The Geoff Bodenham Collection

The Geoff Bodenham Collection

Jul 21, 2023


"Firstly, a massive THANK YOU to every single one of you who supported this project and made it a reality. Your kindness and generosity has saved countless English Folk song recordings amounting to the majority of one mans life work.

As part of this project numerous original works by Geoff Bodenham and Derek Craft have been saved from the dustbin of history, with recordings and transcribed lyrics enabling them to be listened to and learned by future followers of the tradition.

More than that, we turned up the first recording of John Hendley (Foz) in the process, a good friend of Geoff and fellow stalwart of the Black country music scene. There are also other songs that have been recovered that are of importance, such as George Woodhall's 'Alice Crutchfield' (A Black Country parody of Cushy Butterfield), The British Rail Song, Newcastle Brown Ale and numerous others that only existed as vague memories of the people who were there 50+ years ago.

I am forever in your debt, as is anyone who truly cares about the English Folk Scene."
- Jack Raven

Biography in Brief:
Geoff Bodenham was a Staffordshire folk singer who performed in clubs and pubs across the Black Country, Shropshire and the wider and the UK. Born in Kingswinford, though living much of his life in Codsall and Bridgnorth, Geoff first found the English folk scene when he visited the Giffard Folk Club in the early 60's. Here he would develop his own style which was heavily influenced by Jake Thackery. As the Giffard Folk Club grew it eventually had to split in two for logistical reasons, giving rise to its sister The Crown Folk Club. Several members of this club including Geoff Bodenham and Derek Craft (Previously of Black Country Three fame) performed on a BBC record called 'Dungeon Folk' and became a loose collection known as 'The Crown Folk', this group would also perform on two Christian 'Folk in Worship' LP's as well as a LP designed for schoolchildren called 'Songs for Assembly'. When other members of 'The Crown Folk' drifted away into other projects Geoff and Derek reformed into '1812' for which they became very well known. Geoff would perform in duo with Derek as well as solo for the bulk of his career into the 90's, as well as doing appearances with the Black Country Night Out Show. Eventually he slowly retired from the folk scene, instead taking a job as a Councillor in Bridgnorth. Geoff passed away in 2015 at the age of 71.

Releases:
A Class of His Own - Full Album
Badger's Lea - Original Single
Black Country Carol - Original Single, VHS of TV Broadcast
60th Birthday Performance - VHS of one of his final ever performances
Geoff and John Live (1978) - Entire Live Show
Geoff Live (1980) - Entire Live Show
Geoff Live (1983) - Entire Live Show
Geoff Live (Undated) - Entire Live show.

Thank you again to every one of you who has supported me in this, it's meant so much not only to me but to Mr Bodenham's family, for whom this project has been rather cathartic.

I hope you enjoy the music, and if you can, share anywhere that might be interested, if you wanted to leave a pleasant comment beneath the videos I'm sure the family would love to know Geoff's performances are still appreciated.

Enjoy this post?

Buy Staffordshire Folklore a book

More from Staffordshire Folklore