Who is Bob Webb?

For nearly four decades Bob Webb has presented the music of seafarers, loggers, railroad men and other folk heroes and heroines. A singer, raconteur and instrumentalist, Bob reaches all ages in presentations ranging from theatre concerts to intimate informal programs.

His specialties are shipboard work songs, known as "shanties," and the seagoing ballads called "forebitters" or "main-hatch songs." He is an accomplished balladeer, who sings unaccompanied (a capella) and with the five-string banjo, MacCann-duet concertina and guitar. Audiences delight in joining Bob on the choruses: his songs, shanties and instrumental music have been received with acclaim from New Zealand to Poland.

Photo by Paul Cunningham

He is also an historian and scholar: his groundbreaking exhibition on the history of the banjo in America at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led to the publication of his Ring The Banjar!: The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory (Centerstream Press, 1996), the first overall history of America's "own" musical instrument. Sailor-Painter, his long-awaited biography of the marine artist Charles Robert Patterson is now in print. (See Books)

He also has special expertise in the history of whaling around the world. His book On the Northwest: Commercial Whaling in the Pacific Northwest 1790-1967 (University of British Columbia Press, 1988) is still considered the essential source on whaling history in the North Pacific Ocean. 


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Richmond Webb Associates
P.O. Box 356 Phippsburg, ME 04562-0356