As longstanding readers of our website will know, one of the most frequent queries about Coope Boyes & Simpson’s music asks whether any transcriptions of what they sing are available. Because the band arranged all their harmonies by ear, the answer almost invariably had to be that there weren’t any mss versions of their songs. Now, however, Sam Burns, MD of the “Gurt Lush Choir” has brought a smile to many faces (even CB&S’s if you look at their photo on the site) by producing transcriptions of the trios harmonies for a range of their best loved songs. Even better, the music has all been made available on the web via the Choir Community Network. Here’s the link – enjoy….

At the end of February and during March, Lester will be working with Blaize Community Arts as the Music Director of “Joan & Jimmy”, a new play written by Jim Woodland and directed by Mike Bettison. Telling the story of the life of the inspirational theatre director, Joan Littlewood, and that of her one time husband and partner Ewan MacColl (aka Jimmy Miller) the play covers the early days of Theatre Workshop; from Kendal in 1945 to Stratford East in 1952.

Like many of Littlewood’s own plays, the story is told in words and music – with songs by Jim Woodland, arranged by Lester and opens up a wider vision of the work of two seminal influences on both the Folk Revival and theatre.

Joan and Jimmy

Muziekcentrum Dranouter   12 January    20.30u     Tickets €14.00

Jim Boyes in joined by master-guitarist Maarten Decombel in a new duo featuring new and lesser-known songs by Jim and Maarten’s superb innovative accompaniments and harmonies.  A treat to start the New Year.

Tickets & Info:






Hark Hark – A Winter’s Light Tour

Barry Coope, Lester Simpson, Fi Fraser & Jo Freya will be bringing Christmas cheer to –

1 Dec – St Mary’s Church, Burton Bradstock, DT6 4QY       7.30pm

Tickets & Info: 01308 897421

2 Dec – Village Hall, Hinton Martel, BH21 7HE         7.45pm

Tickets  & Info: 01308 897421

14 Dec– Potteries Folk Club

Tickets & Info:

21 Dec – Otley Court House

Tickets & Info:


8 DecRaise Your Voices – Community Choir led by Lester Simpson

Wirksworth Christmas Market – 11-12 noon.

Lots of goodies to eat, drink and buy as well as some great Christmas songs to listen to or join in if you know them…


7 Dec – The Best Christmas Present in the World

Michael Morpurgo, Virginia McKenna and Voices at the Door

Christ Church, Henley – SOLD OUT


16 DecPoppy Field

Michael Morpurgo, Clare Morpurgo and Voices at the Door

Sint-Jacobskerk, Gezelleplein, Ieper – 4.30pm

Tickets & Info:

Award-winning author, Michael Morpurgo brings the world-premiere of a  words and music adaptation of his new book, Poppy Field to Flanders.

Narrated by the author and Clare Morpurgo with evocative songs and carols in sung in radiant acapella by Voices at the Door (Barry Coope, Jim Boyes, Fi Fraser, Jo Freya & Georgina Boyes) this is a first chance to hear the adaptation of the captivating story.

A half-written poem, a field of poppies and a series of unexpected meetings mark the past of four generations of a farming family from the Belgian town of Yprès.  In his favourite place on the farm, Max listens as his Grandpa tells him the story linking the writing of “In Flanders Fields” and the fireman buglers of the Menin Gate, of endurance, love, music and what happened in the Poppy Field.

Narration in English with Dutch translation.


BBC Radio 2 on 9th November 20.00-22.00
Barry Coope and Jim Boyes will be joining Bob Fob, John Tams, Chris While,  Julie Matthews and Jez Lowe to sing  songs from “The Ballads of the Great War” series in a live broadcast which is part of the BBC’s commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice.  With specially commissioned orchestral arrangements by Greg Lawson, featuring the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the songs are interspersed with readings from his books “War Horse” and “Private Peaceful” by Michael Morpurgo.

The long-awaited first album from Narthen (Barry Coope, Lester Simpson, Fi Fraser and Jo Freya) is on sale now.  A tour de force with a varied choice of intelligent material, excellent singing and playing, clearest sound and elegant design – it’s officially released on 14 September, but copies are available now by Mail Order from No Masters.

Narthen (No Masters NMCD52)

Narthen news and info on live gigs –

On Saturday 25th August, Coope Boyes & Simpson will sing together again in “Peace to the World”, the final event of the commemorations of the centenary of the First War in Ieper, Belgium.

“Peace to the World” is a free, twelve hour event which will take place in the Grote Markt (Main Square) of Ieper. Curated by the renowned actor, director and musician Wim Opbrouck, it brings together singers, musicians, poets and writers in performances looking forward to peace, hope and reconciliation. It features some of the best – and best-known singers and musicians in Belgium playing together in unique combinations with Wim Opbrouck’s We Shall Overcome band, as well as sets from international artists.

Coope Boyes & Simpson have been chosen to sing immediately before the Last Post at 7.40 pm

Coope Boyes & Simpson’s long association with music about Remembrance is continued as Barry & Jim bring new songs to Radio 2’s Ballad of the Great War 1917 on 11th November. Barry Coope joins The Thurnscoe Harmonic Male Voice Choir to sing his arrangement of “Trench Raid”, a new song written by Sean Cooney of The Young ‘Uns.

The programme also includes a first chance to hear Jim Boyes & Maarten Decombel as the new duo perform “Passchendaele”, a song by Jim which was specially commissioned for the centenary of the battle.

Meanwhile, “Standing in Line”, the production devised by Lester Simpson, which uses songs, readings and images to tell the story of his great-uncle, Albert Scrimshaw, killed in in Battle of Passchendaele a century ago is also touring, details here –

Fatea have just announced that Coope Boyes & Simpson’s work has been recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the magazine’s Annual Awards 2016.

Neil King, Fatea’s Editor, tells us – it’s the first time that we’ve ever awarded it to a group. The Award recognises, not only the trio’s many years of producing great vocal albums, but also the broader aspects, such as their contribution to the No Masters Co-operative, awareness of the In Flanders Fields Museum, workshops and encouragement to other singers.


If you’ve enjoyed Voices at the Door on record but don’t care too much for dusting, we’ve just had the excellent news that our eponymous second album Voices at the Door: Midwinter Songs & Carols will be available to download from 20th November 2015. This makes it much easier as far as housework is concerned, but a bit of a problem to autograph.
There’s news on this link, but ideally the download will be available elsewhere too –