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2007 Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK)

Related thread:
Barrie Roberts website? (20)


Steve Parkes 13 Jun 07 - 01:41 PM
katlaughing 13 Jun 07 - 01:47 PM
Mr Red 13 Jun 07 - 02:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Jun 07 - 02:06 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jun 07 - 02:14 PM
Steve Parkes 13 Jun 07 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,baz parkes 14 Jun 07 - 12:08 PM
Betsy 15 Jun 07 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Mike James 15 Jun 07 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,John Molineux 16 Jun 07 - 07:11 AM
Charley Noble 16 Jun 07 - 10:57 AM
Steve Parkes 18 Jun 07 - 05:11 PM
Slobbo 19 Jun 07 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Ann Lewis/Douglass 20 Jun 07 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Paul Stanley 20 Jun 07 - 06:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 21 Jun 07 - 01:09 AM
Ruth Archer 21 Jun 07 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Roger Arguile 21 Jun 07 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Ann Lewis 21 Jun 07 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Paul Stanley 21 Jun 07 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Malcolm Roberts 21 Jun 07 - 08:05 PM
Folkiedave 22 Jun 07 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,Ann Lewis 22 Jun 07 - 09:30 AM
Steve Parkes 24 Jun 07 - 05:50 AM
Steve Parkes 24 Jun 07 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,dave james B'ham Trad 30 Jun 07 - 09:41 PM
GUEST,Ochy Witchy 19 Feb 08 - 09:01 PM
Slobbo 22 Mar 08 - 07:05 AM
Charley Noble 22 Mar 08 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Steve Bennett 10 May 08 - 06:27 PM
Betsy 10 May 08 - 08:04 PM
Steve Parkes 15 May 08 - 02:51 PM
Charley Noble 15 May 08 - 08:36 PM
Steve Parkes 17 May 08 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Steve Bennett 25 May 08 - 06:48 PM
Steve Parkes 26 May 08 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Steve Bennett 01 Jul 08 - 04:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jul 08 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,nigel haynes 20 Oct 09 - 07:10 AM
GUEST,Many years later 30 Mar 11 - 08:41 AM
GUEST 11 Dec 11 - 06:46 AM
Pete Jennings 11 Dec 11 - 12:04 PM
Steve Parkes 11 Dec 11 - 05:36 PM
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Subject: Obit: Barrie Roberts
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 01:41 PM

Just heard tonight that Barrie died in Walsall on 11 June. He'd been in hospital with breathing difficulties, and it looks like it developed into pneumonia.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 01:47 PM

It's always nice to tell a little about the person for those of us who may not know of them. Barrie Roberts dot com.

Sounds as though he was a very interesting person.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 02:03 PM

Oh the Fitters Arms in the 70's

before my time of course - owr kid.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 02:06 PM

I am so so sorry. I wish I had visited him again. He was a terrific man. A huge avuncular chap with a cheery outlook. He ran the fitters Arms folk club in Walsall for many years - booking all sorts of terrific acts over the years.

Afterwards if you were lucky you got invited back to his extraordinary house in Florence Street. The house was crammed with his interest in British Empire memorabilia. I remember his particular joy at one time in laying his hands on a vast amount of pith helmets. God only knows what he did with them. He could do songs Goodbye Dolly Grey, Soldiers of the Queen, The Road to Mandalay - with all the verses at the drop of a hat. But he was such a funny songwriter - songs about the small ads in the Sunday papers, filling his tax form in, a visit from te Royal family - all wonderful stuff!

In latter years he wrote loads of Sherlock Holmes stories and novels. Some of the rarer ones change hands for hundreds of pounds on Amazon and E-bay. Also he wrote some true crime books.

He had a fascination with crime and worked for years as a solicitors clerk for a Birmingham firm specialising in criminal cases. I believe he was in some way involved in representing the interests of the Birmingham 6.

