Bill Leader (born 26 December 1929) is an English recording engineer and record producer. He is particularly associated with the British folk music revival of the 1960s and 1970s, producing records by Paddy Tunney, Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Frank Harte and many others.
Leader was born in New Jersey, of British parents. His parents returned to the UK while he was still young and he was brought up in Dagenham, Mottingham and Shipley. Even as a child, he wanted to be a recording engineer and he moved back to London in 1955 to work in a film library at the Polish Embassy, with the intention of working in the film industry.He began working for Topic Records and particularly recorded some of the Irish folk musicians who were in London in the late 1950s, as well as releasing a Rambling Jack Elliott record for Topic. To supplement the meagre income from his recording work, he took a job in Collett's record shop (specialising in folk, blues and jazz records) in Oxford Street, London. Through his work in the shop, he met Nathan Joseph who had set up Transatlantic Records and, from 1962, began working with him, part-time, as a producer.
The early days of recording folk artists in England were characterised by low budgets and improvised technology. In the 1960s, Leader lived in Camden and, using a semi-professional Revox tape recorder, recorded a number of artists in his own flat, sound-proofing the room with blankets and egg boxes.John Renbourn described the early recordings of himself and Bert Jansch, in which Leader proceeded by "setting up the tape machine in the sink and having us play in the broom cupboard".
In 1969, together with his second wife, Helen, he set up two record labels: Leader and Trailer Records. The Leader label was intended for recordings like those made by Alan Lomax, with extensive academic liner notes. The Trailer label was focused on the revival scene. A recent compilation of Trailer tracks is Never The Same – Leave-Taking From the British Folk Revival 1970–1977, in which some biographical details are given.
Leader was in charge of the Audio Department at University College Salford.
In 2009, the accompanying book to the Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten provides Leader's biography. 14 The book lists classic albums, including some engineered or produced by Leader such as Her Mantle So Green (with Ewan MacColl), :16 The Iron Muse :14 and Frost And Fire (both with A.L. Lloyd), and Paddy In The Smoke. :38:
He is now retired and is concentrating on transferring his huge collection of 78, 33 and 45 rpm records onto more modern systems.
Leader was honoured with a "Good Tradition" award, for his contributions to continuing the tradition of folk music, at the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at The Lowry theatre in Salford on 8 February 2012.
A full listing of titles on the Leader and Trailer labels is in preparation on Folkopedia
Pentangle are a British folk-jazz band with an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, blues and folk rock influences. The original band was active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a later version has been active since the early 1980s. The original line-up, which was unchanged throughout the band's first incarnation (1967–1973), was: Jacqui McShee (vocals); John Renbourn ; Bert Jansch ; Danny Thompson ; and Terry Cox (drums).
Herbert Jansch was a Scottish folk musician and founding member of the band Pentangle. He was born in Glasgow and came to prominence in London in the 1960s, as an acoustic guitarist, as well as a singer-songwriter. He recorded at least 25 albums and toured extensively from the 1960s to the 21st century.
John Renbourn was an English guitarist and songwriter. He was best known for his collaboration with guitarist Bert Jansch as well as his work with the folk group Pentangle, although he maintained a solo career before, during and after that band's existence (1967–1973).
Albert Lancaster Lloyd, usually known as A. L. Lloyd or Bert Lloyd, was an English folk singer and collector of folk songs, and as such was a key figure in the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s. While Lloyd is most widely known for his work with British folk music, he had a keen interest in the music of Spain, Latin America, Southeastern Europe and Australia. He recorded at least six discs of Australian Bush ballads and folk music.
David Michael Gordon "Davey" Graham was a British guitarist and one of the most influential figures in the 1960s British folk revival. He inspired many famous practitioners of the fingerstyle acoustic guitar such as Bert Jansch, Wizz Jones, John Renbourn, Martin Carthy, John Martyn, Paul Simon and Jimmy Page, who based his solo "White Summer" on Graham's "She Moved Through the Fair". Graham is probably best known for his acoustic instrumental, "Anji" and for popularizing DADGAD tuning, later widely adopted by acoustic guitarists.
