|Born||January 5, 1953|
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Reg Meuross is an English singer and songwriter based in Somerset, England, where there is a vibrant folk music scene.
Meuross first emerged on the British acoustic music scene when he formed The Panic Brothers with comedian Richard Morton in 1986. Five years of touring and TV work followed their album In The Red, produced by Clive Gregson with the "Brothers" appearing regularly on TV, including Friday Night Live, and at Edinburgh, Sidmouth, Glastonbury and other festivals.
Reg Meuross then moved on to form a roots band, The Flamingos, featuring ex-Graham Parker guitarist, Martin Belmont, Bob Loveday from the Penguin Café Orchestra & Bob Geldof's band and Alison Jones of The Barely Works. They recorded the album Arrested in 1991. Meuross also toured, continuing until 2009, with Hank Wangford and The Lost Cowboys and also as a solo artist with Hank Wangford on the "No Hall Too Small" tour.
Reg's solo recording and touring career began in 1996 since when he has released 14 albums. In his review of December in 2016 Robin Denselow described Meuross in The Guardian as "..one of the more versatile, under-sung survivors of the English acoustic scene."
Meuross co-wrote Seth Lakeman's first single release Divided We Will Fall from the album Well Worn Path released on the Cooking Vinyl label in November 2018.
In 1996 Reg released The Goodbye Hat his first solo album.
In 2004, Reg released Short Stories, his second solo album. Country Music Records'. Short Stories was followed in 2006 by the album, Still.
July 2008 brought the release of Dragonfly. One of its songs, "And Jesus Wept", was inspired by the true story of Harry Farr, a first World War soldier who, having served his country for two years in the trenches, began to suffer the effects of shell-shock and was shot at dawn for cowardice and desertion. "Lizzie Loved a Highwayman" is the true story of highwayman Dick Turpin. Romanticised by generations, "Lizzie" is told from the viewpoint of Turpin's unfortunate widow. These two songs were performed by Meuross at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 March 2009, as part of a concert for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The title track of the album, "Dragonfly", is written about the events of 9/11 and the 7 July bombings in London.
In 2010 Meuross released All This Longing, an all-acoustic album featuring Paul Sartin (Bellowhead), Andy Cutting on accordion, Jackie Oates on viola, Simon Edwards on bass and Roy Dodds (Fairground Attraction) on percussion. The album includes the song "The Heart Of Ann Lee" which tells the story of the Manchester-born 18th century founder of the Shakers.
Meuross's Leaves and Feathers album was released in 2013, and his album England Green and England Grey was released in 2014.
December, released in 2016 was the first in a trilogy of completely unaccompanied Reg Meuross albums, with no other musicians involved in the recordings. This was among Martin Chilton of The Telegraph's selection for Best Folk Albums of 2016.
The release in November 2019 of RAW completed Meuross's trilogy of unaccompanied (by other musicians) albums, on which only Meuross himself sings and plays his instruments, being guitar, banjo, dulcimer, tenor guitar and harmonica.
- Panic Brothers In The Red (Special Delivery 1987)
- Reg Meuross with The Flamingos – Arrested (1991)
- Reg Meuross – The Goodbye Hat (1996)
- Reg Meuross – Short Stories (2004)
- Reg Meuross – Still (2006)
- Reg Meuross – Dragonfly (Hatsongs; 2008)
- Reg Meuross – All This Longing (Hatsongs; 2010)
- Reg Meuross – Leaves & Feathers (Hatsongs; 2013)
- Reg Meuross – England Green & England Grey (Hatsongs; 2014)
- Reg Meuross – December (March 2016)
- Reg Meuross – Faraway People (July 2017)
- Reg Meuross – Songs About A Train (February 2018)
- Reg Meuross – Reg Meuross (April 2018) Released by Stockfisch Records
- Reg Meuross – 12 Silk Handkerchiefs (December 2018)
- Reg Meuross – RAW (October 2019)
- Reg Meuross "Shine On" (1 May 2020)
Musical style and subject matter
Meuross's work can be described as folk music in the living tradition. He writes about real people and their lives, delivering his songs on stringed instruments primarily a restored 1944 Martin guitar that are often played in a fingerpicking style. His subject matter is varied and his repertoire includes songs about historical characters and events, protest songs, political and social commentary, love songs, and flights of imagination inspired by personal experiences.