He was a great singer and and writer of folksongs. He had lived in Australia for a while, and on the way home stopped by in America and went to meet Woody Guthrie, whom he idolised. he had a huge numbers of Woody's albums.

My condolences to all his close friends. He was a special guy.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 02:14 PM

Here's what his Website says about him:
    Barrie Roberts was born in Hampshire in 1939 and educated at Churcher's College, Petersfield. He has been an art student, civil servant, cable technician, music shop manager, folk singer, freelance journalist, printer, computer programmer, further education lecturer and manager of a large Students' Union.

    For most of the last 30 years he has been a criminal lawyer, working for two firms in the West Midlands including the appeals of the Birmingham Six. Since 1998 he has taught an evening course for the City of Birmingham on Ghosts and Unsolved Mysteries and has also lectured on the Assassination of President John F Kennedy.

    His hobbies consist of lazing about and reading about crimes and unsolved mysteries and occasionally going out to buy more books.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 04:47 PM

A bit more info I've just received:
Barrie's funeral will be held in the family's home town, in Hampshire I believe. I'll post the details when I get them. Friends in Walsall are considering getting up a coach trip.

Oh, and if you're still wondering about those pith helmets: Barrie & I used to wear them, along with the rest of our tropical kit, for those miltary melodies. (He looked a bit like Colonel Bloodnok with a fu;l; set of whiskers). I've got some photos, if I can dig them up. And I'll post some of his songs as well -- there should be one or two already in the DT.

He never did get to meet Woody; he''d already died by the time Barrie got to the US.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,baz parkes
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 12:08 PM

I can hear him singing "Will the Angels Play their harps for me..." even as I type

Guess I wont be able to claim my free admission as promised on the souvenir programme from the Songsmiths club the night they had Martin Windsor and Redd Sullivan now...

Pretty Bricks..

Baz


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Betsy
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 04:08 AM

I only met him twice - once when I was guest at the Walsall club many many moons ago.Talented talented talented in many ways and facets,in addition to being a very kind unassuming bloke .
RIP Barry.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Mike James
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 01:35 PM

As someone who knew Barrie for a greater time than anyone who is likely to post in this thread (about 44 years), I am saddened by the loss of great character. A man of impressive intellect(I once witnessed him read a whole, thick paperback novel while he sat and watched me repairing the car so that we could get to a gig), and the possessor of an infectious humour and ofttimes razor like wit. We shared many a stage as a duo and in a band, at places all over the country, including the renowned Troubadour in London's Old Brompton Road. In the days before computers, Barrie was a 'one-man Google' and his knowledgeable recall extended into highways and byways untrod by most. I remember so well our long night sleeping on the flagstone floor of Jim Boyes' remote cottage outside of Bradford when we gigged up that way, and our experience with the massive revolving stage at Birmingham's old Top Rank Suite, which Barrie insisted on calling a 'revolting' stage. So much done, so much gone! His singing voice was unique, as was his thumbpick guitar strum. Although I had not seen him much over recent times, but I shall miss him dearly. Thanks for all the good years Barrie, wherever you are tonight just tip me few staves of 'Sammy's Bar' and let it drift over the years.
In memory of those good times.
Mike James


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,John Molineux
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 07:11 AM

So you've shuffled off this mortal boil, Barrie!! We kept in touch despite a few hundred miles and the Channel in between, with Christmas cards, some calls, advice on various matters of history where the Roberts Foundation (your memory!) was essential; rare but precious moments of contact. Even rarer moments of going over some of our old times, like being together with the above-cited mate Mike James in the 'Songsmiths'; Mike can talk!! I can remember repairing the distribution cap on Mike's car while we were all three on the way to a gig: it was peeing down and those two were in the car watching me and having a great bicker (a group speciality, which only underlined the fun we had. That revolving stage, for instance, in Birmingham. We followed some group or other, and we were all prepared on our part of the stage, instruments in hand and standing in front of the mikes. The stage started to turn, and you started saying to Mike and me "What have we come down to, playing for these Conservative gits?" ... the only thing was that the mikes turned on automatically as our section of the stage was revealed ... a fine moment!)
Bless you old son, and I hope a dog didn't piss in your tucker box on the way to wherever you are now!!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 10:57 AM

Barrie also played a major role in unraveling the mystery of who composed "Pity the Downtrodden Landlord" (Check thread for details). I am sorry that I never got to meet him.

