MARCH - 2018

Newsletter No 469 27 March 2018

PAUL kicked off what turned out to be a quality night with everyone joining in WORRIED MAN BLUES before BANJO JOHN reminded us it was time for the EASTER PARADE and in another way PHIL gave a nod to THE LORD OF THE DANCE. Then it was back to normal with BEN who sang BOTH HANDS by Ani DiFranco before another ROB, who had been before, returned with MARTYR IN THE MAKING, his own song about the Manchester Arena Tragedy. Appropriately, CHRIS then stepped up with IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE DAYS and SIMON & BRIAN came up with WEAPON OF PRAYER before leaving BRIAN alone on a RAINY DAY IN GEORGIA. This nicely set up the return of old friend RICHARD KNOTT, now a star in his own right following the successful release of his latest album, to sing COME ON BABY LET’S GO TO TOWN. Inspired JONATHAN & CHARLIE sang THE HEART as PETER was on THE LAST TRAIN AND GONE (McTell) and JAMES asked, for HOW LONG and SIMON asked, SEE HOW I MISS YOU? Next BANJO JOHN was prompted to correct history with DELILAH and ROB sang his own excellent FAREWELL TO WELFARE before PHIL returned to theme with JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING (guitar instrumental). It was then a surprise when BEN sang POOR JACK, written by his very talented Mum, which CHRIS followed with LET ME DOWN EASY before RICHARD KNOTT sang the title track to his new CD, LONG STORY SHORT to take us to the interval.

In the suitably bumper Raffle Phil won the Box of Tea, Sandra won the Bottle of Wine, Simon won the Note Set and Paul won a Clock before PAUL & CHARLIE in a new partnership sang YOU’VE GOTTA MOVE by Mississippi Fred McDowell. No wonder JONATHAN & CHARLIE commented EVERYBODY HURTS (REM) before PETE (The King) sang DOROTHY and BRIAN took us to THE DARK END OF THE STREET where PETER was SOMEWHERE ALONG THE ROAD. Getting straight to the point JAMES then celebrated THE GLORY OF LOVE before, back in harness as Speed Demon, SIMON & JAMES sang the NIGHTINGALE by Nick Lowe. PHIL then told us the story of THE TAILOR AND THE BUTCHER’S WIFE before CHRIS went instrumental with BLIND BLAKE RAG. This set up a great ending led off by RICHARD KNOTT who could read us LIKE A BOOK and BEN warning of SMOKING TOO LONG before PETE (the King) who confessed I STOLE THE SONG and BRIAN claimed there is NOTHING I LOVE (John Hyatt). Then came the final walk about as PETER went FROM CLARE TO HERE (McTell) and SIMON & JAMES went BACK TO GREENVILLE before PAUL went all philosophical saying, if it wasn’t for the FENCES (Arthur Marshall). Despite PAUL & SIMON hosting HOMEWARD BOUND didn’t make it this time. Shame?!?


Newsletter No 468 20 March 2018

DON & HEATHER kicked off Kamran’s big party night with IWASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER swiftly followed by JOHN CONDY’S nod to St Patrick and a GALWAY GIRL before PAUL had us all singing JOCKY FULL OF BOURBON. Then BRIAN sang LATELY before MARK rocked us with the LITTLE RED ROOSTER and JO turned to Iris Dement for YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. Nevertheless PETER confessed I STILL MISS SOMEONE and PETE MINERS played his excellent guitar instrumental DOWN BY THE EXE which left JAN to sing about the FACTORY GIRL and, hardly before they had got their coats off, CHARLIE & JONATHAN asked us WHAT SO FUNNY ABOUT PEACE LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING? Then it was good to see DAVID O’KEEFE and hear his own excellent song TAKE ME INTO YOUR ARMS which for some reason put CARL with Jez Lowe and NEARER TO NETTLES and made MARIAN confess I LIVE NOT WHERE I LOVE. With a special request ED recalled GOING DOWN TO LONDON to see the Queen but SIMON was by THE BANKS OF PONCHARTRAIN before KAMRAN & KATHY delighted us with FADE INTO YOU and SUMMER WINE to take us to the break.

During the interval we had a big buffet and chips kindly provided by Kamran on his birthday and luckily he won the Easter Egg in the Raffle before Pete took the Bottle of Red Wine and Marian won the Box of Tea before CHARLIE & JONATHAN started the second half with TEXAS LOVE SONG. With all the talk of WWII and its craziness PETER summed it all up with THE MAGINOT WALTZ but fortunately MARK & JAN were DOWN IN THE EASY CHAIR as SIMON gave Kamran his birthday wish O DEATH! WON’T YOU SPARE ME OVER ‘TIL ANOTHER YEAR. What a good thought. BRIAN then came up with TERMS OF MY SURRENDER as an alternative to the word divorce but DAVID & PAUL were not put off with NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD. Still in good form MARIAN sang of the BLIND BEGGAR while tongue JOHN was in LAS VEGAS IN THE HILLS OF DONEGAL before he went back to BAKER STREET with CARL and PAUL prophesied that THIS OLD WORLD IS ALMOST DONE. Still in humorous mood ED told us ERNIE, the fastest librarian in the west, RIDES AGAIN before KAMRAN & KATHY came back THINKING OF THE PAST. This left DAVID to sing another great song of his own STEALING FIRE which left DON & HEATHER have us walking out singing ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD to end an absolutely top night. Here’s to the next time.


Newsletter No 467 13 March 2018

In memory of Ken Dodd and in the tradition of the club BANJO JOHN started us off with HAPPINESS, HAPPINESS as we launched into our pre-St Patrick’s celebration before DON, HEATHER & PAUL went traditional with the BLACK VELVET BAND and PAUL followed up with the story of BELFAST MILL. On theme PHIL then sang GREEN ANTHEM and PETER BRIDGE went with THE FERRY MAN by THE DUBLINERS before PETE sang his own FRIENDS. Then it was a delight to see and hear old friend MICHAEL BRACKEN who took us back in time with PEGGY O’NEILL & MY WILD IRISH ROSE and ALLEN delivered the interesting story of ERIN GO BRAGH (Ireland Forever). All this had KATH & STAN going off TEN THOUSAND MILES and POET DAVID telling us he was soon going back to Armagh where he will pass the two light houses in his poem THE LIGHT HEARTED PRINCESS before CARL sang ALICE and ED moved TO WELCOME PADDY HOME. Way over in the USA SIMON & JAMES had the FOLSOM PRISON BLUES and JAMES was under BUCKETS OF RAIN (Bob Dylan) and BANJO JOHN turned to Nat King Cole saying MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME. PHIL then came up with a nice version of FOTHERINGAY by Fairport Convention before MICHAEL BRACKEN sang here’s to the unifying of IRELAND’S 32 counties. Finally KATH & STAN sang about DAN MOODY and CARL sang about the dog SINATRA AND I as we reached the interval.

The Bumper Raffle saw Paul win the Chocolates, Sue win the CD, Barry win the Gladioli Bulbs, Joan win the Bailey’s Irish Cream, Stan win the Guinness, Pete win the Steam Train DVD and Allen win the Steam Train DVD before PAUL takes us all ALL THE WAY FROM DONEGAL with the great song from Arthur Marshall. On theme ED treats us to the BARREL OF BRICKS as PETE takes the LAST TRAIN AND RIDE and MARIAN celebrates women’s week with THE FEMALE DRUMMER. Seeking alternative solace JAMES gets the COCAINE BLUES and PETER BRIDGE goes of dancing the polka with some NEW YORK GIRLS as ALLEN turns to Donovan’s COLOURS whereas DON & HEATHER go back to the Emerald Isle and THE GALWAY SHAWL. SIMON then sang an IVORY JOE HUNTER song before PHIL delighted us with an guitar instrumental BOURREE by BACH and CARL wished a HEALTH TO THE COMPANY which left KATH & STAN with JOHN LOVER and JAMES with I WILL to take us over the line to end a super night brilliantly stewarded by Ed & Sue.


