Barbara Dickson, Bob Fox, Daphne's Flight play concerts in Derbyshire to remember folk legends Mick Peat and Barry Coope

Concerts remembering two Derbyshire men who had a significant impact on the folk music scene will be held this spring.

By Gay Bolton
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 5:30 am
Barbara Dickson, Bob Fox and Daphne's Flight will be playing concerts at St Peter's Church in Belper during May 2022 to celebrate the lives of Derbyshire folk music legends Mick Peat and Barry Coope.
Barbara Dickson, Bob Fox and Daphne's Flight will be playing concerts at St Peter's Church in Belper during May 2022 to celebrate the lives of Derbyshire folk music legends Mick Peat and Barry Coope.

MIck Peat, who died in January 2021, was a promoter and musician who presented BBC Radio Derby’s Folkwaves show for 25 years.

Barry Coope, whom John Tams described as ‘the greatest singer of this or any generation’, passed away in November last year.

Three concerts celebrating the lives of the two men will be held at St Peter’s Church, Belper, in May.

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Multi-million selling recording artiste and Olivier Award winner Barbara Dickson, folk guitarist and singer Bob Fox and Daphne’s Flight, which features five of the best singer/songwriters of their generation, will perform.

Proceeds from the concerts will go to good causes chosen by the families of Mick and Barry.

George Gunby, director of Belper Arts Festival Ltd, said: “All the performers are very keen to take part in the celebrations. Their enthusiasm illustrated the high regard they hold Mick Peat and Barry Coope in.”

Barbara Dickson has had a glittering career in which she has gained 17 platinum and gold discs. During the Seventies, Barbara had a string of hit singles including Answer Me, Caravan and Another Suitcase in Another Hall. Her duet with Elaine Paige, I know Him So Well, soared to number one, selling almost one million copies.

After making her West End debut in John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert, Barbara went on to win Olivier Awards for her roles in Blood Brothers and Spend, Spend, Spend.

Barbara, whose career began in the folk clubs of Scotland, said: “I remember Mick Peat very well and he was a great supporter of mine during my early professional career.”

Barbara Dickson, with Nick Holland on keyboards, and suppporting act John Tams, will appear at St Peter’s Church, Belper on May 7, 2022. Tickets £30 from Derby Live www.livetickets.org or St Peter’s Church.

Bob Fox began his professional career in 1975. During the 1990s, in partnership with Benny Graham, he developed a multimedia show based around the mining communities of Durham and Northumberland that resulted in the CD How Are You Off For Coals?

After performing for the BBC’s 2006 Radio Ballads, Bob took on the role of Songman in the hugely successful War Horse in the West End for 18 months before touring in the show around Britain, Ireland and South Africa for a further 18 months.

Bob Fox will appear at St Peter’s Church, Belper on May 14, 2022. Tickets £12 from Derby Live https://www.livetickets.org or the church.

Daphne’s Flight comprises Julie Matthews, Chris While, Melanie Harrold, Helen Watson and Christine Collister, five singer/songwriters who, in 1995, found themselves at Cambridge Festival. They decided to sing some songs together, magic happened and Daphne’s Flight took off. The collaboration resulted in an album and a sell out tour. Then they went their separate ways.

It was 20 years before the singer/songwriters reformed – older, wiser and twice as inspirational. This resulted in the release of the critically acclaimed album Knows Time, Knows Change in 2017. The entire 2017 tour was recorded on digital multi-track, from which a third album, Daphne’s Flight Live, was assembled and released in 2018. The group continued touring during 2019 and into 2020.

Daphne’s Flight will perform at St Peter’s Church, Belper on May 30, 2022. Tickets £20 from Derby Live https://www.livetickets.org or the church.

George Gunby said: “Pre-Covid, on any given Thursday, if you walked into Belper’s Devonshire Arms at lunchtime, the odds are you’d find you find a trio consisting of Barry Coope, Mick Peat and John Tams eating lunch and ‘shooting the breeze’. I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of some of those lunchtime sessions.

“In the space of ten months, the world became a poorer place for the loss of Mick and Barry.”

Ripley born Mick began performing at Alfreton’s Upstairs Cellar in the 60s before starting his own folk club. With The Ripley Wayfarers he toured professionally. The highly acclaimed Rogues Gallery featured both Mick and Barry Coope who went on to perform and create the music score for The Northern Mystery Plays, which was overseen by John Tams, in a record-breaking run at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

In 2004 The Derbyshire Volunteers was formed, an assembly of local musicians intent on raising charitable funding and Mick was the first in line. More recently as a successful promoter he established the nationally renowned Derby Folk Festival.

Drystone, with Barry Coope and John Tams, was Mick’s latest project, a not-for-profit endeavour to rebuild the arts in Derbyshire and beyond following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a founder and president, along with his friends and fellow musicians, he was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

Barry Coope was born in Belper where he first sang at the town’s folk club. In the 1970s and 80s and he played in the Derbyshire folk bands Ram’s Bottom and Rogues Gallery.

In 1986, Barry joined the Old Hat Dance Band, playing on their eponymous 1992 album. It was around this time that he teamed up with Jim Boyes and Lester Simpson in the mainly a cappalla, harmony driven Coope Boyes and Simpson. Twenty five years and nineteen albums later, the band gave their final performance at, appropriately, Derby Folk Festival.

In the 1990s, Barry had been a member of John Tams’ group The Questionnaires as well as the John Tams Band, and he teamed up with John as a duo, performing at festivals including Glastonbury, Cambridge and Cropredy. The two men had worked on John’s albums Over the Hills and Far Away: The Music of Sharpe, Unity and The Reckoning. They won best duo in the 2008 BBC Radio 2 folk awards. Barry also performed with Tams in War Horse readings with Sir Michael Morpurgo. Barry contributed both his voice and musicianship to the BBC Radio 2 series of Radio Ballads.

Barry was still very rooted in his native Derbyshire, and was an inspiring leader of the Rolling Stock community folk choir, and a member of the charity fund raising band the Derbyshire Volunteers. It was in 2017 that Narthen was formed, a group that featured Barry and his wife, Fi.