In 1966, at the height of the folk music boom in Britain, David Frost’s satirical television show The Frost Report featured a young American folk singer whose thoughtful songs, strong voice, charm and good looks endeared her to audiences, turning her into a household name. Within a year, Julie Felix, who has died aged 81, was hosting her own television series, with an impressive list of special guests.
Having landed in England in 1964, Felix performed in folk clubs in London, including the famous Troubadour in Earls Court, and on the strength of a tape of her singing that was sent to Decca, she was signed to the record label. Living on the third floor of a Chelsea block of flats, she was on her way to her debut album’s launch when she met Frost, a fifth floor resident, in the lift. Frost tagged along and, impressed by her singing, persuaded the BBC to engage her for his forthcoming television series.
In the meantime, Felix appeared on the Eamonn Andrews Show to sing the single Someday Soon from her eponymous first album; this was so popular with the television audience that she was invited back the following week. Taking a brief time out as a humanitarian ambassador for Christian Aid in Lebanon, Jordan and East Africa, Felix returned to London to appear at a sell-out solo concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Two more albums followed quickly, leading the Times to call her “Britain’s first lady of folk”, thus ignoring her American origins. In 1967 Brian Epstein engaged Felix to perform with Georgie Fame: the Fame & Felix concerts were so successful that the weeklong run was extended to two weeks. Cat Stevens was the support.