Newsletter No 466 6 March 2018
Another tip top evening smoothly guided by Kamran and PETE who started us off with YOUR SONG and soon it was High Noon with BANJO JOHN BROWN and DO NOT FORSAKE ME before ED continued the cowboy scenario with THE GAMBLER. This left CHRIS to surprise us with AUTUMN LEAVES in the first round of the toaster wars before DJ DAVE again amazed us with another DORIS SYDENHAM POEM and equally stirred WILF led us in UNITED WE STAND. Enough cried KAMRAN as he gave us his own version of 50 SHADES OF GREY as KATH & STAN greeted that WAYFARING STRANGER and PETE gave us the first part of his INTERVIEW WITH TESCO which for ALLEN brought back the GOLD WATCH BLUES. Then we had a trip round the globe as ANDY searched the North West Passage with LORD FRANKLIN and IAN went looking for somewhere WINDY AND WARM, with Chet Atkins, and CLARE told how BETSY BELL was searching for a man. No wonder PAUL thought of JOHN THE REVELATOR and DON & HEATHER opened a bottle of SPANISH BURGUNDY after which BANJO JOHN had us all singing with WHEN YOU’RE SMILING with a burst of HOLD THAT TIGER in the middle which left CHRIS to tell us what THE TRAWLERMAN wanted when he got back to the dock.


In the bumper Raffle the Rose Wine was won by Kath, the Gladioli bulbs went to Kamran, the Belgian chocolates went home with Pete The King, the Hand wash was Dave’s and the Decades of Steam DVD Box Set went home with Dolan which left PETE to SHOWER THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE in consolation. WILF, however, went further with TELL LAURA I LOVE HER and PETE completed his Interview with TESCO but we never found out if he got the job! All serious again ALLEN summed up a bit of contumely with WHAT’S IT TO YOU and ANDY addressed human conflict with GENESIS HALL (Thompson) before DAVE gave us another DORIS SYDENHAM POEM of real life. Then it was back to the music with a KAMRAN band up for LITTLE RED ROOSTER followed by ED who was LEARNING TO PLAY “ROMANZA” ONTHE GUITAR whereas IAN was on THE ROAD BACK HOME and STAN & KATH were WATERBOUND which is just as bad as snowed in. Very generously PAUL invited us to COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE but CLARE said I WANT TO LIE DOWN and DON & HEATHER were equally inactive singing about THE BEGGAR. Fortunately, WILF revived us with CLEMENTINE and CHRIS got busy with JOSEPH’S HANDS which led ALLEN to TRY FOR THE SUN. Coming to a climax ANDY sang FOOLISH YOU and KATH & STAN had us singing about BLACK WATERS and IAN exclaiming my BABY’S COMING HOME. Then to well and truly finish us off PETE sang a Joni Mitchell song followed by CLARE with an IRISH WHISTLE TUNE which set up THE “THREE” SPIRITS who sent us home with ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD dancing around in our heads!! Magic!!!


Newsletter No 465 27 February 2018

When the going gets tough the tough get going and 2 dozen hardy souls braved the weather to experience an evening of great songs, commented Carl Corbett, to celebrate St David’s Day. In the chair MARK & JANkicked off in great style with SUO-GâN followed by PETE who said GOODBYE TO THE OLD and DON & HEATHER bade FAREWELL TO THE RHONDDA of the mining era. In the absence of Banjo John BRIAN went back in time LOVE IS THE SWEETEST THING before CARL harked back to the COAL TOWN DAYS but BEN stayed up to date with JOANNE by Lady Gaga. ED, on the other hand, was with the LONE RANGER IN SALFORD and HELEN was over in the USA for Zoe Mulford’s ALL OF HIS SONGS WERE ROAD SONGS leaving PHIL to be the LEVIATHAN. No wonder PAUL asked DID YOU EVER SEE before SIMON & JAMES got strung out with CARMALITA but survived AMELIA EARHART’S LAST FLIGHT which left JAMES with the HOW LONG BLUES. Back on theme MARK told the story of the LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA and JAN sang MOLIANNWN leaving PAUL to out with SPENCER THE ROVER. Further out PETE was with the NORTH COUNTRY GIRL but in celebration of Jake Thackray’s birthday CARL sang ON AGAIN, ON AGAIN to bring us to half time.

In the interval Raffle Brain won the Red Wine, Vic won the Chocolates and James won the Gladioli before Jan gave us a delightful surprise with her wonderful Welsh Cakes for which the Recipe is at the end of this report. To open the second half DON & HEATHER returned the Welsh theme with JOHNNY MINER before ED came in from left field WITH HER HEAD TUCKED UNDERNEATH HER ARM and PHIL paid tribute to a SEAGULL from Llandudno. Even BEN turned to his own interesting LITTLE BLUE BOOK and BRIAN turned to the FACE OF GOD whereas HELEN was off LEAVING ON A JET PLANE. Next and briefly as a folk singer JAMES came up with WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE but, going less well, SIMON was DOWN TO SEEDS AND STEMS AGAIN and PETE was with Woody Guthrie for LORD I AIN’T GOT A HOME IN THE WORLD ANY MORE. On a serious note CARL celebrated a cousin’s life with THANKSGIVING and PHIL asked IF before MARK had us smiling at DAI THE MOTOR BIKE MAN and PAUL had a tenuous link to Wales with WILD BILL JONES. Going for a big finish ED gave us the story of EVIL SWEEVIL (Les Barker) and JAN sang MAE GEN I DIPYN DY BACH TWT before DON, HEATHER & PAUL took us back ACROSS THE BORDERLINE. Not so much the Beast from the East more like Hysteria from Siberia!! An excellent night!!


8 oz plain flour
8 oz Currants
4 oz Caster sugar
4 oz Margarine
1 Egg (medium)
½ teaspoon Salt
Approx 1 tablespoon Milk


Sift flour into a bowl
Add sugar and mix in the Margarine to make Bread Crumbs
Beat egg and stir into the mixture
Add the Milk to make a Dough


Roll out the Dough on floured board to 3 cm thick.
Cut up with Scone Cutter

Finally Dry fry in pan on Medium to high heat for about 2 minutes each side like pancakes


Newsletter No 464 20 February 2018

As people flooded through the door DON & HEATHER thought we were in for some RARE OULD TIMES but who knows what BANJO JOHN was doing BLOWING BUBBLES whereas it was clear when PAUL asked us to WALK RIGHT IN. In need of more excitement PETER took us off to SIN CITY (Parsons) while KATH & STAN bade fare thee well my honey with DINK’S SONG but PETE was simply HURT written by Trent Reznor and half- inched by Johnny Cash some people think. Next ED teased us with WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE ME AS A FRIEND and CARL intrigued us with THE BIG FEAR by Jez Lowe which left HILARY to tickle us with some of her ONE-LINERS. Going back to the old country LIN & JIM met the STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN and MARK followed instrumentally with two tunes SONNY’S MAZURKA and JOHN RYANS and JAN sang about COLCANNON IN THE LITTLE SKILLET POT. With poems from Doris Sydenham, DJ DAVE gave us BROKEN MARRIAGES and in memory of a good friend CLARE turned to Anthony John Clarke for MAYBE THE GOOD DIE YOUNG before PETES THE KING took us off to a BEACH BAR. In good form MARIAN remembered WHEN I WAS NOBBUT SWEET SIXTEEN and BANJO JOHN told us MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME before PETER came up with Ralph McTell’s TEQUILA SUNSET. Heading for the interval newcomer ERIC blew our minds with his great flute playing in SOUTH WIND and THE BUTTERFLY with Clare also giving it some whistle before PAUL had us eating CORNBREAD AND BUTTERBEANS and CARL celebrated Jake Thackray’s birthday with SISTER JOSEPHINE.

