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Death of popular Aberdeen singer songwriter Frank Robb, 74

Frank Robb.
Frank Robb.

Much loved Aberdeen musician, singer, song writer, poet and raconteur Frank Robb has died age 74.

The celebrated artist began his career with folk group, The Crofters moving on to found the Hedgehog Pie group, then Super Klute.

With a cult following he also delighted fans with his observational humour and was loved throughout Scotland and beyond.

Early life in Torry

Born on January 13, 1948 Frank Robb grew up in Torry then Hilton, Aberdeen.

His mother Mary looked after Frank and his sister Kathleen while his dad Francis – also known as Frank – worked as a cooper in the whisky industry.

He started his schooling in Torry, then onto Woodside before going to Hilton Academy.

A young Frank Robb performing at a music festival.

After school Frank began his working life at a coal and shipping company, then worked briefly at a papermill. An admin role within civil service followed.

In his early 20s Frank took the bold decision to make music his living.

Alongside work he was studying art at Aberdeen College of Commerce and considered both options for his future career.

Music won and it became his passion and his livelihood for over 50 years.

Music in the blood

As a child Frank received enormous encouragement from his granny Robb – his father’s mother. He lived with her for a time and she supported and believed in his musical abilities.

And there were other musicians in the family.

Frank’s aunt was an accomplished jazz singer and his uncle played the piano.

Aberdeen folk singer Frank Robb.

However it would be guitar, harmonica and razor sharp wit that would see him become one of the North-east’s most popular acts.

His father bought him his first guitar for a couple of pounds and by the age of 16 he was already involved in the thriving Aberdeen folk scene.

Record labels and finding love

Frank met partner Deirdre Grant in the mid 80s when they were both working on Aberdeen’s alternative music festival.

Ever the entertainer, Frank Robb.

“Frank was one of the leading lights at the festival. He was compering at the festival club in the Gloucester Hotel.

“We’ve known each other and been together since then and we married earlier this year in a small ceremony in Aberdeen.”

Hedgehog Pie at the ABC Bowl in 1975.  Frank Robb is pictured second from right, front row.

By the time Deirdre met Frank he was a solo performer but at 19 he was part of The Crofters – a folk trio who had two albums on the Decca Label.

He was the founding member of the original Hedgehog Pie group and towards the end of the 70s he changed musical direction to found rock band Super Klute.

Frank shown far left on Super Klute’s Christmas card.

They developed a cult following and had a popular residency at the ABC bowl in George Street.


Frank loved to tour but especially loved the company of other musicians on the festival circuit.

He was a mainstay of the Shetland Folk Festival for many years and performed at festivals in Bute, Arran and Edinburgh.

From the far north of Scotland as far south as Torquay, to Dublin in the west and Holland in the east, Frank lived to perform.

Frank and Deirdre, who married earlier this year.

Over the years he also did gigs offshore.

“He was flown out to entertain the crew on the rigs. I’m not sure such things happen these days, but he loved it,” Deirdre said.

Whether it was a group of 60 in a small hotel, or 600 or more in a sporting stadium Frank was able to entertain and captivate.

Observational humour

Frank developed his style of ad lib humour early in his career and it continued to be a key part of his performance.

Frank Robb on guitar.

“He told me that it was a style he developed through having to hold the audience’s attention. He’d say: ‘Music is a very important part of my act. I write my own songs and I want people to listen to them but they can be noisy and inattentive.’ So he started adding humour to get their attention. And it stuck.”

The Crofters featuring Frank Robb with Eileen and Bill Christie.

In later years Frank was also a respected member of the after dinner speaker circuit.

Speaking or performing his own music and comedy at sporting and business events UK wide, he became sought after. He was even booked for the launch of the Men in Black DVD for Columbia Tristar Pictures.


In addition to recording with The Crofters, Frank penned and recorded three original albums: Silver City, Watching Time and Bought and Sold.

Cover art for The Crofters album.

He wrote and performed the original theme for a documentary entitled ‘In Search of Aberdeen’ and composed the music for BBC Radio series The State of Scotland.

Frank Robb in action on stage with Super Klute.

Music and songwriting were at the heart of everything Frank did. He was keen to promote music locally whether through Aberdeen Folk Club or his own band of musical friends that included Yvonne Morton, Alan Walker, Sandy Leggat and Spider McKenzie.

Creative and charitable

Also a talented painter, with a love for pen and ink work as well as watercolour, Frank was incredibly creative.

He loved to walk and he and Deirdre spent a lot of time together hiking in both Scotland and Spain.

Frank Robb.

A cause close to Frank’s heart was homelessness in and around his city so was known to perform charity concerts especially for Aberdeen Cyrenians.

Deirdre explained: “He felt they were an extraordinary charity doing vital work for the people who needed it most in Aberdeen.”

Frank Robb in his home, Aberdeen.

Frank passed away peacefully after dealing with illness over the last two years.

Described as being very positive through it all, he was supported by family and a strong circle of friends.

A celebration of his life took place on Friday, March 25. The gathering featured his music and that of other artists he admired.