Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MR. FOX - ST 1970 / GYPSY 1971

Mr. Fox was a septet formed in 1970 by Bob Pegg (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Carolann Pegg (then known as Carole Pegg) (vocals, fiddle). Contemporaries of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, Mr. Fox was unusual in that they avoided relying on electric guitars and their music's deep origins in the folklore of the Dales. Mr. Fox, whose other members were Alun Evans (drums),Barry Lyons (bass, dulcimer), Andrew Massey (cello), John Myatt(winds), Richie Bull (banjo), and Nick Strutt (multiple instruments), started out with a self-titled debut album on Transatlantic that generated a massive amount of enthusiasm and controversy, over their mix of traditional folk forms and experimental touches in the rhythms and other embellishments. They were serious rivals to acts like Steeleye Span for a time, especially upon the release of their second album, The Gipsy, which featured a smaller line-up and a more experimental approach to their material. Multi-instrumentalistNick Strutt, in particular, was heavily showcased along with the Peggs on that album. This was to prove their last album, however, as the group splintered soon after. Bob Pegg and Carolann Pegg cut one album together on the Trailer label in 1971, and later emerged on separate solo albums on Transatlantic.

Mr. Fox's debut LP was merry British folk-rock in the classic Steeleye Span mold, although they lacked the emotional depth of that band or a vocalist on the order of Maddy Prior orSandy Denny. Well, merry on the surface, anyway: "The Hanged Man" is the story of the death of a hiker in the Yorkshire Dales. The use of organ, melodeon, tin whistle, terrapin, fiddle, cello, flute, clarinet, and bassoon gave them extraordinary instrumental depth, even as they avoided incorporating an electric guitarist into their lineup. It's more standard folk-rock than their more adventurous second album, The Gipsy, although most of the material was written by band members Bob Pegg and Carole Pegg. Interestingly, they covered a Dave Mason tune, "Little Woman," and British folk-rock maestro Ashley Hutchings wrote the lyrics to a couple of tunes.

Mr. Fox's second and final album was lively British folk-rock from the halcyon days of that genre. They lacked the one or two vocal or instrumental personalities that would have lifted them to the Fairport Convention/Steeleye Span/Pentangle level, but anyone who likes the early 1970s recordings of those bands will like this too. The group really shone when they favored the moodiest material and let a spooky drone come to the fore, as on the lengthy opener, "Mendle," where the unnervingly shrill organ and Carole Pegg's vocals established an uneasy yet seductive atmosphere. It should be said, though, that it was an admirably diverse album as well, with sparsely arranged numbers that sound much like gypsies of centuries-old vintage, more straightforward and modern folk-rock treatments of traditional songs, and the upbeat finale "All the Good Times," where the Gridley Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra join in on the chorus. Important note: although this was reissued as part of the apparent two-for-one CD of their two early 1970s albums on Transatlantic, that release is missing "Mendle" -- a vital omission, as that's the best track on The Gipsy. Don't despair, however, as all of the songs, "Mendle" included, are on the 180-gram gatefold LP reissue of the album by Get Back in 2001.

Mr. Fox
Join Us In our game
The hanged man
The gay Goshawk
Rip Van WInkle
Mr. Trill's song
Little Woman
Salisbury plain
The ballad od Neddy Dick
Leaving the Dales
Mr. Fox
Mendle ( The missing track from the album )

The gypsy
Aunt Lucy Broadwood
House carpenter
Elvira Madigan 
Dancing song
All the good times

Ripped by : evermoreblues
Artwork included 


  1. Anyone interested in What Bob Pegg is
    Up to Now may be interested to know that He moved to the Highlands of Scotland and is involved in Teaching in Music Appreciation in Schools here is His Website

  2. My ancient copies of Mr Fox and Gypsy have worn out so I was delighted to find the RAR file. But the track Mr Fox cuts off suddenly before the end. Any chance of that being rectified?
    It was wonderful being able to hear Mendle again.

  3. Back when these sides came out I heard them, once, at a friend's home and never could find copies. Thank you.

  4. thank you for putting this RAR file up - looking forward to listening to these albums again

  5. thank you for the presentation of these fine albums of a nearly forgotten band.

    may your day be sunny : Hausmeister


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