A big raffle saw Penny take the Champagne, Banjo John win the Box of Tea, Joyce win the Bouquet of Roses and Margaret win the Perfume before JIM aided by LIN insisted I’M AN ORDINARY MAN. On the other hand PETE was A MINER FOR A HEART OF GOLD and before his last bus ERIC brilliantly played his flute for THE LARK IN THE MORNING AIR and PARTING OF FRIENDS and ED explained the complications of romance with GEORGINA BAILEY. More complexities of the world came from JAN & MARK with CLOUDS (J. Mitchell) and from DJ DAVE with THE PRICE OF A PINT by Doris Sydenham before PETES THE KING on a CYCLE RIDE with his dog went for audience participation. Then the roller coaster ride started with MARIAN and the tragedy of the BLANTYRE EXPLOSION followed by the utopia of KATH & STAN with FIDDLER’S GREEN and the humour of HILARY and her ONE-LINERS before CARL had us back on track with his own YOUNG ANNIE IN BLUE. For JIM & LIN it was all about the HIGHWAYMAN by Willie Nelson while PAUL was SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD and PETE reminisced about returning to Ireland with his own ALEXANDER LIGHT. It was all too much for JAN & MARK who slumped down in Bob Dylan’s EASY CHAIR and ED confessed to having an ANTI-SOCIAL PROBLEM before PETES THE KING lifted us with some JOKEY OBSERVATIONS. After a superb evening KATH & STAN found themselves WATERBOUND before DON & HEATHER suggested we lay down the borrowed guitar and sing ALL THE TUNES IN THE WORLD and go home on a high!!

Newsletter No 463 13 February 2018

Treating us to another sublime evening of music and good humour KATH & STAN set off with SHAKE SUGAREE and with Valentine’s Day in mind ALLEN sang his own NEARLY SONNET 16 before PAUL told YELLOW IS THE COLOUR of his true love’s hair. In similar vein TIM sang SWEET SIR GALAHAD and DON & HEATHER sang Robbie Laing’s BLACK CLOTHES before CARL stepped up a gear with his own ALL AT SEA about a female sea captain and PETE followed with RABBIT HILLS, a song of the sea by Michael Chapman. Back with the romantic theme MARIAN was in fine form with the SQUIRE OF TAMWORTH but Simon & James, aka RACING DEMON, shot off with the DRUGSTORE TRUCK DRIVING MAN before HILARY rose with some of her deadly ONE-LINERS. Next BEN was pleading RICKY DON’T LOSE THAT NUMBER as JAMES returned with VALENTINES DAY and KATH & STAN celebrated the BRIGHT MORNING STAR before PAUL told us I’M WILD ABOUT MY LOVIN’. In the same vein ALLEN claimed MADAM, I’M A DARLING and TIM paid tribute to SUZANNE before DON, HEATHER & PAUL sang of love flourishing at THE ROSEVILLE FAIR but alas it was unrequited when CARL sang I SAW A STRANGER WITH YOUR HAIR.

In the interval a bumper raffle saw Ken win the Prosecco, Kath win the Belgian Chocolates, Chris win the Valentine’s Bunch of Flowers and Penny win the Pancake Kit and kindly promptly give it to Hilary who particularly was hoping to win it and, therefore, actually did. Hitting the road again PETE noticed a STORM RISING making it for RACING DEMON a BLUE, BLUE DAY but luckily for MARIAN there was A TAVERN IN YONDER TOWN before BEN came up with a warning for DAISY (Karin Polwart) to be careful with her affections. A few more ONE-LINERS from HILARY lightened the mood and JAMES was optimistic with YOU’VE GOTTA FRIEND as were KATH & STAN as they went off to WESTERDALE and ALLEN who had found THE WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER. A bit more solitarily TIM was UP ON THE ROOF before CARL told how Jake Thackray’s LODGER was in demand. PAUL then came across as BIG, BAD BILL but DON & HEATHER reckoned they had PASSED THE POINT OF RESCUE and PETE was DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL. Coming to a climax BEN sang SOLDIER, SOLDIER would you marry me before RACING DEMON aka Simon & James covered everything with TUPELO HONEY. Sweet!


Newsletter No 462 6 February 2018

An excellent birthday celebration was superbly orchestrated by HEATHER KENYON and KAMRAN who gave us a very lively start with BIG ROAD BLUES before PAUL was consigned to be down DARK AS THE DUNGEON and ALLEN was back teaching us about body image with his PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE. No wonder KATH & STAN were off to the BAY OF BISCAY–O and HILARY shot us a few ONE-LINERS and ANDY insisted that WALTZING’S FOR DREAMERS before IAN stepped out with his own TODMORDEN TROT. This inspired BRIAN to successfully attempt the v.diff SEPTEMBER SONG by Kurt Weill before DJ DAVE introduced us to BABY, the work of a new poet DORIS SYDENHAM before LYN & JIM went off with the FULSOM PRISON BLUES. Next SIMON introduced us to the conundrum of EMILIA EARHART’S LAST FLIGHT and ARTHUR floated another insoluble with his HOUSING PROBLEM before DON & HEATHER defined the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS. Also breaking new ground PAUL introduced us to the “Cumberland Gap” tuning for VINCENT BLACK LIGHTNING before IAN gave us an excellent interpretation of Dylan’s MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE and ALLEN swore JOSIE I WON’T FAIL YOU. Coming to the interval buffet HELEN was hoping for PASTURES OF PLENTY but all JIM & LYN got ON A MONDAY was Stripes.

In the Raffle the Box of Biscuits was won by Ian, the Hand Wash was won by Alan, the Red Wine was won by Allen and the Room fragrance was taken home by Ann before SIMON & KAMRAN teamed up with SYLVIA’S MOTHER and BRIAN was worried my BABY’S GOING TO KICK me out. Then late comer PETE KING sang his own, and Don’s favourite, FOOL’S PARADISE before DJ DAVE gave us NON-ENTITY, another by Doris Sydenham, and ARTHUR topically gave us THE IKEA SHOWROOM BLUES. Thank goodness for HILARY who cheered us with some more ONE-LINERS and ANDY who insisted A HEART NEEDS A HOME just before HELEN was OUTWARD BOUND. Closer to home DON & HEATHER sang his Dad’s song FLOWERS ON THE WATER but for KATH & STAN it was HEAVEN’S A BAR and for PETE KING it was an Eagles request for DESPERADO. Back to his roots ALLEN told the story of ERIN GO BRAGH while JIM was LEANING ON A LAMPPOST and ANDY was with ALISON which somehow turned SIMON into THE WEREWOLF. Ever resourceful IAN then played SOMETHING WHAT HE MADE UP which left HELEN smelling the MAGNOLIA WIND and BRIAN unhappily retorting DAMN THIS TOWN. Fortunately KATH & STAN escaped being WATER BOUND as ARTHUR was calling for just ONE MORE SONG which DON, HEATHER & PAUL were happy to provide in the form of their own DANCES FOR DOLLARS to end an absolutely splendid birthday night!! 

JANUARY - 2018

Newsletter No 462 30 January 2018

Celebrating the launch of their latest Album GRASSROOTS opened with Janice’s BROKEN swiftly followed by ALLEN with MACPHERSON’S RANT and PETE with a trip round KERRY but BRIAN was off to the DARK END OF THE STREET. Further afield ED was away to LAKE CHARLES as DON & HEATHER turned to The Threepenny Opera and MACK THE KNIFE as PAUL threw his hands in the air pleading HANG ME.  No wonder KAMRAN was ALABAMA BOUND as CHRIS celebrated the FAIR MAIDS OF FEBRUARY and LYNN & JIM set sail on THE IRISH ROVER. Luckily HILARY was on hand with some of her famous ONE–LINERS to lighten the proceedings as did PETESTHEKING with his song about the HUMBLE HITCHHIKER before JO demonstrated her burgeoning guitar technique with BLOWING IN THE WIND. With a nice diversion JAMES then gave us a POEM and Elvis’ LITTLE SISTER before SIMON joined him for BARTENDER’S BLUES. This nicely set up RICHARD for his own rather topical WHERE THERE IS NO SUN AND NO BLUE MOON and GRASSROOTS with GAMES OF LOVE before DON & HEATHER had us all rocking with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER.

