Harry Cox

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Harry Fred Cox (27 March 1885 – 6 May 1971), was a Norfolk farmworker and one of the most important singers of traditional English music of the twentieth century, on account of his large repertoire and fine singing style.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography concludes:

He is admired for the breadth and variety of his repertory, some 140 items ranging from rough bawdry to high balladry, but above all for his technique, based, according to the BBC producer Francis Dillon, on ‘a carefully placed decoration, a beautifully judged phrasing, an exact control of highly complex rhythm and a singing tone which requires no accompaniment’.

"Cox's singing style was very straightforward and at first may seem colorless when compared with the vibrant style of, say Sam Larner, but its subtleties require repeated listenings to appreciate. Perseverance is rewarded, however, for Cox employed many of the traditional singer's devices effectively, if quietly, and produced many moving performances."—Sarah Lifton The Listener's Guide to Folk Music; 1983; p. 13.

The Bonny Labouring Boy from the album of the same name is track thirteen on the first CD of the Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten.

Roy Palmer (2004). "Cox, Harry Fred (1885–1971)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (1 ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2006-03-22.

See also: Michael Grosvenor Myer, "A Visit to Harry Cox", Folk Review magazine, February 1973


Solo albums

  • Folk Songs – England (1956)
  • Harry Cox – English Folk Singer (1965)
  • Harry Cox Sings English Love Songs (1965)
  • The Barley Straw (1975)
  • Traditional English Love Songs (1977)


  • Seventeen Come Sunday (1975)
  • What Will Become of England? (2000)
  • The Bonny Labouring Boy: Traditional Songs and Tunes From a Norfolk Farm Worker (Topic Records 2000)


  • Folk Songs of Britain (1961) reissued as Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Vol 2 Songs of Seduction four songs
Vol 1 Come Let Us Buy the Licence (one song)
Vol 2 My Ship Shall Sail the Ocean (one song)
Vol 12 We've Received Orders to Sail (three songs)
Vol 17 It Fell on a Day, a Bonny Summer Day (two songs)
Good People, Take Warning (two songs)

(*) One Track only

External reference[edit]