Songs about historical figures and events
- "And Jesus Wept" tells the story of British soldier Private Harry Farr, who was posthumously pardoned in 2017, having been executed in 1916 for alleged cowardice during the Battle of the Somme
- "Emily's Pages" is about the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson
- "For Sophie (This Beautiful Day)" honours the courage of German student Sophie Scholl, who was guillotined by the Nazis for distributing anti-war leaflets
- "Lizzie Loved a Highwayman" unravels the romanticised myths surrounding English highwayman Dick Turpin
- "Martin" recognises the actions of Saint Martin of Tours
- "Mr Rain The Tailor" is a tribute to the courage of PC Bill Barker, who was swept away and drowned while trying to save motorists by directing them off a bridge over the swollen River Derwent during the Cumbrian floods of November 2009
- "Shelley's Heart" is about the life, death and heart of Percy Bysshe Shelley, which was returned to his widow after not burning during his cremation
- "The Angel Maker" tells of English nurse, baby farmer and serial killer Amelia Dyer
- "The Ballad of Flora Sandes"
- "The Band Played Sweet Marie" is the tale of the violin given to RMS Titanic bandleader Wallace Hartley by his fianceé Maria Robinson, as relayed in her voice
- "The Bitter Wind" is the tragic story of the 1892 Peter Tavy murders of Emma Doidge and William Rowe by William Williams, whose attentions had been spurned by Emma
- "The Boundary Stone" relates the heartbreaking story of Emmott Sydall of Eyam and her fiancé Rowland Torre of Stoney Middleton, who were separated when the villagers of Eyam self-quarantined during the 1665-6 outbreak of bubonic plague in Derbyshire
- "The Heart of Ann Lee"
- "Tony Benn's Tribute to Emily Davison" honours both Davison's having hidden herself in a broom cupboard in the House of Commons on the night of the 1911 census, and Tony Benn's erecting a plaque in the same cupboard to commemorate her actions
- "Victor Jara"
- "What Would William Morris Say?"
In 2018 Meuross released 12 Silk Handkerchiefs, an album comprising a song cycle which encapsulates the story of the 1968 Hull triple trawler tragedy in which 58 men lost their lives, and the subsequent campaign led by fishwife Lillian Bilocca for improved safety conditions on trawlers.
Inspired by the book The Headscarf Revolutionaries by Brian W. Lavery, the full song cycle was first performed as a multimedia show in Hull Minster on 8 November 2018, with Lavery narrating, and local Hull musicians Sam Martyn and Mick McGarry completing the musical line-up with Meuross.
Protest and commentary songs
- "England Green & England Grey" bemoans greed, corruption and the iniquities of government, and makes an oblique reference to questions that arose around practices at the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. The melody incorporates elements of the Anglican hymn "All Things Bright and Beautiful".
- "Faraway People" criticizes the UK government's allocation of welfare benefits, and pays tribute to those whose deaths can be linked to their inability to access various types of support for reasons such as their deemed fitness for work under a Work Capability Assessment, the withdrawal of housing benefits due to the bedroom tax (a result of the UK government's austerity programme), or not qualifying for a Jobseeker's Allowance. Among those remembered in the song are Terry McGarvey (48), Linda Wootton (49),, Stephanie Bottrill (53) and Christelle Pardo (32) and her five-month-old son.
