Bob first got into folk music as a performer when he was about twenty five
years old. He had listened to and enjoyed Folk music since he was about fifteen.
Before the folk music however bands like "Deep Purple", "Hawkwind", "T-rex",
"Family" were Bob's biggest influences although he also liked everything from Pop to Rock also.
One day he went to stay the weekend with a pal who had moved away to another
area two years previously and as it was raining heavy they stayed in and listened to records.
Bob had never heard of most of the songs but remembered one song "The Skye
boat song" on one of the LP's. It was a song with strong memories as he remembered how his Father used to whistle and sing
it while cradling his youngest brother to sleep. Sadly his father died very young so the song caught his interest more
The band on the record were to become his boyhood idols and they were called
"The Corries" a great Scottish folk duo and a massive influence on Bob's singing and taste in music.
From listening to the records to attending their concerts at the City Hall
in Glasgow Bob and his friend Rudi followed "The Corries" faithfully then one day they decided that they would one day like
to play on that stage just like their heroes.
It started with cheap out of tune guitars (nothing's changed much there!)
playing in their rooms with the lights out to make them learn the chords faster without looking.
Various sessions and sing-a-longs and festival drinking sessions passed by
until Bob got into his first band called "Spinning Wheel" (Cringe!) when he was twenty five.
Living in Paisley at the time and working shifts in the Chrysler car factory,
the amount of time spent working and then rehearsing and gigging started to take it's toll on his family life.
The day came when with two very young children to support a choice had to
be made and Bob gave up the guitar and singing preferring to keep his marriage and family intact.
So many singers and musicians down the years have had to make the same choice.
A period of seventeen years elapsed when one day a phone call from his work
partner told him that the company they worked for had just closed the Scottish operation and they were all now officially
From Scottish Regional Manager of a Marketing Operation to being unemployed
had the opposite effect than everyone expected. Instead of being sad Bob was ecstatic as secretly he had become very disillusioned
with the sales world.
When his wife asked what he was going to do now he replied "I'm going to
buy a guitar" to which she then said "no! I mean what are you going to do for a job?". Again he gave the same answer!.
He knew nothing could make him go back to what he now called the rat race,
even though he could get a job with a very high salary, it no longer mattered.
The family were older and independent now and so his time was not so much
in demand as when they were young.
At first it was hard with no contacts and no track record established, it
was all about relearning the songs he loved and a pleasant surprise he discovered too.
All the years of sales pitch and age had matured his voice since he
last did some serious singing and though there was much improvement needed, his confidence was higher than he could have hoped
Two or three years passed with sessions and festivals and then having met
more musicians again he formed the band "Indigenous Citizen's" it lived a short time before collapsing like most first time
Then during a phone call to "Culross Festival" to enquire about whether there
would be any singing sessions at the Festival the main organizer stated they did not have a band to headline the Saturday
night and could Bob help?
Bob said yes and agreed to bring his own band to perform and the offer was
quickly accepted!. The only problem being, was at the time Bob had no band and when asked what the band name was Bob said
"Beggars Row" was name he had researched and wanted to call the next band
he wanted to form. Unfortunately although he had an idea what kind of line up he wanted he had no one in place yet.
Finding two other musicians the Festival concert was performed and several
more concerts followed until the line up dissolved within a year.
Soon after Ian Raymond a good friend and one of the finest ballad singers
in Scotland got into discussion with Bob about forming another band.
Instantly Bob knew that Ian was one of the ingredients of the line up he
had always wanted for "Beggars Row" and a deal was done.
Ian had more contacts with musicians and soon found a gifted percussionist
in Frank McGuire and from then on the band "Beggars Row" that performs today was born.
Next to join was Ian's brother Rob a good bass guitarist and lead vocalist.
Eventually Gus joined on fiddle and the pieces were beginning to fit.
Bob, Ian, Frank and Rob were all capable of singing lead vocals and that
made the songs and chorus's very powerful.
When Rob left due to ill health shortly after the first tour of Russia David
was brought in to play bass but also to add the Highland bagpipes into the set and Bob knew for the first time he had the
line up he had wanted for so long.
Since then there have been other changes with other musicians like Ian, Frank
and Colin leaving and Neil and Ricky coming in and the band has progressed steadily with tours of Europe regular.
Two years ago Bob achieved his boy hood dream of performing a concert in
the Glasgow City halls, sadly with mixed feelings.
It was a nostalgic night as Bob thought often during the concert about Roy
Williamson one of "The Corries" who had died tragically and too young. Part of Bob's dream had been to also play with "The
Corries" just once in a special concert but it was too late for that dream.
Most important now though is that performing with "Beggars Row" is such great
fun and crazy times are in the past and even more will come in the future.