Joe Stead (Ship's Doctor) Mike Beeke (Cabin Boy) Neil Kimber (Ship's Bosun)
Gareth Scott (Powder Monkey John Bromley (Ship's Cook).
Kimber's Men were formed in
the summer of 2001 and in those early days the group
comprised Neil Kimber - ship’s bosun, John Bromley - ship’s
cook, Joe Stead - ship’s doctor, and Roger ‘Tonky’ Hepworth
the ship’s cabin boy. But in the summer of 2004 Roger was
diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and sadly he passed away
in April 2005. Kimber’s Men realized they would never sound
the same again. Roger was missed not only for his wonderful
harmonies and guitar playing, but for his friendship and
advice always warmly given.
Neil and Roger had been singing together as a duo in West Yorkshire since 1966 whilst John burst upon the folk scene a little later in 1972 as a member of Hebric. John, who has a voice similar to Paul Robeson also sings with the local operatic society in Halifax and is a member of The Bradshaw Mummers who can be seen in quaint outfits throughout most summers at various festivals acting out the important chapters of English history. John sang lead bass with Northern Ballet at Leeds Playhouse for the winter season of Mozart’s Requiem.
Meanwhile Joe Stead had begun a professional career in London in 1966 which eventually took him to various parts of the world and more recently the first Valparaiso Festival of the Sea in Chile. Joe has performed in concert in America with Pete Seeger twice and also sung at a garden party with Paul Robeson in London in 1958. Neil also sang in concert with Pete Seeger when he and Joe crossed the Atlantic with Paul Downes to perform in a concert in New Jersey to raise funds for the Delaware Valley River Project.
David Buckley joined Kimber's Men at the end of April 2006. David is an actor and a singer performed in musicals and with the Halifax Operatic Society. When we found him he was playing the part of Captain Smith in 'Titanic the Musical'. We managed to grab him by his shirt tails before he went down with the ship. David sang tenor harmony and wrote some wonderful songs: I will always be there, Asleep in the sand, Stan the Shantyman and Mama Wind, being just four of them. David left the group in August 2013 for personal reasons having undergone major heart surgery earlier that year. He has now starting singing solo as well as going back to his old roots with a country rock band.
In June 2007 Gareth Scott joined the quartet to make our number up to 5. Gareth is a fabulous blues singer and this added a new dimension to the group and with David leaving the band Michael Beeke quickly took his place armed with bagpipes giving the band an even further new dimension. Bagpipes in a shanty band must be a first surely.
There has been much discussion over the last 50 years as to whether shanties were originally sung in unison or in harmony. The two arguments go thus: 1. All shanties were sung in unison because the work was so hard and the majority of seamen couldn’t even sing in tune. 2. Most shanties were sung in harmony because a lot of the sailors were either Caribbean, Welsh or Irish and these races are renowned for their ability to naturally sing harmonies. So you take your pick. We’ve decided to sing harmonies wherever and whenever possible because it is kinder on the ear and we would like you the audience to want to listen to us for more than five minutes. We now have six Compact Discs available, four available direct from the band the other two are released by other companies and can be obtained through Amazon.
Turn to the music page to see and listen to the discs.