- "The Lonesome Death of Michael Brown" speaks out against police brutality after the 2014 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. The title of the song is a nod to Bob Dylan's "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll", which is a commentary on racism in 1960s America, and is about the death in Baltimore of a bartender at the hands of a drunk patron, who struck her with a cane causing her to die of a brain haemorrhage.
Reg Meuross in the media
- "The Panic Brothers - Discography". Discogs. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
- BBC. "No Hall Too Small". www.bbc.co.uk.
- Denselow, Robin (17 March 2016). "Reg Meuross: December review – a very English kind of Americana". The Guardian – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Divided We Will Fall Archives - Folking.com". folking.com.
- "Teenage Cancer Trust 2009 Setlists". The Setlist Wiki. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
- Carter, Malcolm. "Reg Meuross: Dragonfly". Penny Black magazine. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Davies, Mike (September 2010). "Reg Meuross — All This Longing (Hatsongs)". NetRhythms. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Davies, Mike (February 2013). "Reg Meuross – Leaves and Feathers (Hatsongs)". NetRhythms. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Chilton, Martin (19 January 2016). "The best folk music albums of 2016". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Davies, Mike (29 July 2017). "Reg Meuross: Faraway People (Album Review) - Folk Radio UK". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
- "FATEA - Home". www.fatea-records.co.uk.
- Pratt, David (3 October 2019). "Reg Meuross: Raw - Folk Radio". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
- Chilton, Martin (4 September 2014). "Reg Meuross, England Green & England Grey, album review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Blake, Thomas (29 November 2018). "Reg Meuross: 12 Silk Handkerchiefs (Album Review) - Folk Radio UK". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
- "SINGLES BAR 52 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles". Folking.com. 18 May 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
- Heywood, Fiona (30 October 2016). "The songs of Reg Meuross - Living Tradition". The Living Tradition. The Living Tradition. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
- Carter, Helen (20 November 2009). "Policeman dies as devastating deluge strikes Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
- Sandles, Tim (26 March 2016). "Tavistock Murder - Legendary Dartmoor". Legendary Dartmoor. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
- Hall, Colin (7 November 2014). "Lost love of Rowland Torre and Emmott Sydall". Stoney Middleton Heritage Centre. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
- Beaumont, Peter (15 March 2020). "Eyam recalls lessons from 1665 battle with plague". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
- "Plaque to Emily Wilding Davison". UK Parliament. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- Kelly, Mike (4 April 2016). "What links Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn and Morpeth suffragette Emily Davison?". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- Carter, Malcolm (22 February 2019). "Reg Meuross - 12 Silk Handkerchiefs CD". Penny Black Online Music Magazine. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- "Triple Trawler Tragedy". Hull Daily Mail. Mail News & Media. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
- "Triple Trawler Tragedy - Hull Live". Hull Daily Mail. Mail News & Media. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
- "THE HEADSCARF REVOLUTIONARIES". Barbican Press. Barbican Press. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
- Robinson, Hannah (4 March 2019). "Moving tribute to Triple Trawler Tragedy and Headscarf Revolutionaries is returning to Hull - Hull Live". Hull Daily Mail. Mail News & Media. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
- English, Paul (24 February 2014). "Man who was too ill to attend fit-for-work interview but terrified of losing benefits dies after Atos test". Daily Record. Reach PLC. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- Glaze, Ben (26 May 2013). "Linda Wootton: Double heart and lung transplant dies nine days after she has benefits stopped". Mirror Online. Reach PLC. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- Dugan, Emily (12 August 2014). "Stephanie Bottrill, who blamed the bedroom tax for her suicide, had history of depression, inquest hears". The Independent. Independent Digital News & Media Ltd. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- Russell, Jenni (8 January 2009). "Christelle and her baby died at the hands of a callous state". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- "Michael Brown: Ferguson officer won't be charged for 2014 killing". The Guardian. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
- Official website
- Reg Meuross on Facebook
- Reg Meuross on Twitter
- Reg Meuross on Instagram
- on 's channelYouTube