Charley Noble, Maine


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Subject: The funeral
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 05:11 PM

Barrie's funeral will be held at 1.30pm next Tuesday (26th) at the Crematorium in Bath Road, Thatcham (just outside Newbury on the Reading Road).


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Slobbo
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 10:09 AM

Barrie was a big human being, in every possible way, and made a big impact on most who met him. I will miss his humour, his sharp mind, his ability to entertain and amuse, his omnivorous intellect, his generous hospitality and willingness to help others and perhaps most importantly his ability to tell a good story. I will miss bumping into him in the local supermarket where two increasingly decrepit and long-haired reprobates would chew the fat. I will miss his friendship, advice and his being there, because when thing went pear shaped one could rely on Barrie. He was my friend for 37 years and luckily I still owe him a a 50cl bottle of single malt from an interesting distillery. As he said of another mutual friend, "another good-un gone ..." the likes of which etc.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Ann Lewis/Douglass
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 08:26 AM

Not only did I work with Barrie, I shared his life for a few short years. I well remember folk nights at the Fitters Arms with many of the guest singers returning to Florence Street and usually talking into the early hours of the morning. I drove him to many folk clubs around England and Wales and even performed with him a few times, definitely a privilege. Although we only kept in touch sporadically in the intervening years I visited him in hospital only a few weeks ago and had a long chat.

Barrie you will be sadly missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Paul Stanley
Date: 20 Jun 07 - 06:10 PM

A noisy gaggle of us sloping up Arboretum Hill on the way to Rowley Street after a smokey songsmiths night, to the accompaniment of Marching through Georgia from Barrie on his frying pan. Then coffee and tomato sandwiches and talk into the small hours. Simple pleasures with "the first few friends I had". Great memories, thanks Barrie.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 01:09 AM

Mention also ought to be made of Barrie's joint editorship with Bill Caddick of the Songsmith magazine. he was very encouraging to songwriters.

Are there any recordings of the man at all? I did see an old ep with Australian stuff down at his house - the drovers dream, was it? And he appeared on a Folkways album doing Follow Me Down to Carlow, but I was thinking more of those funny songs.... Christmas Day in the hospital etc.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 02:53 AM

I only met Barrie a couple of times in the early 90s, when I was living in Walsall. My ex-husband was still working in the regional press, and he had to interview Barrie for a story he was writing. He was such an amazing character that my husband arranged to interview him in the evening, so I'd have a chance to meet him! He had a penchant for a good Chinese, as I recall - we had dinner with him twice, and his huge personality kept us truly entertained. I remember him going off on a tangent about JFK, and we talked for ages about ghosts - I've still got my copy of Midlands Ghosts and Hauntings.

I never knew at the time about his folk connections - interesting how things sometimes come full circle, isn't it? RIP, Barrie.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Roger Arguile
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 07:02 AM

I met Barrie in 1971 thorugh the Walsall Committee for Human Rights. He and I spent a Saturday driving around Staffordshire trying to find travellers so that the Cripps Report would contain sensible details of the number of travellors. His political contribution to the welfare of travellers was matched by his criticisms of Walsall Borough Council which enforced the draconian policy. His magazine Bare and Ragged ought to be preserved for its mordant wit and accurate remembrances of misdemeanours. He always came to Church on his birthday when I was in Walsall - Christmas Day, in case you don't know. His involvement in the anti nuclear movement derived from his days working in Maralinga in South Australia detonating the damn things. His work as a lawyer was only diminished by the fact that he found it hard to go to bed and thus to get up, but his command of complex cases, whether involving housing scams or terrorism, was huge. He not only rang the Songsmiths but he also wrote material for prolduction there. I shared with him in a musical biography of Hector McDonald, a Scots soldier who fought in pretty well every war of the second half the the nineteenth century. His knowledge of the byways of Victorian English was huge and his theories on Jack the Ripper more convincing than most. I shall say Mass for him tomorrow. (I don't know what he would have thought - or what he will think - about such an idea). Roger Arguile


