Richard started playing music, initially on the harmonica, when he was about 18, as far as I can remember. The American folk blues artists Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were his early influence and Richard played a very passable imitation of Sonny's harmonica style. Regular visits to the Cutty Wren Folk Club in Redcar broadened his interest and he soon developed an ability to play the whistle and spoons. His aptitude for keeping a good rhythm and playing percussion had been obvious from about the age of 14 and he was frequently nagged at by Mum for drumming on the table with his fingers during mealtimes. ("Stop that tap-tap-tapping" was a regular admonishment in our household, also often directed at me, I might add!).
On return from university in 1966, he resumed his interest in the local folk scene and it wasn't long before he acquired a basic drum kit and, along with the Petch family, formed The Kingfishers ceilidh band. He also performed regular floor-spots at folk clubs on Teesside. In 1968 he moved to Rugby and soon joined a ceilidh band called The Magic Rantabout. After his move to Loughborough in 1972 he was very active on the folk scene, performing on his own, with the folk band Swelkie, with longstanding friends Jill and Bernard Blackwell and with various other people at folk clubs and other venues. One of the highlights from this period was the performance of Swelkie as support to The Bothy Band at The Nottingham Playhouse on 07.03.76.
As drummer, Richard played with The Rattling Bog Ceilidh Band, occasionally with Kurly Kale, then The Quorn Elastic Band and finally with Tenpenny Bit, the band with which he drummed for many years, right up to his death. Tenpenny Bit recorded a CD of dance music in August 2000 with Richard on the drums and this was released on the occasion of the ceilidh described below (June 2002).
Apart from his drumming, Richard was probably best known for his playing of the Appalachian dulcimer. He had 2 beautiful instruments made by Frank Bond, a 4-string and a 6-string. I bought the latter from him some years ago when failing strength in his left hand forced him to stop playing. He had the remarkable ability to play the dulcimer, harmonica (in a harness) and a tambourine (with his foot) simultaneously and also sing, but not at the same time as playing the harmonica - even he wasn't that talented! He also played autoharp, bodhran and a few other percussion instruments.
Richard played on two tracks on the LP "Adventures of Notion" by Jill and Bernard Blackwell (Fellside Recordings FE056 released in 1986).
Click here to go to the Photo Album containing 16 photos of Richard, family and friends.