brine pans up at dawn
Ram yer spike and fill the loft

Live out yer life in smoke and grime
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
Sweat for yer money at the bubbling brine
Ram yer spike and fill the loft

A Union lass, she likes her man
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
Stripped to the waist with his happer in his
hand
Ram yer spike and fill the loft

With two half barrels on yer feet
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
Dodge the pan in the blinding heat
Ram yer spike and fill the loft

Yer money will spend and yer clogs will
rot
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
Touch yer cap to the Union boss
Ram yer spike and fill the loft

When poverty drives a man blackleg
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
Send him off with yer mundling peg
Ram yer spike and fill the loft

Come lumpmen, wallers, loftmen too
Draw yer rake and hap yer block
Here’s salt in yer beer to the Union crew
Ram yer spike and fill the loft.

© W. Terry Fox<
Down on poison farm

On Poison Farm the crops are in
The fields are stripped; the yields are slim
Let the Harvest Home begin
Down on Poison Farm

The cock won’t crow at the break of day
The five-bar gate is crumbling away
The scarecrow has been scared away
Down on Poison Farm

Slates are falling from the roof
The horse has gone and cracked his hoof
The milkmaid’s in love with Beowulf
Down on Poison Farm


The wind blows cold over the hill
On the ploughboy strung from the
window sill
Time is all there is they will not kill
Down on Poison Farm

Once there was . on a May morning - g . . .
Once there was . when small birds sing - g . . .
Once there was . in the grrreen rrrushes o . . .
Once there was . in the long,

long ago - oh . . .

The milk’s going sour in the can
Peter Pan said to The Elephant Man
There’ll be no more bread – the mill’s
got jammed
Down on Poison Farm

The cornfield crows are ready to fly
The farmer’s keeping his powder dry
With an odd look in his one good eye
Down on Poison Farm

Farmer Brown went to town
Looked the pretty girls up and down
Got caught with his trousers
Down on Poison Farm
Trouble an’ strife: the farmer’s wife
Cut off his tail with her carving knife
You can see such things every day of your life
Down on Poison Farm

Once there was . on a May morning - g . . .
Once there was . when small birds
sing - g . . .
Once there was . in the grrreen rrrushes o . . .
Once there was . in the long, long ago - oh . . .

The setting sun is sinking fast
Your silhouette’s sharp in the shadows
cast
If they had a flag it’d hang half mast
Down on Poison Farm.

© W. Terry Fox
Sad Song (somthing wrong)
I feel a song coming on
It’s a sad song; it’s a blue song
Well, there’s something wrong
‘Cos it’s a sad song
Wait until you hear it
Well, I wouldn’t get too near it –
That blue song; that sad old song
Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to come along

All life’s pleasure is gone
It’s a sad song; it’s a blue song
Keep telling myself to be strong
‘Cos it’s a sad song
Tried to keep it at a distance
I got no resistance
To that blue song; to that sad old song
Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to come along

Sometimes in the night I can sleep all right
Thinking you’re gonna walk through the door
But it never feels right in that cold morning light
When it’s clear you’re not here anymore

I feel a song coming on
It’s a sad song; it’s a blue song
Well, there’s something wrong
‘Cos it’s a sad song
Wait until you hear it
You’ll want to steer it along -
That blue song; that sad old song
Waiting for you to come along
Waiting for you to come along.

© Keith Horn & W. Terry Fox
Fill Up Me Tin
All things must balance.
Make a king and you create a beggar.
There was an old beggar who was proud of his profession:
A Maker of Kings

I am a King Maker, come fill up me tin
I make ‘em wealthacious, plumpacious of chin
I’ve p-ride in my station, me noble vocation
I rattle and battle and fill up me tin

O i dee addy-o, hi dee hin
Whiffle and piffle and stickle me pin
I dee addy o, hi dee hin
Rattle and battle and fill up me tin.