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Ann Lewis
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 08:12 AM

I have a cassett recording he made to raise money for the Pleck Boxing Club with Barrie singing all boxing related songs but unfortunately non of his own stuff. Although I do still have copies of Songsmith Magazine with the words and music of just a few of his songs including Christmas Day in the Hospital and the one about the Newspapers.

Hope someone has a recording somewhere he will be sadly missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Paul Stanley
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 06:39 PM

Ann, I can give you a tape with Chrismas Day in the Hospital and a few bits more beside. Mostly from the reunion night at the Hatherton in 1981. Maybe you could play it on the coach.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Malcolm Roberts
Date: 21 Jun 07 - 08:05 PM

I would just like to thank everyone for their kind words about Barrie. He had so many friends that we will hold a memorial service in Walsall in the near future and I will post the details here as soon
as they are known. I know Barrie would wish me to thank you all for the good times he shared with you and the loyalty many people showed him. If possible, I will find any music I can and add to his website so it is available - any contributions would be most welcome, you can email me via the website. With kind regards to all his fans and friends - Malcolm Roberts (Nephew)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 06:13 AM

Hi I hope you don't mind me posting to this thread. I didn't know Barry but as a dealer in things folk I have been asked for any copies of Barry's records for the family - but I don't have any.

If there is anyone who might have one I am sure the family would love to hear from you.

Best regards,

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Ann Lewis
Date: 22 Jun 07 - 09:30 AM

Paul, That would be great. Just need to sort out how to get it from you prior to Tuesday. The coach leaves at 9.00am sharp.

I'm sure everyone on the coach would enjoy the opportunity to lisen to the tapes.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:50 AM

It must have been 69 0r 70 when I first met Barrie. I'd started going to some of the Walsall folk clubs (it was quite a respectable way to spend an evening in those days!) and inevitably I found myself at the Songsmiths' Club at the Fitter's Arms one Saturday night. After a few weeks I plucked up the courage to take my guitar and do a couple of songs myself. "The goons recorded that in 1957" said Barrie; Mike James retorted "he'll tell you the day and the month in a minute!"

Later on I heard Barrie was looking for a harmonica player, so I trotted along to Rowley St with my gob-iron. Barrie had definite views on how to play the mouth organ, as did I … so it was doomed from the start! But it was the beginning of a long and deep friendship. I can't remember how we first came to team up, but I started playing sort of bass and/or melody behind him after Mike's commitments with Scotch Mist meant he couldn't be at the Fitter's regularly. I found I had a knack for top harmonies, and it wasn't long before Barrie invited me to join him on a gig – a social club in the Chuckery, if memory serves. And the rest was history!

Barrie introduced me to Kipling, the Music Hall, the Nineteenth Century in general. We shared a liking for Gilbert & Sullivan, but I was astonished to find we also shared a love of songs from musical shows in general. Many's the long hour we whiled away driving to a gig with dear old Tony Cleghorn (was he waiting to lead Barrie to the Pearly gates? They should be nearly there by now!) with "The farmer and the cowman should be friends" or "To Hell with Burgundy!"