Very kindly Grassroots provided a fine buffet of sandwiches and Chips and people were also tempted by their new album which also figured in the Big Raffle won by Pete and Richard won the wine, Brian won the Chocolate Orange, Jill won the Perfume, Lynn won the CD and Vic took the Biscuits. Showing no mercy ED swore he would FLOG ‘EM, FLAY ‘EM AND HANG ‘EM but PETE thought they might have THE MEDICAL STUDENT BLUES before RICHARD bade FAREWELL ANGELINA which made ALLEN think of another great song, FAREWELL TO SICILY. All of which made KAMRAN respond I’M GONNA RISE UP and LYNN & JIM to run off singing I’LL TELL MY MA and BRIAN telling us what he would do IF I HAD YOU before CHRIS with his usual aplomb sang THE SETTING by Ralph McTell which surely should have been called the Curse of a Nation. Fortunately we had HILARY to lift the mood with some ONE-LINERS before SIMON got close with PROPINQUITY and JAMES felt it was SO SAD as PAUL had us all ROLLING HOME and GRASSROOTS celebrated THE BATTLE STOCKTON to close an excellent evening of music and good craic.

Newsletter No 461 23 January 2018

Another super gathering this week was opened by BANJO JOHN who set the tone with MY BLUE HEAVEN 1924 swiftly followed by KATH & STAN with MOON SHADOW by Cat Stevens and PAUL who turned to some JUG BAND MUSIC. On a higher plane ED was up BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE SKY as ARTHUR delved in to the Bosses BONUSES before BEN took us off to CALIFORNIA. Then for the first time we had a special treat when poet TOM SNEE came in person with his own poem HE DID HIS BEST followed by DON & HEATHER who had us off to the ROSEVILLE FAIR which for BRIAN was THE VERY THING. Back with us JOHN REED sang his own NINE TENTHS OF THE LAW whereas PETE turned to Dylan for his SPANISH BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER which for JONATHAN & CHARLIE was a REDEMPTION SONG. This left BANJO JOHN to go off IN THE SWEET BY AND BY which left ARTHUR to go off WALKING THE BULLDOG with his Melodeon, to the tune of Waltzing Mathilda as the interval came along.

Opening the second half BRIAN asked HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL and PAUL pitied the POOR OLD HORSE so no wonder DON & HEATHER turned to the WHISKY IN THE JAR. With his great version BEN was next off to LONDON TOWN and with his own composition JOHN REED was on THE DROVER’S TRAIL before KATH & STAN wanted to get in BEFORE THEY CLOSE THE MINSTREL SHOW. Then a special treat for DJ DAVE who got up with his hero TOM SNEE to perform together as TOM & TIM. No wonder PETE commented HERE COMES THE SUN but ED had other things on his mind in OH MY! NOT THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY again as PAUL celebrated the BROWN EYED GIRL of Van Morrison. For BEN it was THE TEARS OF A CLOWN he had in mind as JOHN REED sang THE MELTING before KATH & STAN waved THE LAST GOODBYE as we headed for the door. This was not before DON & HEATHER  pointed out that sometimes we are KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER and complaining of thirst but ARTHUR did not fall into that trap with his song FENCES which points out the sometimes illusory nature of barriers in life. An absolutely top night! 

Newsletter No 460 16 January 2018

A brilliant night despite the weather with BRIAN starting with Through the morning Through the night by Gene Clark before PAUL nipped off to the Roseville Fair and welcomed back DAVE Boulton aftere 2 years with his own  Hard Work being an Aardvark. Another very welcome visitor DAVE Cartright then came up with The house of the Rising Sun as a first time performer and HELEN followed with a Joan Baez favourite Silver Dagger before CHRIS sang the Magenot Waltz. Then came HILARY introducing some humour with her ONE-LINERS and then PETE back from France with My Lady is a Wild Flying Dove just as BEN told us the Sun’s coming over the Hill. Again back after a while came DJ DAVE with a Tom Smee Xmas Poem and CARL sang his excellent Echoes and Tokens about the old railways followed by PETE KING who claimed I'll deal with Vigilantes my way before ED slipped in Childhood Memories by Iris Dement. Unusual for him JAMES was So Sad before SIMON joined to maske up RACING DEMON for Carmelita. Then back came DAVE BOULTON with a new song about the film being made in Stoke on Trent about zombies, Apocalypso, so no wonder BRIAN gave us the Terms of My Surrender and HELEN thought it might be Someday Soon. PAUL still had that Drifting Blues and PETE ROBERTS called out Hey Joe before CHRIS turned to Ralph McTell for Things You Wish Yourself before more One Liners from HILARY and Lawrence Kansas and a Californis Medley of Josh Ritter songs brought us to the interval.

In the raffle the Wine was won by Brian, the Whisky marmalade set won by Carl and the Yorkshire Tea Bags won by Simon before ED kicked off with The Garden of Love by Bennie Hill followed by DJ DAVE with a very poignant  Tom Smee poem Life can be so lonely. PETE King then gave us  his own Edge of Town Taker before CARL took to Singing the Ages Down by Lester Simpson before JAMES turned to Everyday that Classic Buddy Holly. RACING DEMON  then came up with Heartbreak and BRIAN turned to the Face of God by John Hyatt to which PAUL replied You Ain’t Going Nowhere. Suitable for the time of night PETE Roberts would sooner be rolling my Sweet Baby's Arms and CHRIS wistfully sang Old Bones by Jez Lowe as HELEN set out on a Quest which left CARL to send us out into the street with an a cappella version of Cook andThe Deckies.

Newsletter No 459 9 January 2018

It sure was a party night as they filled up every pew and PAUL enticed us with CORRINA, CORRINA to which BANJO JOHN replied WHO’S SORRY NOW. No matter as KATH & STAN were off tilting at WINDMILLS and ALLEN gave us his slant on married conflict with DON’T YOU KNOW which for JIM & LYNN was all GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY. Then KEVIN sang the beautiful BY THE SEA before JOHN CONDY set off through the NORTHWEST PASSAGE but BEN had just been SMOKIN’ TOO LONG. Then SIMON was joined by a surprise visitor, his cousin JIM, who really beefed up VIGILANTE MAN as PHIL went WANDERING with James Taylor before ARTHUR raged about WINDSOR COUNCIL’S preparations for the  “PRINCE’S WEDDING DAY.” Next STEVE appropriately came up with Lindisfarne’s WHEN THE WINTER COMES HOWLING IN and CARL sang Pete Morton’s FURTHER before PETER teamed up with JOHN for a trip to ABILENE. Heading for a climax ED told us the tale of RED HEADED ANN and DON, HEATHER & PAUL took us to Australia to meet the DIAMANTINA DROVER before birthday boy MARTIN recited A HARD DAY’S NIGHT Peter Sellers style which left BANJO JOHN to play us out with the DARKTOWN STRUTTERS BALL.