I pay for their barley, doctors from Harley
Fast cars, faux pas, tonics and gin
And if they feel kindly it puts them in mindly
Of tossing me tuppence to tickle me tin

O i dee addy-o, hi dee hin, etc

I’ve a fine box to live in to rattle me tin in
Wet weather might wither and shiver me skin
But its lack of expansion provides for a mansion
While I rattle and battle and fill up me tin

O i dee addy-o, hi dee hin, etc

It’s days since I’ve ated, I’m dehyderated
But let it be stated me trade’s to be thin
For the food in their larders I have to go starvers
And the gravy that lathers their chin upon chin

O i dee addy-o, hi dee hin, etc

Me land I donated their needs to be sated
To be left when bereft to their kith and their kin
For their profits devotions, polluted me oceans
While I rattle and battle and fill up me tin

O i dee addy-o, hi dee hin, etc

And they call me the thief – me with me tin!
All for some pockets me fingers fell in.
Well, the begging was slack, so I borried some back,
Audacious, but temporacious, to fill up me tin

Like Christmassyt parcels your kings in your castles
Can strut their fat astles in softness and sin
While I bear the hardships for your lardi-dah-dahships
And rattle and battle and fill up me tin

O i dee addy-o, hi dee hin, etc.

© W. Terry Fox
Beware The Eve Of Easter
It was on the Eve of Easter
Down by Mermaid’s Pool
I met a girl dressed in white
With a cloak of Gritstone wool
‘These waters are a mirror
A dark glass’, she said
‘Reflecting all the pathways
Your future feet will tread’

‘Come gaze upon tomorrow
For all will be revealed
Through this watery window
Where fates are signed and sealed
For knowledge it is power’
She smiled affectionately
‘And power makes for greatness
And great you will be’

Beware the Eve of Easter
When the waters run uphill
Beware the girl dressed in white
With her cloak of Gritstone wool
Lady Clough, Birchin Clough
Kinder Scout by Kinder Low
The sky will fall around you
When the cold winds blow

The girl she held me spellbound
By the beauty of her face
The way she moved
In tracks that left no trace
And why should not greatness
Be my destiny?
Forearmed for every fight
Would be my guarantee

The waters shone, bright as steel
As I knelt to see the show
Sure enough my future
Reflected in its glow
I saw to seek for greatness
Is the folly of the fool
As down around my head came
That cloak of Gritstone wool

Beware the Eve of Easter
When the waters run uphill
Beware the girl dressed in white
With her cloak of Gritstone wool
Lady Clough, Birchin Clough
Kinder Scout by Kinder Low
The sky will fall around you
When the cold winds blow

To conclude my story
To bring about my song
The girl in white proved no match
For one so young and strong
From this take notice
Let all know by me
On the Eve of Easter
Choose your company carefully

Beware the Eve of Easter
When the waters run uphill
Beware the girl dressed in white
With her cloak of Gritstone wool
Lady Clough, Birchin Clough
Kinder Scout by Kinder Low
The sky will fall around you
When the cold winds blow.

© W. Terry Fox
You've Got It All
The fog it rolled across my window pane
Tried to cloud all the pictures in my brain
You gave them back to me, nothing now is hid
The past is over no matter what you did

You led me back through dark and drifting night
Through empty streets holding out your light
You gave it all to me, now I can give to you
The darkness is over, daylight’s shining through

You’ve got it all, all that I can give
All the tomorrows I shall ever live
You’ve got everything, there’s nothing here to hide
If I could get it, I’d give you more beside

I’d give you hope, I’d give you home and health
And if I could choose a gift from any shelf
I’d give you everything you have ever had to lose
But my biggest gift of all would be to give you you
You’ve got it all, all that I can give
All the tomorrows I shall ever live
You’ve got everything, there’s nothing here to hide
If I could get it, I’d give you more beside

© W. Terry Fox

Sympathy
The postman brought a letter, as it lay there by my door
I knew this wasn’t to be my lucky day
I’d heard you’d got your eye on that guy in Marizion
I thought we had too much to throw away

Well, you fooled me; yes you fooled me, like I’ve never been had before
There’s no one but you I can fairly blame
Left me stranded at the station with no known destination
When all I want is to be back home again

This is not a plea for sympathy
It just happens to be what happened to me

I spent all last night staring at my feet
Searching my soul, feeling blue
Thinking, without you I’m one with one too few
All I want is to be at one with you

This is not a plea for sympathy
It just happens to be what happened to me

Woke up this morning, struggled from my bed
Thinking, better times I’ve surely known
Planning to keep my future shrinking with an overdose of drinking
Now you’ve said my future’s all my own

This is not a plea for sympathy
It just happens to be what happened to me.