Anne Patricia Briggs is an English folk singer. Although she travelled widely in the 1960s and early 1970s, appearing at folk clubs and venues in England and Ireland, she never aspired to commercial success or to achieve widespread public acknowledgment of her music. However, she was an influential figure in the English folk music revival, being a source of songs and musical inspiration for others such as A. L. Lloyd, Bert Jansch, Jimmy Page, The Watersons, June Tabor, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Maddy Prior.
Terence William Harvey 'Terry' Cox played drums in the British folk rock bands The Pentangle, Duffy's Nucleus and Humblebums.
Raymond Ronald Jones, better-known as Wizz Jones, is an English acoustic guitarist, singer and songwriter. He has been performing since the late 1950s and recording from 1965 to the present. He has worked with many of the notable guitarists of the British folk revival, such as John Renbourn and Bert Jansch.
The Pentangle was the 1968 debut album of the band Pentangle: Terry Cox, Bert Jansch, Jacqui McShee, John Renbourn and Danny Thompson. It brought together their separate influences of folk, jazz, blues, early music and contemporary songwriting. One of the band's most commercially successful albums, it reached number 21 in the British charts.
Reflection was an album recorded in 1971 by folk-rock band Pentangle.
Solomon's Seal is an album recorded in 1972 by folk-rock band Pentangle. It was the last album recorded by the original line-up, before the band split in 1973. Jacqui McShee has stated that it is her favourite Pentangle album. The album title refers to the Seal of Solomon — a mythical signet ring with magical powers, sometimes associated with the pentagram symbol adopted by Pentangle.
Les Cousins was a folk and blues club in the basement of a restaurant in Greek Street, in the Soho district of London, England. It was most prominent during the British folk music revival of the mid-1960s and was known as a venue where musicians of the era met and learnt from each other. As such, it was influential in the careers of, for example, Jackson C. Frank, Al Stewart, Marc Brierley, Davey Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Sandy Denny, John Martyn, Alexis Korner, The Strawbs, Roy Harper, The Young Tradition and Paul Simon. Several albums were recorded there.
Nathan Joseph was a British record company founder, theatrical producer and talent agent. He was a pioneer in the development of independent record companies in the 1960s and 1970s.
It Don't Bother Me is the second album by Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch, released in December 1965. The album was produced by Nathan Joseph and Bill Leader, although Leader was left uncredited.
Leather Launderette is the 16th album by Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch, recorded together with fellow musician Rod Clements. The album was released in March 1989. Jansch had health problems during the recording, and in 1987, after being rushed to hospital, he quit drinking alcohol. Colin Harper says in his Bert Jansch biography, Dazzling Stranger, "There can be no doubt that Bert's creativity, reliability, energy, commitment and quality of performance were all rescued dramatically by the decision to quit boozing".
Folk baroque or baroque guitar, and also sometimes called chamber folk, is a distinctive and influential guitar fingerstyle developed in Britain in the 1960s, which combined elements of American folk, blues, jazz and ragtime with British traditional music to produce a new and elaborate form of accompaniment. It has been highly important in folk music, folk rock and British folk rock playing, particularly in Britain, Ireland, North America and France.
"Down by Blackwaterside" is a traditional folk song, provenance and author unknown, although it is likely to have originated near the River Blackwater, Northern Ireland.
Dando Shaft is the name of a short-lived psychedelic/progressive folk and folk jazz band that was primarily active in the early 1970s. The band has attracted a measure of attention from recent compilation releases and Dando Shaft is today known primarily as one of the major influences on the progressive stream of the 1960s folk revival.
Bert Jansch was a Scottish folk musician. His discography consists of 24 studio albums, 8 live albums, 36 compilations, 5 videos, 2 EPs, and 12 singles. In addition, his compositions and guitar work have been featured on a number of albums by other artists.
John Renbourn was an English guitarist and composer. His discography consists of 20 studio albums, 5 live albums, 19 compilations, and 2 videos. In addition, his compositions and guitar work have been featured on a number of albums by other artists.