In the interval to celebrate Martin’s 65th Birthday he had provided us with our famous “” Butties and Chips Buffet” before we had a special bumper raffle in which Mike won the Wine, John C won the Chocolates, Sue won the Box of Yorkshire Tea and Lin won the Bunch of Roses. Starting the second half ROBIN summed up everyone’s feelings with IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN followed by KATH & STAN with a two great TUNES, TWIGLET and BODMIN RIDING all of which left ALLEN to return to his original theme of marital bliss with WILD EYED. Traditionally, JIM & LYNN sang of the SPANISH LADY as BEN took us off to the UNQUIET GRAVE which for KEVIN was THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. Again with Cousin JIM, SIMON asked IF I LOSE and JOHN C came back as Elvis and the WONDER OF YOU before PHIL went classical with a SONATINA by GIULIANI. In anticipation of his condition after the birth of his first grand daughter STEVE asked WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH A DRUNKEN SAILOR and PETER with JOHN took off on THE MIDNGHT SPECIAL which gave ED the BRONCHIAL DILATOR BLUES. With a big finish in view CARL told us he STARTED OUT WITH NOTHING and DON, HEATHER & PAUL confessed to having WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER before PAUL had us peaking with LEAVE HER, JOHNNY, LEAVE HER which fair raised the rafters. A top night!!

Newsletter No 458 2 January 2018

DON & HEATHER responded to the highly talented throng with BLARNEY ROSES and PAUL sang Zoe Mulford’s WELCOME IN ANOTHER YEAR before ED got the BOB DYLAN’S BLUES. With his own composition IAN sang IN THE NAME OF PETERLOO as PHIL leapt to his feet with Al Stewart’s AMSTERDAM while IAN gave us a lovely instrumental version of YOU MAKE ME FEEL YOUR LOVE. Looking into the future ANDY recalled the JANUARY MAN and LYNN & JIM got a big welcome with PATSY FAGAN before PETE invited us to SANTA’S SURPRISE PARTY. All was not well with SIMON who was DOWN TO SEEDS AND STEMS and we kept JAMES in place for THINGS WE SAID TODAY which set up HILARY for SOME of her ONE-LINERS and ARTHUR to sing ONE MORE SONG by special request. In a less cheery mood PAUL requested HANG ME as ED recalled WHEN I WERE A LAD and IAN sang another of his own IT COULD BE YOU, WHO ME? Moving toward the break PHIL went back to Cornwall for COUSIN JACK just as IAN was HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE and ANDY was stating the obvious with IT IS WHAT IT IS TILL IT AIN’T ANY MORE which left LYNN & JIM to have us all singing A MON LIKE THEE as we went for refills.

In the interval raffle Martin won the Wine, Kath won the Chocolates, Hilary won the Box of Tea and Pete won the Diary before SIMON set out on THE LOW HIGHWAY and certainly JAMES was WILLIN’ and ARTHUR sang his latest hit I’D REACH OUT TO YOU. In his usual humorous manner PETE sang about the good old SCREEN SAVER and HILARY capped that with some MORE of her ONE-LINERS as PAUL came up with ROW RILEY. With another instrumental IAN played THE NEARNESS OF YOU before ANDY celebrated THE LADY CAME FROM BALTIMORE and PHIL sang about LIFE IN DARK WATER. With his own song IAN sang GET BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM and ARTHUR chipped in with his own THE RICH GET RICHER which prompted JIM to reply with THE CONTENDER. With an old favourite ED declared he was GOIN’ UP TO LONDON to see the Queen but in a sadder mood SIMON sang about YELLOW ROSES to which JAMES exclaimed I bet she can’t SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE and PETE commented IT’S LIFE ONLY. Coming to the end of a great evening it was appropriate to raise the rafters so DON & HEATHER invited us all down to the RED ROSE CAFE. A top night!



Newsletter No 457 19 December 2017

As people arrived DON & HEATHER gave them a cheery welcome with the GALWAY GIRL as did BANJO JOHN who burst into WHITE CHRISTMAS which left old friends LYNN & JIM to take us off for the FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK. By this time we were getting well filled up as PAUL sang out GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN and GEOFF gave us some IRISH JIGS on his home made mandolin which led to CHRIS & WILF reprising WHITE CHRISTMAS. Then newcomer IAN delighted with his own WHO THE HELL WOULD VOTE FOR TRUMP as did newly named RACING DEMON, aka Simon & James, who debuted GREENVILLE before JAMES implored DON’T THINK TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT. More brazenly BEN told us I WANT IT ALL whereas CARL recalled how a potentially suicidal person claimed I WISH I’D NEVER BEEN BORN before JONATHAN & CHARLIE went fully traditional with WE THREE KINGS. In complete contrast ED was requested to relate the story of JACUZZI JOE THE GIGOLO WITH THE FUNKY CONCERTINA before RICHARD got us back on track with ANGELS FROM THE REALMS OF GLORY and BANJO JOHN went seasonal by WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND as did LYNN & JIM with FROSTIE THE SNOWMAN. Coming to the interval IAN returned with his own send up of amplification WE CAN’T HEAR YOU AL with RACING DEMON taking us over the line with SHE THINKS I STILL CARE.

In a Bumper Raffle the Diary was won by Ken and passed on to Kate, Chocolates won by Simon, Red Wine won by Paul, Mulled Wine won by Carl, Christmas Cake won by Geoff, Christmas Pudding won by Charlie and the Biscuits won by Hilary before KATE kicked off the second half with a humorous poem CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. Before pumpkin time JONATHAN & CHARLIE squeezed in with JOY TO THE WORLD and IAN gave us another of his great songs WHISKY IN THE JAR KIND OF GIRL. Then up came GEOFF with more IRISH TUNES, this time with a Bach twist, bringing to BEN’S eyes the TEARS OF A CLOWN as PAUL set off on his MORNINGTOWN RIDE. Another burst of Christmas came from CHRIS & WILF with MARY’S BOY CHILD but CARL was down in the pub AT THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR while RICHARD was with a GIRL WALKING TO THE EIFFEL TOWER. With a child’s ideal Christmas List ED sang us SCARLET RAYGUNS to which JAMES commented with THE STORY OF LOVE and Simon returned as RACING DEMON for I’VE NOT BEEN THE SAME and LYNN & JIM came back as THE HIGHWAYMAN which left DON & HEATHER to have us singing into the street with their FLOWERS ON THE WATER to take us to the Christmas break telling us we all meet again on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Newsletter No 456 12 December 2017

As expected there was a full house for our Christmas Party or was it to greet the return of ROB to kick us all into action with the shanty SOUTH AUSTRALIA after his sojourn in Spain. With another old favourite ROBIN was more festive with a WINTER’S TALE before PETE with SIMON performed ST PAUL’S SONG to which ALLEN replied appropriately, IT ALL SEEMED SUCH A LONG TIME AGO. That was enough for BEN who came back with the ironic CHRISTMAS CAROL by Tom Lehrer but TIM soon put us back on track with ALL AROUND MY HAT as did PAUL with a medley of carols IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY and GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN. With a modern take on things KATH & STAN pointed out the BRIGHT MORNING STARS while PETER pointed to the STREETS OF LONDON where Christmas can be tough but still MARK & JAN confessed that they BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS. Lightening the moment PETER told SOME of his JOKES as a prelude to SIMON singing COOKSFERRY QUEEN with JAMES’ accompaniment before JAMES was supported by PAUL on his way down ROUTE 66. Duos continued to rule as ED and ROBIN told us a SPACEMAN CAME CALLING and KATHIE & KAMRAN wished us MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY. Then as we approached the interval BRIAN declared his love in ONLY YOU before DON & HEATHER closed the first half by taking us along with the WAYFARING STRANGER.