And he loved nothing so much as dressing up: morning coat, fancy waistcoat, cummerbund and ulster, topped off with his topper, and a Gladstone bag full of broadsheets. We celebrated a millennium years before everyone else: Yardley, Birmingham, clocked up its 1,000th year of recorded history in 1972. Barrie arranged a broadsheet seller (himself), two dancing bears (Steve Poole – now of the Full Moon FC in Edmonton, Alta. – and me), a daring robbery by a notorious outlaw (Bill Caddick), and the subsequent hanging. (Bill escaped the gallows, you'll be pleased to know!)

Barrie used to produce a newsletter for the club, a chore that was later taken over by Paul Stanley and me. I've still got a thick pile of them, many of Barrie's, as well as a set of his broadsheets – somewhere. Barrie's broadsheets were famed throughout the Midlands, if not the country. Some were his own songs, but most carried a traditional song, along with the music (none of this "to the air of–") and the most authentic illustrations.


Barrie Roberts: the Last of the Gentleman Patterers


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Jun 07 - 05:52 AM

Malcolm –
I have some tapes I recorded at the Fitter's. I'm still going through them, but I've extracted seven or eight songs by Barrie. There's also a recording of a guest appearance he made on Radio Birmingham's Gentlefolk programme in about 1975. I'll be happy to pass copies on to anyone who'd like them, but of course there's a copyright issue.
I'm not going to be able to make it on Tuesday, I'm very sorry to say. If you'd like to contact me direct, I'd like to hear what you'd like to do with them. I haven't got broadband, so it will take me forever to try and upload any MP3s. You can reach me at steve_parkes@hotmail.com. (And so can anyone else!)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,dave james B'ham Trad
Date: 30 Jun 07 - 09:41 PM

I knew barry at the fitters 30 to 40 years ago. a good club well run and tight.   he will be sadly missed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Ochy Witchy
Date: 19 Feb 08 - 09:01 PM

Knew him for 16 years. My Mum and Dad knew and lived with him for alot longer... He was the first person who I spoke to after my Dad left and the first person who gave me a place to live when i finaly left home and went on a course in Brum. He was one of the family "freinds" that i grew up knowing and loving like he was part of my family. At Christmas (his b'day), or on other special times he would be there with his guitar, (case always covered in stickers from all over the world), playing and singing till the it was "that time". He read Sherlock Holmes stories to me and recorded them on tape for me. He recorded CORRIN AND THE SUMMER QUEST on cassette for me and showed us how to use our first computer..... We all know he was a touch on the large size, to the extent of not cleaning himself or his home for years. So many interestng and wonerfull things lost under cans of lilt and takeaway rubbish. He would speak on the fone more than anyone i've ever met, smoke 100 a day, know more than anyone should about evreything. BUT......... There are some things that I wanted to write at this point, things that ive never explained to anyone in great detail. He was a lonley man, and I think what he "tried" to do to me was out of conffusion and frustration. Not many people saw what he was really like, but he was just missing love in his life. Sleep well Roberts, I hope u've got a betemax wherever u are mate


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Slobbo
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 07:05 AM

Yes Barrie did have a dark side and it troubled many who remained his friends. True he did have a tendency, as he got older, to get well beyond 'ripe'. Sure, some of his habits did come from the early 19th century. In the 70s Rowley Street Florence Street were famed for his litter of porn of the Penthouse, Mayfair and Forum variety, which I like most of his visitors thumbed through to see what was new or amusing. Perhaps, being a product of our times, we mixed up liberty, liberation and something darker. The old bugger had form and that was part of the man, not an aberration. He was human and somewhat larger than life, both literally and metaphorically.

I suspect there were times when he was lonely. He did quarrel with his friends, and could be intolerant of opposition to positions that seemed self evident to him. He did try to explain that the urges he had were considered both normal and acceptable customs in other societies, separated from ours by time and space. Perhaps we were at fault for making excuses for Barrie whilst keeping our children close.
Maybe I witnessed only a peripheral events of this side of him, but they were coupled with kindness, compassion and even tenderness and once the most eloquent and moving account for a love of folk music that I ever heard. Sure, Barrie could be a bully, but he could also both make an articulate plea for tolerance.

