A late manifestation of Mr Fox, around 1972 - me and Carole Pegg flanking Nick Strutt on bass guitar. After Mr Fox broke up, Nick and I went on to tour as a duo. In 1975 I turned solo. Here I am on the right, "The Wild Man of Folk", according to the Melody Maker at the time, playing the penny whistle in a northern club. The poster is advertising a "6 Hour Folk-In" at the Royal Festival Hall.
In 1985 the Theatre Company Charivari staged two al fresco presentations of my folk oratorio The Shipbuilder, the second in Leith, and the first (left) for two nights at the Whitby Folk Week. A full-sized boat was built in a field by the Abbey and carried through the streets to the beach. Cables were laid over the sand to power spotlights and a PA for the band and singers. The ship's mast was danced around the headland carried by a Morris side. The Shipbuilder - one of three dancers - entered by abseiling down the cliff. Taffy Thomas, the director, reckons 6000 people saw the Whitby performance.
In 1151 Ronald, Earl of Orkney, set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land - really more of a swashbuckling crusade involving siege, piracy and amorous dalliance. In 2009 I joined forces with harper Bill Taylor and Orcadian Tom Muir to celebrate Rognvald's Journey in story, music and verse. The Bishop and the Big Feller (right) was a peripatetic storytelling and music performance I devised in 2011 for The National Trust and Kilmartin House in Argyll. It took place in and around Carnasserie Castle. The giant puppets were made by students from Lochgilphead Academy.
During the last couple of decades I've been putting together solo shows on particular themes. The Last Wolf uses story, song and music to explore the relationship between humans and wolves, from the Highlands to the Canadian Arctic. Longstrider (2010) celebrates the life of the 19th century Orcadian explorer John Rae, who mapped great swathes of Canada, and discovered the terrible fate of Sir John Franklyn and his crew, in their attempt to find the North West Passage. Warrior Blues was commissioned in 2014 for the Inverness Playpieces lunchtime theatre series. Odysseus is still at large, cursed to wander the world by the sea god Poseidon. Down on his luck, he is on tour, promoting a forthcoming release of a recording featuring songs based on his experiences. In the hour-long show he performs half a dozen of the songs, and tells the stories behind them.