Clanjamfrie     (      (an erstwhile super group from the Cambridge area!)    To Contents

A sometimes irreverent retrospective revealing some secrets not yet public knowledge...........

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  • Otley Festival 2001- photo taken by Andy Waterhouse




An Introduction

Clanjamfrie were a five piece acoustic folk/rock band with personnel based in Cambridge, Ely, Peterborough and Yorkshire. They were frequent visitors to the Otley Folk Festival and the Junction Inn.

It all started  in approximately 1980  with the collaboration of Karl Robins  and John Carey followed by a few Pennine Radio Sessions in Bradford encouraged by Nigel Schofield who was then head of music.   Periods of relative inactivity followed interspersed with two folk bands in Otley 'Fine Artistes' and 'Renardine'.  Nevertheless Karl's song-writing was prolific including a short-lived  but meteoric venture into 'Christian Music' followed by just as quick a departure! (the least said the better!) .

Activities then moved to the  Isle of Man where Karl then lived which made rehearsing very difficult. We never bothered much with rehearsing anyway and so it probably made little difference. The Isle of Man provided  a few good local venues particularly in Laxey and Ramsey. It was during this period that the duo released  'Easy Street' coinciding with early appearances at   the Otley Folk Festival . This was due to an unfortunate map reading error. They were trying to find Otley in Suffolk (You thought there couldn't possibly be more than one place called Otley but yes there   is -check it on the map!!)

In 1995 the band had another change of locality and identity in the Cambridge area as 'Clanjamfrie' with the addition of Richard 'Jock' Currie  on guitar and vocals, Richard joining as part of a rehabilitation scheme. He is now fully rehabilitated and back into hard core folk music and drinking. During this period there were a few memorable local village 'hops' in the Burrough Green and Dullingham area (just into Suffolk). From this time on the band steadily grew, the line up being augmented in 1998 by Big Jim Moore on bass and Vick King on drums and heavy artillery, a couple of no-hopers with little better to do with their spare time. The style has changed progressively with the line up but still retaining the essential melodic qualities of Karl's songs but with a band sound. In September 2000 Phil Atkin joined on drums to play the Otley festival. Phil's arrival brought the average age of the band down to 55 and foot size up to 13.

However after a dramatic reduction to 1 and shortlived restyling as Billinomates the band reappeared at the 2004 Otley Folk festival as 'Billinomates and Mates' to be dropped in favour of 'Karl Robins and Friends' including Karl & Ben Robins and John Carey

Gigs have been mainly in the Cambridge area where the band have a good following but also in Otley, West Yorkshire as a consequence of the local folk festival where they have recently appeared (again and again) in various forms. The band have also played and drunk at the Junction on many occasions.

Recordings have been prolific over the years now totalling six albums with all songs penned by Karl (see later).To Contents

clanjamfrie at the junction.JPG (56769 bytes)

  • Clanjamfrie at the Junction, Otley in November 1999 - from left to right Adrian Wilkinson, John Carey, Vick King, Richard 'Jock' McCurry, Karlos McRobins, Jude (landlady of the establishment) and Big Jim Moore. The T shirts worn by everybody except two were from the holiday resort of Clanjamfrie in North East Scotland which had hit hard times and has recently done away with it's lifeguard service. - Photo Andy Waterhouse To Contents


Members included (at their dizzy peak):-

karl.jpg (22936 bytes)Karl Robins- (aka FBR) Vocals, guitar,  mandolin and Morris dancing - b1946 Favourite colours - red blue yellow and green : Favourite bands - Deep Purple and Simply Red : Favourite food  - Curry : Favourite chord - G: Favourite Rugby team - Bradford Bulls: Hobbies -DIY, interior decorating, crown green bowling and church choral music


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ric.jpg (19395 bytes)Richard 'Jock' McCurry- Vocals guitar and whistle  b1950 in Scotland - Favourite band -Jimmy Shand : Favourite drink - Paddy's Malt Whiskey: Favourite food - haggis : Hobbies - [caber] tossing

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Phil Otley 00.jpg (19070 bytes)Phil Atkinhi b 1926  -Drums- Favourite band - Royal Fusiliers Massed Drums : Favourite instrument - Yamaha D20 electronic drum kit with preset sounds : Favourite track - Cozy Powell - 'Dance With The Devil' : Hobbies - panel beating

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jim.jpg (19925 bytes)Big Jim Moore- Bass (should be Tetley's) b 1933- Favourite band -Motorhead  : Favourite artist -Derek Smalls (bass player- Spinal Tap) :Favourite drink-  Bass Best Bitter : Favourite food - more beer : Hobbies - drinking and marathon running

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John_Carey.jpg (18413 bytes) John Carey- Violin, viola, melodeon, whistle and harp- b 1966 -Favourite track Mahler's 5th:  Favourite band -  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra :  Hobbies - drinking Tetleys and baiting Scotsmen