The Christmas Buffet was accompanied by some splendid Chips and the bumper raffle raised £100.00 for the Rainbow Trust and saw the Celebrations Chocolates won by Elizabeth, the Box of Tea won by Ken, the Oil Burner won by KATH, the Merry Christmas Banner won by Martin, the Bottle of Red Wine won by James and the Christmas Pudding won by Ben. No wonder we needed PETE to pick us up by KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S DOOR as ROB set off for LIVERPOOL TOWN where HILARY gave us few good ONE- LINERS to get us laughing. In a more combative frame of mind ALLEN asked us WHAT’S IT TO YOU before ROBIN returned to theme with THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK and KATHIE & KAMRAN asked LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS? Then a bit more folk with BEN with LONDON TOWN before PETER came up with a few more JOKES which left PAUL to say sometimes it can be a BLUE CHRISTMAS and TIM reckoned that sometimes it can be a WHITE CHRISTMAS. Any way up STAN & KATH were determined to KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF LIFE which was difficult for ED’S GERMAN SOLDIER. Then suddenly PETER told us what came OUT OF THE SNOW but for JAN & MARK it was all about THE IVY AND THE HOLLY whereas SIMON with JAMES wanted some TUPELO HONEY. Back on his own again JAMES just wanted some GOLDEN SLUMBERS and BRIAN wanted to get ACROSS THE BORDERLINE leaving RICHARD GRAY to sing his IRISH LAMENT. After such a wonderful evening Don, Heather, Robin & Paul re grouped as FREE SPIRITS to build a suitable climax by having us all singing into the street to first WAGON WHEEL and then insisting we STEAL AWAY quietly until the next time. Magic!!

Newsletter No 455 5 December 2017

As the people started pouring in DON & HEATHER certainly did not have ALL THE ANSWERS as BANJO JOHN turned on his heel and went MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA (1865) and PETE sang philosophically IT ’LL SHINE WHEN IT SHINES. With an aspect of working life ALLEN came out with the GOLD WATCH BLUES but for newcomer TIM it was definitely with GOD ON HIS SIDE while KATH & STAN were 900 MILES from home. Then with a change of gear SIMON with JAMES was down on THE LOW HIGHWAY before JAMES went solo in the EARLY MORNING RAIN followed by BRIAN telling us how great it wasn’t DOWN AROUND MY PLACE. Fortunately HILARY was in craicing good form with some more of her ONE-LINERS as was PAUL as he led us all on to THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL but for BEN it was EVERYWHERE THE SAME. With an even older song than Banjo John ED went back to 1859 to THE NIGHT THE ROYAL CHARTER WENT DOWN before our old friend ZOE MULFORD bestrode the VINCENT BLACK LIGHTENING 1952 gifted to Red Molly as BANJO JOHN took the easier option of WALKING MY BABY BACK HOME.

In the big raffle Ben won the bottle of Red Wine, Zoe won the designer Scarf, Ken won the Chocolates and Paul won the Chain for hanging his spectacles on. For PETE starting the second half it would soon be THE LAST TRAIN AND GONE as PAUL at last unveiled a true Christmas song with MARY’S BOY CHILD with BRIAN getting back on track with I’LL MAKE LOVE TO YOU ANY TIME. With everyone flying about everywhere KATH & STAN were off to OWENSBORO but TIM craved the SOUND OF SILENCE before ZOE sang her latest and greatest song THE PRESIDENT SANG AMAZING GRACE which has been picked up and recorded by Joan Baez. For SIMON with JAMES, however, it was still a BLUE, BLUE DAY which JAMES confessed left him PARALYSED so we were thankful for more of HILARY’S hilarious ONE-LINERS. Then it was the oldest song of the night when ALLEN gave us THE DIGGERS SONG from 1645 so no wonder ED exclaimed I MISS MY MIND THE MOST and BEN turned to thinking about CRAZY MAN MICHAEL. Even better ZOE returned with the extremely funny 12 DAYS AFTER CHRISTMAS by Fred Silver PETE had us all singing I SHALL BE RELEASED and KATH & STAN claiming NO TELLING WHAT A LOVE SONG CAN DO before DON & HEATHER enlisted PAUL for their own DANCES FOR DOLLARS, a tribute to an old friend that had us singing our way home.


Newsletter No 454 28 November 2017

Getting off to a good start with a nod to St Andrew of Scotland DON & HEATHER kicked off with the SMUGGLER’S SONG from north of the border followed by MARK with his story of the Glasgow cat SAM THE SKULL and ALLEN raising the tone with Hamish Henderson’s 51st Highland Division’s FAREWELL TO SICILY. Then our resident Scot ROBIN got his Band Free Spirits together for ROSE OF ALLENDALE before we went with PETE and WHO’S PASSING DREAMS AROUND by Tom Paxton only for ED to return with the story of the HAGGIS HUNTER OF DUNOON. To cap it all BEN then came up with Karine Polwart’s song of death and depression THE SUN’S COMING OVER THE HILL and PAUL & ROBIN left claiming to be a PIPER TO THE END while PETER BRIDGE was satisfied with THE GIRL FROM THE HIRING FAIR by Ralph McTell. Then it was thank goodness for HILARY and more of her hilarious ONE-LINERS before KATH & STAN cast a MOON SHADOW over us and PETER KING sang one of his own songs MY OWN SWEET WAY. Late comer RICHARD GRAY was in sombre mood with ALL THE FRIENDS I EVER HAD ARE GONE and DON & HEATHER were even more down to earth with DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL as was ALLEN with his song Sassenach strife ERIN GO BRAGH. Coming to the interval PETER BRIDGE told of more strife between the British and American folkies that led to THE ZIMMERMAN BLUES before KATH & STAN took us all down to the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH.

In the bumper raffle Ben won the wine, Allen won the Roses Chocolates, Rose won the real Roses flowers, Jackie won the designer Scarf and Kate won the Hedgehog Cuddly Toys before ED & RICHARD attempted to beat the Club Record for the longest song, 9 minutes, but nobody could concentrate that long and we lost count as they sang Dylan’s DESOLATION ROAD. Fortunately PAUL came up with a singalong in WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL and PETE took us ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER before PETER KING sang WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. On the other hand BEN had been SMOKING TOO LONG and ROBIN was off to DENVER and RICHARD found he had a FORGETFUL HEART. As we began making for the door ALLEN had us sing I’M GONNA FOLLOW THE SUN (Donovan) and PETER BRIDGE & PAUL confessed that NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT and KATH & STAN were off with that BANJO PICKING GIRL leaving ROBIN and FREE SPIRITS to TAK’ A DRAM.

Newsletter No 453 21 November 2017

GRASSROOTS kicked off in great style with their own latest NOT ‘CAUSE I WANTED TO before DON, HEATHER & PAUL got a big band up with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER and newcomer MARK was plunged straight in with his own Halloween song JACK O’LANTERN. In their dreams SIMON & BEN told what they would do IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS which nearly made us laugh as much as with HILARY and her hilarious ONE-LINERS, no pun intended. For some reason BRIAN next wanted to DAMN THIS TOWN before PETE KING, now back in Manchester again, told us about his so far one and only ROYALTY CHEQUE. For PAUL everything was DARK AS A DUNGEON but for JAMES he told us I’M INTO SOMETHING GOOD and DENISE was on top in the battle of the sexes with A STITCH IN TIME. As you would expect CARL then came up with a great song, ALICE, and PETER swore TONIGHT I’LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU before ED took us back in time with THEY DON’T KNOW THEY’RE BORN. No wonder BEN was ALMOST BLUE and GRASSROOTS were BROKEN but MARK knew for a fact he was a FOLK SINGER. Heading for the interval BRIAN came up against the FACE OF GOD as DON, HEATHER & PAUL warned of the HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN and SIMON was caught like a RABBIT IN THE HEADLIGHTS.