I remember a confrontation with a neo-Stalinist as we tried to build some form of platform to resist both injustice and racism where he replied to the cliche of "You can't judge the Revolution by the way it treats Queers" with "Well it's a good place to start!"; that phrase has stuck with me. Barrie's sympathy for the eccentric, the oddball and the outsider was catholic and ranged well outside the boundaries of trendy leftie causes. His acceptance of the ordinary bloke living an ordinary life and a feeling that we should be allowed to live our lives with decency, free from want and oppression was the mainstay of his Anarchism.

Barrie's willingness to accept the lonely and not particularly attractive into his warmth and humour was epitomized by an event with his beloved betamax. After his mother died he shared his Florence Street house with her cat. I know dogs have owners whereas cats have staff, but Barrie had recorded a program about mice which he played to the cat. He speculated as to why the cat seemed to enjoy the program as the cat attempted to discover whether there really was a mouse in the TV set. Barrie and the cat amused each other. We pass our lives searching for both love and amusement. Despite his faults Barrie amused a lot of people and was loved as a friend.

Thank You Ochy Witchy, whoever you are, for helping us leave a more 'rounded' picture of Barrie.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for reviving this thread.

Our mentors can be complex individuals, and sometimes it takes years to sort all that out.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Steve Bennett
Date: 10 May 08 - 06:27 PM

I came across this thread by accident. Having said that I came across Barrie by accident too. My first contact with him was in the Early 1970's .

As a kid of 14 I was fascinated. He was a mate of my dads. I used to help lay out 'Bare & Ragged', in the Heath power cuts of 1972 - a bold attempt at challenging the stifling influence of the orthodox left (to which my family was firmly wedded) and the Walsall Observer (to which it was not) - and learned a lot about life, anarchism, folk music, and web offset printing techniques (along with soft porn) from Barrie.

Later I spent a good 7 years of my life working at Geffens when Barrie was Managing Clerk. Doubtless, Geffens was the law firm with a difference and Barrie's input and direction was always to the point.

Barrie was always on the side of the underdog. He never had to search his soul or hesitate to find his stance. Whether it was Police bullying of an exiled gay Russian Orthodox Priest, or simple petty local authority bullying of travellers, Barrie was always on the side that I had no difficulty identifying with. More importantly, Barrie played a big part in the eventual success of the appeals of the so called 'Birmingham Six' - Geffens representing 2 of the successful appellants.

Having read all of the Chris Tyroll stories I can testify to the sublime, if not factual truth of most of them. Barrie was the sort of person that the law needed and still needs.
His starting point was simple. If someone denied a charge (however heinous) they were entitled to a defence. He believed that the function of the courts was to determine guilt - not self appointed guardians of justice.

So quite rightly, Barrie had no difficulty in defending those accused of all manner of horribleness. He knew in his heart that there is nothing worse than a prosecutor......

Of course, it wasn't all great. Barrie had a fearsome reputation for his lack of personal hygiene. This meant that he created a barrier between himself and his potential audience.A shame because he had much to say that was right and of true importance. It was a bridge that he had created for people to cross. In truth a very small one, but a bridge of his making nonetheless.

Overall, Barrie was a force for considerable good. He was a man of enormous talent in so many ways. In may ways he was like many at Geffens at the time - a considerable thorn in the side of those who 'know best'. whether of the left or the right. A true practitioner of humanist libertarian values.

My last meeting with Barrie was just after Geffens had been forced to close in 2001. West Midlands Police like their revenge served cold. We met in an asian reataurant in Caldmore. He signed the inside leaves of a couple of his books and handed them to me as gifts. He was no longer working in the law. I asked him why he had left the law; he replied - 'I didn't - I felt it left me'.

