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Artist Portrait

Steve Benbow

g, voc, GB
Singer / Musician of Folk and World

Steve Benbow (November 29, 1931-November 17, 2006) Steve Benbow was one of the most sought-after guitar accompanists of the early years of the modern British folk revival, and also a fine singer. He made over 25 albums, and accompanied singers such as folk revival founders Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd. Benbow was an inspiration to younger players. Davy Graham, whose guitar style affected those of Eric Clapton and Paul Simon, credits him as a primary influence: Benbow introduced him to Moroccan music he had heard while in the forces. Graham told the Guardian: "What he taught me was that you should never get stuck in one mode or style." Benbow was never aligned to any of the sub-genres of the folk revival. Neither a traditionalist nor a promoter of leftwing causes, primarily he was an entertainer, performing a range of music from blues to jazz to popular English and Irish folk songs. Striving for an easy-listening appeal, his repertoire became less suited to the increasingly sophisticated folk-music enthusiasts and he found it difficult to regain that audience. Nevertheless, Benbow made his mark on a wider audience through radio and television, starting with the radio programme Guitar Club in 1957. His skill as a guitarist led to a Scottish television series, Plectrum, where he demonstrated his style to aspiring young musicians. In the early 60s he presented Have Guitar Will Travel on Radio Luxembourg, the only folk singer to have his own show. In 1963 he co-starred in a London stage show, Spike Milligan Meets Steve Benbow, at the old Lyric Theatre, which led to a television series the following year, Muses with Milligan. He also fronted the television series Barndance and for a while presented BBC radio's Housewives' Choice. George Martin produced a series of novelty singles for him and he wrote a regular column in Melody Maker. Benbow recorded two solo albums before forming the Steve Benbow Folk Four, including Jimmie MacGregor, who later teamed up with Robin Hall to perform regularly on Cliff Michelmore's television programme Tonight. In 1960 Benbow appeared with others including Shirley Collins and Bob Copper on a trio of albums produced by Peter Kennedy of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for HMV: A Jug of Punch, Rocket Along and A Pinch of Salt. This led to the HMV releases of two of Steve's best-known albums: Steve Benbow Sings Admiral Benbow in 1962, and I Travel the World in 1963. He continued to record during the 60s, but rarely on labels that adequately promoted the albums. After several more albums in the early 70s — one of them with his long-standing friend Denny Wright, who had been Lonnie Donegan's guitarist — Benbow largely retired. He never lost his passion for music, and from 1988 played twice a week at the Brewery Tap in Brentford. A new recording, Don't Monkey With My Gun, was released in 2003, but he was reluctant to travel away from home to perform because of his large collection of animals, including goats, chickens and a donkey. For several years he suffered from heart problems, which in 2005 prevented him sharing a London Concert with Davy Graham. Stephen Benbow died after a heart attack, at the age of 74, on November 17, 2006.

        
Instruments
  • Guitar
  • Vocals
Genres
  • Folk
  • World
  • Pop
  • Children's Music
Popular Tracks   
Santy Anno on To Our Fisherman’s Friends – A Collection Of Sea Shanties by Various Artists
Mush, Mush on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow
Paddy And The Whale on Sea Shanties And Strong Ale by Various Artists
Bould Thady Quill on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow
Jack Went A-Sailing on Sea Shanties And Strong Ale by Various Artists
Spanish Lady on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow
Green Grows the Laurel on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow
O'Reilly's Daughter on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow
Holy Ground on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow
I'm a Rambler on Songs of Ireland by Steve Benbow

Track list and 30sec audio provided by


Band Members
Discography



Title Artist Year Type
Don't Monkey With My GunSteve Benbow2003Album
The Fox & The GooseSteve Benbow, Mike Sammes Singers1975Single
Big Rock Candy Mountain / On Top Of Old SmokeySteve Benbow1974Single
Friendly FolkSteve Benbow & Denny Wright1972Album
Irish RoverSteve Benbow1971Single
Next Time RoundSteve Benbow1970Album
Sings Irish SongsSteve Benbow1970Album
The Little Drummer BoySteve Benbow1970Album
Tattered DollSteve Benbow1967Single
Of Situations And PredicamentsSteve Benbow1967Album
Journey Into The SunSteve Benbow1966Album
Songs Of The American WestRoy Guest, The Tennessee Three, Jack Fallon, Steve Benbow, Folk Four1966Compil.
The Gallows PoleSteve Benbow1965Single
Songs Of IrelandSteve Benbow With The Strawberry Hill Boys1965Album
Tells About This, That And The OtherSteve Benbow1964Album
I Travel The WorldSteve Benbow1963Album
Popular American SongsRoy Guest With Steve Benbow And His Folk Four1963Single
Bahaman Lullaby - Hush Little BabyRoy Guest With Steve Benbow And His Folk Four1963Album
The Wandering MinstrelRoy Guest With Steve Benbow And His Folk Four1962Album
Steve Benbow Sings Admiral BenbowSteve Benbow1962Album
The Amateur Whitwasher / Seven Little GypsiesSteve Benbow1960Single
O'Rafferty's PigSteve Benbow1960Single
Steve Benbow Folk FourSteve Benbow1960Single
Steve Benbow Sings English Folk SongsSteve Benbow1960Single
The Man Who Invented BeerSteve Benbow1960Single
Steve Benbow SingsSteve Benbow1960Album
Steve Benbow And His Folk FourSteve Benbow1959Single
Sinful SongsSteve Benbow With Jimmie MacGregor1958Album
Steve Benbow Sings Irish And Other SongsSteve BenbowAlbum
External Links
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Acknowledgements
To all the music fans that are contributing on Discogs, MusicBrainz and Wikipedia. Thanks to Franz Flückiger for providing Storygram used to visualize band membership and together with Stefan Guggisberg for the visual data mining application ArtistAnalytics.
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