Happy Birthday to Rick Kemp – born November 15, 1941!
Rick Kemp (born in Little Hanford, Dorset) is an English bass player, guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and record producer, best known for his work with the pioneering electric folk band, Steeleye Span.
Kemp has been a member of Steeleye Span for around 30 years, having first joined the band in 1972, heralding their most commercially successful spell during the mid-1970s. He left in 1986, rejoined in 2000, and remains a member today.
In the 1960s he shot to prominence through his work with singer-songwriter Michael Chapman, and had a reputation within the music industry as a very strong rock and blues session bassist, before his transition into electric folk.
In 1971 Kemp played with King Crimson, shortly before the band recorded their album, Islands. However, he turned down the opportunity to join them on a full-time basis, and reportedly departed the band after just two weeks.
Kemp has played bass on a number of Maddy Prior recordings, and was a member of the Maddy Prior Band in the 1980s. The 1990 album Happy Families was officially credited to “Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp”.
He also played on solo albums by former Steeleye Span member Tim Hart in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1979 Kemp co-founded the record label Plant Life with Steeleye Span drummer Nigel Pegrum. The label was discontinued in 1984.
He has released four solo albums: Escape (1996), Spies (1998), Codes (2004) and Fanfare (2009). The line-up for his solo albums generally consists of a traditional Blues three-piece, with Kemp working alongside Spud Sinclair on guitar and Charlie Carruthers on drums, though his most recent album saw Kemp himself playing most of the instruments.
From 1997 to around 2009, Kemp was the producer for the ceilidh dance band, Whapweasel. He also occasionally played guitar (as opposed to bass) with them.