April 2, 2004 by

Bob Copper


Categories: Military, Musicians, Writers/Editors

bcopper.jpgBob Copper, a legendary British folk singer, died on March 29. Cause of death was not released. He was 89.
Copper was born on a sheep farm in southern England to a family of folk singers. Inspired by nature and the rhythms of country life, generations of Coppers sang to entertain the relatives and neighbors on long, winter nights.
In 1898, a woman named Kate Lee visited the town of Rottingdean and wrote down the words and music to 50 songs sung by Bob’s grandfather, James “Brasser” Copper. Bob’s father, Jim Copper, penned the words to dozens more, including “The Banks of the Sweet Primroses,” “The Honest Laborer” and “Shepherd of the Downs.”
As a teen, Bob Copper served in the Household Cavalry and performed his family’s music at pubs and parties during leave. When the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a live performance of Copper and his father singing in a pub garden, Bob’s career took off.
For 50 years, Copper was a driving force behind the British folk revival. He immortalized his family’s melodies on numerous records and in three songbooks, one of which — “A Song for Every Season” — won the 1971 Robert Pitman Literary Prize. In 2001, Copper received a lifetime achievement honor from the BBC’s Folk Awards. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire a few days before he died.
Listen to the Copper Family

3 Responses to Bob Copper

  1. E. F. O'Keeffe

    Bob Copper’s two books, A Song for Every Season and Songs and Southern Breezes, tell of a wat of life that has completely vanished now. He records stories about songs and singers which link his generation (and, by extension through his children, ours) to our countrymen who were alive and working and singing those same songs and others like them hundreds of years ago. For an inkling of an alternative history of our land, his work is not the worst place to start. His name will be remembered for as long as English folksong lives.

  2. Bernard Marshall

    I liked his songs,though I did not know him.He was a pioneer and exemplar of an honourable Tradition and a good bloke!I have a copy of the book “a song for every season”. If a Devotee wants it,email me; it`s yours gratis!
    Bernard M

  3. Harry & joan Bond

    We saw the brilliant programme about Bob and family on BBC recently, and we shed a tear at the end. Not easy to hear that music here in Ireland, but it’s slowly getting more popular. Best Wishes.

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