Clive gave his first public performance at the age of eight as a very nervous, and partly hidden, harmonica player but he has been performing in full view at folk clubs and festivals for more than twenty-five years now. He is particularly fond of English traditional songs and shanties but also sings contemporary pieces written in the traditional vein. He has performed at venues in most parts of England with occasional excursions into Scotland and Wales as well as in Holland, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA.
Clive also sings as a member of The Laners, whose website is here and as one half of Tom Perry & Clive Brooks whose website is here. He made his first CD as half of another a cappella duo in 2005 and has provided chorus/backing vocals and/or instrumental accompaniment on half-a-dozen CDs for other performers. As well as singing both solo and in various groupings, he has played for two groups of Appalachian dancers and a Morris side and was also a member of a well-established ceilidh band.
Des has been around the folk scene since a teenager but only plucked up the courage to start singing in clubs in the late seventies when he returned to his native town, Coventry. He has been a member of Earlsdon and Plum Jerkum Morris sides and for a short time was the Foreman and then Squire of Plum Jerkum. He performs solo and unaccompanied at local folk clubs in the area, was for some years one of the MC committee at the Harbury FC and has been a regular MC at the Warwick Folk Festival. He is also a member of the Coventry Singers’ Circle.
In the last few years Des has sung with Ninepenny Marl (four-part harmony) and now with Thrup’nny Bits (three-part harmony), whose website is here, as well as with Sharp as Razors. While he has always wanted to learn a musical instrument this skill has sadly eluded him. Thus his singing has always been unaccomplished and Acapulco (one MC once introduced him as one of the best unaccomplished singers in Warwickshire while another club organiser introduced Ninepenny Marl as Acapulco).
Although he has been singing all his life, it is only in the last ten years or so that Vaughan (a.k.a. “Snuffy”) has become a familiar face on the folk scene as a member of various groups or hosting festival singarounds. Living in or near Alcester for over twenty-five years he has also supplied vocal, whistle and harmonica backing on several albums for local artists, and it was perhaps appropriate that his first solo appearance at a festival should be at Alcester in 2010.
His powerful voice and strong sense of humour mean that many of his songs focus on the lighter side of life, but he can “do” shade as well as brightness. The bulk of his songs are traditional or in the traditional style, but he has penned a handful of songs himself, and his vast and varied repertoire spans a bewilderingly wide range of sources, so you can never be quite sure what you’re going to hear next.
Most of you will know that Alan Whitbread, a former member of the crew died in March 2020, having not been well for some time.
It was Alan who suggested that the four of us should get together to form Sharp As Razors. We had all been members of the Shellback Chorus and the crew’s formation followed on from the demise of the Chorus. He was a lively character and we were never really sure what he might do or say next but it was all part of the fun of having him with us.
Alan’s first love was for traditional English song and music but his repertoire also included songs from other countries and traditions and more recent compositions. He had a particular joy of singing sea songs and shanties, which led to him singing at many maritime festivals and at numerous other festivals all over the UK, as well as in Holland, New Zealand and the USA.
We perform all our repertoire a cappella but, for his solo bookings, Alan always had his concertina with him and on it he produced well-crafted and well-played accompaniments to his singing.
He was a kind and considerate man and we will miss him.