About Pete Coe
b. 24 March 1946, Northwich, Cheshire, England. Coe is known equally well for his solo work and the material he recorded with his former wife Chris Coe. Pete was a part-time folk club organizer in Cheltenham and Birmingham from 1965-71, after which he formed a duo with Chris, who played Hammer Dulcimer. The duo turned professional in 1971. Work with the folk puppet and theatre group Magic Lantern followed. The Coe duo also combined forces with Muckram Wakes and with Linda and Ian Wordsworth to form the New Victory Band in 1978. The latter unit released One More Dance & Then for Topic Records. The Coes then joined Nic Jones and Tony Rose to form Bandoggs, releasing one album on the now defunct Leader label.
Following the couple’s split in the early 80s, Pete Coe went on to start up his own Backshift label and release his solo debut, 1985’s It’s A Mean Old Scene. He also formed the group Red Shift with Paul Roberts (b. Paul Edward Westran Roberts, 21 May 1949, Stockport, Cheshire, England; fiddle), George Faux (b. 1 September 1955, Liverpool, England; viola, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals), John Adams (keyboards) and Colin Wood (cello). Northumbrian piper Dave Shaw and Chris Coe replaced Roberts and Wood on Back In The Red, the first folk album to be funded by the Arts Council. Coe continued to perform solo and from 1988-90 completed three major US tours. A Right Song And Dance, his second solo release followed the same path of both traditional and contemporary songs and dance music. Additionally, Coe has worked as a caller with the bands Hookes Law and Raw Material. Apart from playing festivals and clubs, Coe also tours schools as part of an education package, and in 1991 he licensed, and relaunched Songsmith magazine, a cassette and booklet featuring songs by established and new songwriters. His songs have been recorded by other artists, including June Tabor, the Chieftains and Leon Rosselson, and some have almost become folk ‘standards’, in particular ‘Marching Down Through Rochester’, ‘The Alimony Run’, and ‘The Wizard Of Alderley Edge’.
Coe’s former wife Chris Coe played in the New Victory Band, English Country Blues Band, Bandoggs, Tiger Moth and as a duo with Maggie Holland, before retiring from the folk scene to complete a fine arts degree. She returned to music in the 90s as part of Raw Material, alongside John Adams, Chris Partington and Miriam Walton. Her solo debut, A Wiser Fool, was released in 2001. In more recent years Pete and Chris Coe and Johnny Adams have performed at festivals as Ryburn 3, a unit linked to the Ryburn 3 Step folk community organisation.