Rab Noakes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rab Noakes
Noakes at the Oran Mor, Glasgow, 2010
Noakes at the Oran Mor, Glasgow, 2010
Background information
Birth nameRobert Noakes
Born (1947-05-13) 13 May 1947 (age 74)
St Andrews, Scotland
GenresFolk, country
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, record producer
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboards
Years active1970–present
LabelsNeon Media production
WebsiteOfficial website

Rab Noakes (born Robert Noakes, 13 May 1947) is a Scottish singer-songwriter.


Noakes was born in St Andrews, Fife, and brought up in Cupar.[1]

He has performed with Lindisfarne, who recorded his songs "Turn a Deaf Ear" on their first album, Nicely Out of Tune, and "Together Forever" on their second, Fog on the Tyne. Barbara Dickson also recorded "Turn a Deaf Ear" on her album Do Right Woman, on which Noakes also performed. Noakes also sang backing vocals and played guitar on the first solo album by Gerry Rafferty, Can I Have My Money Back, most notably on 'Mary Skeffington', a song about Rafferty's Mother. After these sessions he became an early member of Stealers Wheel, although he left them before they recorded their first album.[2] Noakes made his own debut solo recording 'Do You See The Lights' in 1970, with a line-up that included ex-partner Robin McKidd on electric guitar and the legendary Scottish jazz bassist Ronnie Rae. This recording included the songs 'Too Old To Die', 'Together Forever' and 'Somebody Counts On Me, which to this day remain fan favourites. In May 1972, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Noakes was to appear at the Great Western Express Lincoln Festival on 26 May that year. Other acts to perform in the 'Giants of Tomorrow' marquee included Budgie, Skin Alley, Tea & Sympathy, John Martyn, Warhorse and Gnidrolog.[3] One of Noakes's best-known recording, "Branch", was released as a single in the summer of 1974 from his album Red Pump Special, which was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and produced by Eliott Mazer, attracted considerable airplay on BBC Radio 1, but without making the UK Singles Chart.

The album Restless (1978) was produced by Terry Melcher at Starling Sounds, based at Tittenhurst Park, Ascot, former home of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, then owned by Ringo Starr. The Albums, Rab Noakes (1980) and Under the Rain (1984) followed, but it was 1994 until Standing Up appeared.[2] Noakes subsequently toured with the Varaflames, containing Pick Withers, Rod Clements, and the harmonicist Fraser Speirs.

Noakes became the senior producer for music programmes on BBC Radio Scotland. He left to create the production company, Neon.[2] In November 2007, his album Unlimited Mileage, again with the Varaflames, was released. In 2012 CDs of Standing Up Again made in 2009 and Just in case (made in 2007) were made available those albums only having been available to Download up until then.

In 2015 he released the album "I'm Walking Here". It was his 19th solo album and many of the songs tell the story of his working life as a songwriter and performer. It is a double album containing 26 songs. The first set consists of new compositions that show his gift for melody and love of Americana, and include "Out of Your Sight", influenced by Buddy Holly, a tribute to a 1920s minstrel singer and a poignant lament for Rafferty. The second album is dominated by "interpretations" (he hates the word covers) of songs from early Cliff Richard to Garbage and Beck, along with the skiffle standard 'Freight Train', on which he's joined by Jimmy MacGregor, and a finely sung treatment of the traditional 'The Two Sisters'.[4]

Albums (including reissues)[edit]

Date Artist Label Cat. # Name
1970 Rab Noakes Decca SKL 5061 Do You See The Lights?
1972 Rab Noakes A&M AMLS 68119 Rab Noakes
1974 Rab Noakes Warner Brothers BS 2777 Red Pump Special
1975 Rab Noakes Warner Brothers K56114 Never Too Late
1978 Rab Noakes Ringo O' 2339 201 Restless
1980 Rab Noakes MCA MCAC 3251 Rab Noakes
1984 Rab Noakes Black Crow (CD)CRO 207 Under The Rain
1988 Black Crow (CD)CRO 217 Woody Lives!
1995 Rab Noakes Mediart Music MDMCD 003 Standing Up
2000 The Varaflames Neon NEONCD001 Throwing Shapes
2001 Rab Noakes With Fraser Speirs Neon NEONCD002 Lights Back On
2002 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD004 Demos And Rarities Volume 1
2004 Rab Noakes River Records RIVERCD003 The River Sessions
2004 The Varaflames River Records RIVERCD042 Throwing Shapes (Re-issue)
2004 Rab Noakes With Fraser Speirs River Records RIVERCD043 Lights Back On (Re-issue)
2007 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD007 Standing Up (Re-issue)
2007 Rab Noakes and the Varaflames Neon NEONCD009 Unlimited Mileage
2008 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD010 Do You See The Lights? (Re-Issue)
2012 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD011 Just in Case Songs Of Boudleaux & Felice Bryant
2012 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD012 Live at the Reid Hall Edinburgh 2005
2012 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD013 Standing Up Again
2013 Rab Noakes Warner WPCR15119 Red Pump Special (Re-issue)
2013 Rab Noakes Warner WPCR15120 Never Too Late
2013 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD014 Demos And Rarities Volume 2 Adventures with Gerry Rafferty
2013 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD015 Red Pump Special – 40th Anniversary Edition
2013 Rab Noakes Universal UICY75904 Rab Noakes (1972 Album Re-issue)
2014 Barbara Dickson & Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD016 Reunited EP
2015 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD017 I'm Walkin' Here
2018 Rab Noakes Neon NEONCD021 Welcome to Anniversaryville


  1. ^ "Rab Noakes – Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame". projects.handsupfortrad.scot.
  2. ^ a b c Harris, Craig. "Rab Noakes". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  3. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 238. CN 5585.
  4. ^ Denselow, Robin. "Rab Noakes: I'm Walkin' Here review – effortlessly connecting pop and folk". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2015.

External links[edit]