© W. Terry Fox

Talking Rrevolution
Midnight oil is burning, shadows making moves,
Murmurs from the basements vibrate in my shoes.
Spray can philosophers have writ upon the wall:
‘He who climbs highest has furthest to fall’.
There’s panic in the palace, rumour and confusion
And everyone you meet is talking revolution.

Lookouts have been posted up on each tower block.
Pope Benedict XVI keeps his money on his sock.
Prime ministers and presidents stand honoured among thieves.
The armless beggar, he alone has nothing up his sleeves.
There is talk of some saviour going to hand out absolution
To every hungry heart that’s talking revolution.

Lucinda grabbed me by the throat: ‘What’s your excuse?
‘You’re so faded, cracked and ugly, I’m going to have to turn you loose.’
Her mouth was screaming up so close to the tombstones of my smile:
‘Gather up your dust,’ she cried. ‘Walk your crooked mile.’
I tried to sing a song for her – some sweet syllables of restitution,
But I couldn’t even hum cuz my convoluted tongue kept talking revolution.

You and me, it cannot be denied,
We are just reflections of the world outside.
I’ve seen the light of battle burning in your eye
(Everybody wants to kill, nobody really ever wants to die)
And when we hold each other in our uneasy truce,
I feel our two hearts beating time to the Talking Revolution Blues.

© W. Terry Fox
Justice For The Lads


Singing filled the street on the sound of tramping feet
The pit boys come marching through the crowd
Off to parliament hell-bent on their intent:
Justice for the lads underground

From down among the dirt where so many lads get hurt
Taffy legged it all the way to town
Pearly Kings helped him out taking basins about:
Justice for the lads underground

Them up above don’t know how bad it is down below
They tell you, ‘Jack, stick with your hands and back,
There’s them that has and them that has the lack’

The lads won’t stand for that, there’s good living and there’s bad
We don’t like the way it’s shared around
We ain’t always free from blame but we’ll try and try again:
Justice for the lads underground

Them up above don’t know how had it is down below
They tell you, ‘Bill, keep your shoulder to the wheel
There’s them that has and them that never will’
We won’t stand for that there’s good living to be had
We’re all sick of being trodden down
Our fight is for fair play, we’ll live to see the day:
Justice for the lads underground

Them up above don’t know how bad it is down below
They tell you, ‘Jack, stick with your hands and back,
There’s them that has and them that has the lack’

Good living is the aim, we’ll try and try again:
Justice for the lads underground.

© W. Terry Fox
Poem For Holocaust Memorial Day


PRELUDE

If we, now, were to observe one
minute’s silence for each person
who perished in the Holocaust,
we should have to stand in silence,
night and day,
for the next eleven years
and five months

ISHMAEL, JACOB, RACHAEL AND ANNA . . .

Ishmael, Jacob, Rachael and Anna,
Joseph, Miriam, take back your names.
By cyanide, rifle or strung from a scaffold,
By disease or starvation, you died just the same.

They brought you by train, huddled and herded,
Truck-full by truck-full, galloped and whipped;
Skittish and squealing, prodded, curse-worded,
Tethered, shorn, branded and stripped.

They beat you and took your young from your caring,
Weighed-up and yoked you and put you to work,
Or culled you for slaughter, wild-eyed and flaring,
Piled carcass on carcass to rot on the dirt.

Ash from the chimneys falls like snowflakes,
Clogging throats, blinding eyes.
Gas chamber doors slam on new intakes,
And emptied of angels loom Auschwitz ’s skies.

Ishmael, Jacob, Rachael and Anna,
Joseph, Miriam, take back your names.
If your deaths are to be worth living,
Never must we kneel to tyrants again. © W. Terry Fox