Born in 1933, Reg Hall has been a quietly important stalwart and historian of traditional music for wee over fifty years. Best known as a dance musician, Reg has had a long, personal involvement with traditional music-making and has played Irish music and English country music with most of the finest traditional musicians. For many years he accompanied Michael Gorman and later Jimmy Power in London pub sessions. Reg has played for the Bampton Morris for the past fifty years and was with the Padstow Blue Ribbon ‘Obby ‘Oss for forty years. He formed The Rakes with Michael Plunkett and Paul Gross in 1956, playing for dances and finding time to back Bob Davenport in concert and on record.
Though holding down a day job as a probabtion officer, Reg managed to both participate in the music performance and to document it in extraordinary detail. Reg’s enthusiastic contribution and his pioneering work documenting and encouraging traditional music has not always been widely acknowledged. Both an historian and a musician, he brings a rare understanding and insight to his writing and playing. His association with Topic Records began in 1963 when he wrote the sleeve notes for the Irish Pipe & Fiddle Tunes ep, two years later he collaborated with Bill Leader on The Paddy In The Smoke recording and has compiled and annotated many significant recordings, culminating in The Voice of the People series in 1999. He was awarded the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance And Song Society in 1987, a doctorate in history from Sussex University in 1994 and the Gradam Cheoil musician’s award from the Gaelic television company TG4 early in 2009.