So farewell Barrie. I like many others, owe you an enormous debt.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Betsy
Date: 10 May 08 - 08:04 PM

RIP Barry - such a talented man


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 15 May 08 - 02:51 PM

Steve -- are you Brian Bennett's son? Another man I have fond memories of.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 08 - 08:36 PM

Damn! I should have tracked Barrie down while I had a chance.

Maybe we should do "Obits" in advance so people would have a clearer idea of what they'd be missing if they didn't act "now."

Steve-

Thanks for posting.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 17 May 08 - 03:15 PM

They say the saddest words are "if only", Charley ... andf it's true, I know.

I know the BBC has obits of everybody famous, and quite a few not so famous, all made up and ready to run at a moment's notice. Maybe your idea is a good one, Charley! Except ... we'd all have to have access to an obit except for the "obituee". Any suggestions, anyone?

As far as I'm concerned, you're all welcome to get to know me as soon as you like. You can always have a look at www.myspace.com/kasperveste -- not that there's much to see!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Steve Bennett
Date: 25 May 08 - 06:48 PM

Hi Steve, I remember you well - even though it was many years ago. And yes, I am Brian's son. Alas, My old man passed away over 12 years ago in April 1996.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 May 08 - 02:42 PM

I'm sorry to hear that, Steve. I was fond of Brian: he was honest and likeable, which is not a common combination.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Steve Bennett
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 04:59 PM

Don't worry about it Steve - nobody gets out of this place alive!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 06:21 PM

I tend to think bollocks to that. the time to be loved and appeciated is when youre alive. And I think Barry would have agreed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,nigel haynes
Date: 20 Oct 09 - 07:10 AM

only found this thread 2 and a half years late.First saw BR in the
Black Country 3.Later got to know him at the Fitters and after back at Florence St.A unique one off with so many interesting sides-ghosts,archaeology,music,stories.Never wholly lost touch with him but should have found more time.Many nights at the Fitters with Ken and Stanare a bit hazy.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST,Many years later
Date: 30 Mar 11 - 08:41 AM

For some reason, after many, many years I was thinking of Barrie. Googled his name and discovered the sad news of is premature death nearly four years ago. I had had a relationship with Barrie in 1968...me then, 21 years old, emotionally immature and in awe of his charismatic personality. Loved the evenings at the Fitter's Arms...it was all so different from my teacher training college in Kidderminster. In the end, Barrie was one of the great unwashed and no amount of personality, intelligence could overcome my distaste. However, I remember him with fondness. Reading the obits it would seem he lived life to the full on his own terms. Good formyou Barrie.
Jen Hen


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 06:46 AM

Barrie's songs continue. I used The Sunday Papers last night at the Harbury Senior Citizens Christmas dinner. I've used it for years and it still raises huge laughs. Nigel Chapman, Southam, Warks


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 12:04 PM

I hadn't seen this thread - in June 2007 I would have been preparing for a couple of three hour exams...

The Fitters was the very first club I played in, probably 1969, and I remember I was shaking like a leaf, although I did manage to get through three songs.

Barrie (and Mike James) were really supportive, that night and every night. I lost touch after a couple of years, but I've always remembered that first shaky performance.

Glad to hear someone is still performing his music. He was a larger-than-life folkie.
Pete


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 05:36 PM

I've got one or two recordings I made at the Fitter's, although they need a bit of work to make them presentable. Meanwhile, I've posted a couple of the songs he & I (but mostly he!) recorded for Radio B'ham way back on my facebook page:

Time, it is a precious thing
Goodby-ee

I shall do up some more when I get the chance, but it's going to be rather busy in the next couple of weeks.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Dec 11 - 05:43 PM

Whoops! The first link should be this one.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 03:44 PM

I've started a YouTube channel for the recordings I've got of Barrie ...

Barrie Roberts recordings


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Subject: RE: Obit: Barrie Roberts (UK, 11 June 2007)
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 10 Aug 18 - 05:21 PM

Bother! That blue clicky doesn't work. Let's try again ... this seems to be OK ...

Barrie Roberts recordings


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