In a bumper raffle Mick won the Bottle of Red Wine, Denise won the Chocolates, Ben took the Christmas Pudding, Sue won a DVD, Jackie won a Scarf and Brian and Mark won CDs before CLARE told us there’s NOT MUCH MUCK IN OUR HOUSE. Reminded by Pete’s reference to the Postie, CARL sang his own tribute to the post woman YOUNG ANNIE IN BLUE before DENISE told the assembled crowd NEVER WED AN OLD MAN and SIMON & JAMES shot off as RACING DEMONS. More calmly PAUL was seeking the CANDYMAN and JAMES introducing the UNKNOWN LEGEND before HILARY unveiled a few more ONE-LINERS and, any way up, PETER reckoned IT WILL SHINE WHEN IT SHINES. With another humorous take on folk clubs, PETE KING lamented the lack of variety with ANOTHER BLOKE WITH A GUITAR just as CLARE took out her flute for THE SWEETNESS OF MARY and GRASSROOTS declared he was HARMLESS. Another take on society was apparent in CARL’s song by Jake Thackray, BRIGADIER, as it was in MARK’s own song, CHAIRS AND TABLES, but too late as BRIAN was GONE, GONE, GONE. Starting a rousing finish DON, HEATHER & PAUL took us to Australia and the DIAMANTINA DROVER, before PAUL got the GOOD MORNING BLUES and DENISE went off with the DARK EYED SAILOR to which JAMES commented, I hope they AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’.........Magic!

Newsletter No 452 14 November 2017

With new hosts Heather & Simon in the chair DON & HEATHER started the evening by declaring WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL before PETE sang one of Tom Paxton’s best JIM and KATH & STAN went multi-instrumentally WESTERLY. This left HILARY to provide us with some humour in a few ONE-LINERS and BRIAN to give us some love with LET’S FIND EACH OTHER TONIGHT as IAN went instrumental for DREAM A LITTLE DREAM before poet DT DAVE gave the male and female perspective on marriage in ROSY & ROLIE by his friend Tom Snee. With the sad side of marriage breakdown GRASSROOTS explained WHEN YOU CRY, a joint composition, as PAUL recommended you should KEEP YOUR LAMPS TRIMMED AND BURNING as ANDY did with SETH DAVY. Returning to last week’s theme JONATHAN & CHARLIE were SHIPBUILDING and SIMON was still trying to get out of NORWICH JAIL. Fortunately, PETE cheered us all with his own BALBRIGAN FAIR as did KATH & STAN with SHAKE SUGAREE before BRIAN told us you can have ALL OF ME. On the other hand PAUL was off down the MOMOBILE LINE but JONATHAN & CHARLIE found the BLOOD’S TOO RICH before DT DAVE summed up the joys of THE PROSPECT pub in Runcorn (Tom Snee) and DON & HEATHER told us what they needed at the DIMMING OF THE DAY.

In the big raffle Heather K won the wine: Jill won the Chocolates: Simon won the Beer: Ian won the Ladies Perfume and Rosalie won the Festive Tray before GRASSROOTS started us off with another excellent joint composition BROKEN. With a solo composition RICHARD reviewed the British history of war summed up in THE LAST GREAT WAR whereas ANDY was LOOKING FOR THE MOON (Tom Paxton) so a few more ONE-LINERS from HILARY were a relief as was IAN’S instrumental arrangement of Sting’s FIELDS OF GOLD. Back to basics SIMON sang of the VIGILANTE MAN and KATH & STAN played us two tunes the RAKES OF MARLOW and the DORSET FOUR HAND REEL. However, PAUL still had the DRIFTING BLUES and DT DAVE also had the LONESOME LADY BLUES (T Snee) before PETE rose with his own BEAT THE DRUM to shake us up a bit. Building towards the end of a great night RICHARD mixed the traditional with a bit of Dylan and himself in FROGGIE WENT A COURTING and HILARY came up with more hilarious ONE-LINERS leaving IAN to wow us again with his instrumental AUTUMN LEAVES and ANDY to lead the ALABAMA RAID before DON & HEATHER took us all off to the RED ROSE CAFE to end another top night!

Newsletter No 451 7 November 2017

On a night with Remembrance Sunday in mind ROBIN Free Spirits kicked off the action with VACANT CHAIR followed by BANJO JOHN who introduced us to LILI MARLENE before PETE took us back to the DAYS OF 49. An interesting conundrum from BRIAN with NOBODY KNEW HIS NAME came next while MARK & JAN went back to the Peninsular war days for OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY with JOHN giving us a bit of light relief with his UMPAHPAH SONG. Serious in another way MARION told of THE BLANTYRE EXPLOSION, CARL sang his own excellent song ECHOES AND TOKENS and CLARE explained it was BECAUSE HE WAS A BONNY LAD. For SIMON it had all come DOWN TO THE SEEDS AND STEMS as DON & HEATHER went back to the theme with CALLING DOON THE LINE before DENISE diverted to THE RECRUITED COLLIER. Back on track ALLEN told us of his family’s history in the World Wars and summed it up with his own ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE as indeed did CHARLIE & JONATHAN with SHIPBUILDING and PAUL with a sing along medley starting with it’s a LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY. This left BANJO JOHN to take us up to the interval with the WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER followed by JAN and MOTHER, DAUGHTERS, WIVES.

After a bumper raffle in which Brian won the wine, Heather won the Xmas Pud, Carl won the Chocolates and promptly gave them to Sue for her birthday and Sue won the Biscuits HILARY had ‘em rolling in the aisles with her JOKES. CARL then was the serious one with WILLIE McBRIDE followed by PETE with HARVEST MOON and MARION appropriately with the JOY OF LIVING.  Another welcome visitor was RICHARD who explained how JOHN LOPEZ worked his magic and it inspired CLARE to sing and play us a GAELIC TUNE before JOHN introduced another war with the BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS which was ALL THE WAY UNDER for BRIAN. Also going back in time MARK & JAN sang of how THE BLUE COCKADE recruited which made SIMON think of THE DARK END OF THE STREET and ALLEN come up with THE DIGGER’S SONG by Leon Rosselson. This certainly made RICHARD want to get to THE HEART OF THE MATTER of his own relationships and also brought CARL to his feet with THESE COAL TOWN DAYS and PAUL to bring us all together for FENCES BY Arthur Marshall. This left us at the end of a very emotional evening to which DON & HEATHER provided the perfect thought of RECONCILIATION by Ron Kavana. Couldn’t have been better.

OCTOBER - 2017

Newsletter No 451 31 October 2017

They came from near, they came from far, they filled up every pew and had to send for extra chairs as Sue Bentham celebrated her birthday and Sale Folk Club was 9 Years Old and it was Halloween so starting off with a bang DON, HEATHER & PAUL got everyone singing with GALWAY GIRL. With the way paved BANJO JOHN and his BANJO PLAYING SKELETON took advantage and had us all finding our thrill on BLUEBERRY HILL before KATH & STAN sang BEAUTIFUL especially for Sue on her birthday. Going back to the first song he ever wrote ALLEN showed us THE WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER in memory of escaping the grime and air pollution we had when he came to the city but undaunted BRIAN went back to plan with SEXY SUE, his parody of Buddy Holly’s Peggy Sue. Also back to plan PAUL came up with LONG BLACK VEIL with reference to Halloween followed by PHIL who was at THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING before ED reminded Sue that her birthday was not the END OF THE LINE. This set off KAMRAN wondering what DIDDY WAH DIDDY means and we were all set wondering what was going on in the RABBIT HILLS as sung by PETE but no such doubt with HELEN who USED TO BE A SAILOR. Then to our surprise a world premier came into view with BEN’S own composition based on a friend’s poem THE SONG OF STRANDS which prompted CHRISTINE & WILF to go with Neil Diamond’s self analysis I AM, I SAID and ROBIN to go a cappella for the mysterious SHE WALKED THROUGH THE FAIR. Remembering children who were sent from the cities to the country in WWII CHRIS sang Ralph Mctell’s BARGES before it was Beatles time with IAN’S instrumental HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE followed by SIMON with JAMES who promised I WILL. Coming up to the break ANDY sang the lovely MY LADY’S A HIGH FLYING DOVE by Tom Paxton, PETER sang BLACK GIRL before JAMES sang CRAZY, a Sue favourite.

