Crew:- Tony beddow
Tony’s first memory of shanty singing was at primary school – crowded round an old radio set and listening to “Singing Together” and “What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor”.
His introduction to folk music proper was back in 1964 when his art teacher – David Chedgey – started a lunch time folk club in the art room of his Black Country school, complete with blacked out windows and candles in bottles. (If you’re out there David – you’ve got a lot to answer for.) The Bells of Rhymney played by David and accompanied on “sir’s” 12- string guitar was the song that first got him hooked on folk. The school further compounded the mistake by encouraging him to sing in Gilbert and Sullivan productions – he played Sam in Pirates of Penzance and Pish Tush in the Mikado. Music teacher Arthur Woodall famously told him during the dress rehearsal of the latter “you may not have the best voice in the school Beddow but you sure have got one of the loudest”.
Tony sings mostly top harmonies in the group’s songs – complementing (i.e. getting in the way of and messing up) Andy Baker’s distinctive tenor. He is also responsible for many of the more rousing (some say rowdy) chorus numbers in the groups’ repertoire – some describe his voice as “powerful”, others merely agree with Arthur Woodall.
Away from shanties, he also performs a mixture of hunting songs, songs of the Black Country, and one or two mining-related songs.
Tony is married to his long suffering wife and has a daughter (the ‘Baggies’ official photographer ) are, in varying degrees, slowly coming to terms with most of the shanties.
Tony became a regular visitor to many of the Midland folk clubs. He learnt the “Pirate’s Serenade” from Woody and Brian of the Hayloft Club and several of the monologues of Marriot Edgar from Mike Billington at Stourport – which he can sometimes still recall after a few rum and blacks mixed with Guinness. The Woodman in Kingswinford – still going strong after all these years – was also a favourite haunt – playing host to Mike Harding and Jasper Carrot when they were still ‘unfamous’.