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  • Trick of the Tune  -Karl Robins and John Carey- Cassette -1989
  • Four Tracking - Karl Robins and John Carey- Cassette- 1991
  • Easy Street - Karl Robins and John Carey- CD and Cassette-1994
  • Storm Clouds Rising - Clanjamfrie -  CD- 1998
  • New Road to Damascus - Clanjamfrie -  CD -November 1999
  • I Got News For You - Clanjamfrie -  CD- released March 2000- Recorded live in the Black Horse Otley
  • New Road To Damascas -CD March 2002 - a substantial remake of the earlier album with Phil Atkin
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Photo Albums:

Click here to view photo albums from the various Otley Folk Festivals   and   Otley Folk Festival 2004                                                   


1975 - Karl playing with Oakwood Mr REE (with Pete Dunk and Gary Hetherington) playing Bread, Harvey Andrews etc. covers and Karl numbers. Karl and John meet up in Smiths Arms, Gelderd Road Leeds on Saturday music night

1976- John teams up with Liz Jenkinson for a year or so. Several circuits of  local folk clubs and a support for Magna Carta at Library Theatre

1979 - John teams up with Magus - Jim Gordon and Pete Howells- release one  album Breezin Away and tour Scandinavia. Jim and Pete go on to better things in London.

1980 - Karl Robins and John Carey meet up again in Otley, W.Yorks for some  sessions playing Karl material on guitar and fiddle. Some sessions quickly followed at Pennine Radio in Bradford with encouragement from Nigel Schofield.

1983- John begins 5 year involvement with Magna Carta including several BBC Radio 2 sessions and a televised  appearance at the 1987 Cambridge Folk Festival.

1986- Karl and John re-establish as Fine Artistes together with Dave Rees (Voc and Guitar) ex Hot Pot Belly Band playing Swing and Blues numbers. Simultaneously, short lived   a folk act 'Renardine' started with Ruth Wyatt on vocals and flute playing mainly Karl numbers. Some early recording sessions which later went to become 'Four Tracking' as a consequence of the mode of recording.

1988- John starts parallel Irish folk act with singer songwriter Mairead O'Donnell- went on to release two albums 'Beulnahaillie' and 'Slipstream' and tour folk clubs in North

1989- Karl and John release 'Trick of The Tune' on cassette produced by Alan Daley

1991- 'Easy Street' recorded and produced by John. (Completed in 1994).  Karl moves to Isle of Man.

1991 - Karl teams up with local Manx acoustic folk group CeolMor.

1992- Karl and John team up to play   several concerts at the 2nd Otley Folk festival. Rehearsals somewhat problematical and conducted by phone.

1993- Further appearance as duo at Otley Festival

1994 - Karl moves to Cambridge area - Annual appearances at Otley continue.

1994 - John produces album for local young upstarts, the Hall Brothers akas Nick and Duncan  

1995 - Line up augmented by Richard (Mad Jock) Currie on Guitar and Vocs. Also Dawn Freshwater on backing vocs. 

1995 - John joins up with  Dave Roe, Lee Abbott, and John Sheppard to form occasional rock band Ash Felt hat. One album released produced by John.

1997 - Big Jim Moore joins on bass

1998- Released 'Storm Clouds Rising' as trio produced by John. Successful appearance at Otley Festival with addition of drums. Attract a considerable following in Otley.

1999- Released 'New Road to Damascus' as foursome with Karl Richard John and Jim (produced by John). Adrian Wilkinson joins on guitar following Richard's temporary departure. Vic King joins on drums.

2000- released new live album 'I Got News For You' recorded at Black Horse Otley engineered by Rod Holt and line up of Karl, Richard, Adrian, Vic, Jim and John. Appearances at the Junction Inn, Otley. In September the band make a further successful appearance at the 2000 Otley Folk Festival  including two memorable gigs at the Civic Hall to full houses accompanied by Phil Atkin on drums. Also appearances at the Red Lion, Black Horse, Woolpack, Junction, Manor Club and the Bowling Green - a busy three nights! Somewhere along the way the 25th anniversary got missed!

2000 - Karl, Jim and Phil form 'Scratch The Surface'  a  funk jazz rock band playing gigs in the Cambridge area. They also play Country and Western under the dubious band name of 'Rifleman Jack'. Meanwhile JC  ventures across the water with those local upstarts, the Halls, for a twice a year visit to Ireland.

2001 - The band   made an appearance on the club stage at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Rumour has it that the stage collapsed possibly attributable to the combined weight of the band (not including the fiddle player who wasn't there). Occasional gigs in Cambridge including the 'Wrestlers'.  A further successful visit to the Otley Folk Festival 2001 with two gigs in the Civic Hall plus, All Saints School, The Junction, Bowling Green, Bay Horse and Three Horse Shoes. The line up remains as 2000

2002 - Still going with line up changes - Release of New Road To Damascus2 - a rework of earlier album with Phil Atkin on drums (produced by John) - this will truly be a collectors item in years to come

2003 - Much reduced line up and almost demise!

2004 - Appearance at Stamford Riverside Festival and Otley Folk Festival 2004 line up including Karl, Ben and John. Change of identity.

2005 - Back into obscurity?????? Watch this space!


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