After the excellent interval Birthday Buffet kindly provided by Sue & Ed the bumper raffle saw Roselyn win the Bottle of Wine, Cath and Esther won Halloween Special Bottles of Beer, Joyce won the Mints and Allen won the Rock ‘n Roll performing Skeleton before KATH & STAN got us under way with TWO TUNES, Jack Robinson and Old Molly Oxford. Then in keeping PAUL became THE PHANTOM FOLK SINGER to which BRIAN retorted AIN’T THAT A SHAME and IAN played a great interpretation of I DON’T KNOW WHY. Goodness knows why this had KAMRAN shouting for ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER and BEN shooting off to LONDON TOWN but regardless SUE & LYN soon gave us a good CLOGGING to the ALL THE GOOD TIMES BAND. With the second half well underway PETE declared there is a STORM RISING and PETER was off to the ST JAMES’ INFIRMARY but PHIL was still swinging round the HAUNTED CAROUSEL while JESSIE sung by HELEN was still fantasising about the west coast of the USA. More to the point love was in the air as CHRISTINE & WILF sang THE ROSE and ROBIN declared YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL (Roger Whittaker) and ANDY sang IF I WERE A CARPENTER. Returning to his roots ALLEN explored THE WORKER’S SONG to which CHRIS replied I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT before SIMON with JAMES sang that great song SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS. Coming to a big finish JAMES started the climax with THAT’LL BE THE DAY followed by a Buddy Holly Medley which left DON & HEATHER to dedicate the last song, WHEN SHE WEARS BLACK CLOTHES, to Sue and Heather Kenyon to end a terrific night.  

Newsletter No 450 24 October 2017

The new pairing of KAMRAN and SIMON were greeted by a steady stream of old friends and they first responded with RICHLAND WOMEN BLUES by KAMRAN himself who invited KATH & STAN to bail us out with WATERBOUND before BRIAN took advantage of the moment with LOVE IS THE SWEETEST THING followed by JO who sang the Union song JOE HILL. Next PETER set off on the IRISH ROVER and DON AND HEATHER were away with the WAYFARING STRANGER before JAMES turned to the Beatles for I'LL GET YOU IN THE END and PAUL set forth on a Bob Dylan odyssey with THINGS HAVE CHANGED. This prompted BEN to give us his own version of THE UNQUIET GRAVE and ROBIN to sing of unrequited love of JOCK O'HAZELDEAN which to ED was a case of HANGING ON HERE TO THE END before SIMON with James sang the NIGHTINGALE to end the first round. JO then seized the opportunity for HALLELUJAH which for BRIAN was a LONG TIME COMING as PETER went off to YARMOUTH TOWN. For PAUL no doubt THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' as he stayed on his feet to join FREE SPIRITS with NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL as the interval was upon us.

In the raffle A Box of Teabags was won by Ken, A bottle of Red Wine went to Kath and the Box of Shortbreads was won by Kate before SIMON started the second half by confessing I CAN'T FIND MY WAY HOME. Then down south STAN & KATH insisted SWEET THAMES FLOW SOFTLY while ROBIN celebrated the SNOWS OF NEW YORK and BEN surprised us with his own I DIDN'T LIKE YOU VERY MUCH WHEN I MET YOU AND NOW I LIKE YOU LESS. Wow! To steady the ship ED went back in time for AL BOWLEY'S BLUES who certainly wasn’t the NOWHERE MAN sung by JAMES as SIMON spooned out the TUPELO HONEY. Once again PETER addressed a serious issue with DEPORTEES as did KAMRAN with the DEAD SHRIMP BLUES and KATH & STAN with the NIGHT VISITING SONG. This brought KATE to her feet with a Brian Bilston poem AMERICA IS A GUN so no wonder PAUL didn’t want to work on MAGGIE'S FARM and ED revealed his anti-war song about the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. Coming to climax BRIAN declared there’s NOTHIN' I LOVE as BEN turned to BOOGALOO JONES and DON & HEATHER had us all KILLING THE BLUES before we hit the street after a top night.

Newsletter No 449 17 October 2017

Optimistically, GRASSROOTS took a stroll through FIELDS OF GOLD before DON & HEATHER took to KILLING THE BLUES and PAUL provided the reason why with STORMY MONDAY which was probably the cause of the high quality if modest turnout. This prompted DJ DAVE to go back to the beginning of the human race with IT BEGAN IN THE BACK OF A CAVE by his friend Tom Snee and times were also tough with stormy and wild seas in ANN’S version of VAIR ME ORO VAN O. The dangers of flames were obvious in SIMON’s version of MOTH and also ever present to THE TRAWLERMAN sung by CHRIS as they are from THE THORN UPON THE ROSE sung by GRASSROOTS. Slipping into two at a time mode GRASSROOTS were all of a sudden HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE but DON & HEATHER decided they were PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE before Ann prompted them with a request for their song FLOWERS ON THE WATER. At the double PAUL then took to the road with namesake for ROVE RILEY ROVE before shooting off with RAILROAD BILL which nicely set up CHRIS to tell about the HANDS OF JOSEPH before hinting that if you don’t play your cards right you won’t make OLD BONES. ANN further emphasised how tricky life is with the changes that have come about IN THE LAND THAT MADE ME, ME. Certainly SIMON agreed there was no such thing as EASY MONEY and in JOHN DOE No 24 it was clear that some people get a very raw deal. DJ DAVE supported that view by telling us Tom Snee encountered when I CAME INTO THE WORLD IN 1949 and it took a few funny one-liners to lighten us all up again before GRASSROOTS took us to a delayed interval courtesy of Cole Porter with I GET A KICK OUT OF YOU and Ewan McColl who told us SCHOOLDAYS OVER.

A bumper raffle saw Dave won a bottle of white wine, Ann won the Chocolates, Rosalyn won the Danny Collins DVD and immediately gave it to Janice who hadn't seen it and then the Christmas Pudding was won by Janice who immediately gave it to Rosalyn. Then after a few early departures because of the weather and the road works on the motorway DON & HEATHER started the second half with RARE OULD TIMES followed by THE SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS and ANN treated us to THE TROUT before DAVE had us smiling at the artificiality of THE FASHIONISTA again by Tom Snee with a few more one-liners thrown in. SIMON then sang of DILLARD CHANDLER who was himself an Appalachian singer/songwriter before returning to base with ADIEU TO OLD ENGLAND. Summing up the weather perfectly CHRIS turned to Ralph McTell’s SUMMER LIGHTNING and the watery tale of THE MERMAID AND THE SEAGULL before PAUL was invited to close the proceedings by declaring I AIN’T GONNA BE TREATED THIS WAY and TROUBLE IN MIND which was a bit tongue in cheek at the end of a very pleasant evening.   

Newsletter No 448 10 October 2017

With the crowd gathering FREE SPIRITS were invited by ED & SUE to set the ball rolling by riding on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS as PHIL set sail on the SLOOP JOHN B but only PETER had sung AFTER RAIN by R. McTell. For SIMON & JAMES, however, PROPINQUITY was the in thing as JO proclaimed, YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG, and DJ DAVE complained, I WOKE UP IN AN EMPTY BED courtesy of Tom Snee. KATH & STAN then turned to Bob Dylan for DINK’S SONG of a deserted woman to which PAUL replied TELL OLD BILL before ED sang Garth Brookes’ COWBOY SONG. With another Dylan JAMES claimed he was FOREVER YOUNG but ALLEN sang his own tribute to matrimony WILD EYED to which HELEN replied IT SUITS ME WELL. Then away for some fresh air ROBIN was along some COUNTRY ROADS before BRIAN filled the romantic spot with AS TIME GOES BY leaving CHARLIE & JONATHAN to go out INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN. Appropriately JO then sang AFTER THE GOLDRUSH before PHIL played a lovely SONATINA by GIULIANI. No wonder KATH & STAN likened it to FIDDLER’S GREEN but life was tougher with PETER sailing AROUND THE WILD CAPE HORN (R. McTell).

The big raffle saw Kate win the Bottle of Wine, James won the Mamma Mia DVD, Ken won the Box of Tea, Simon won the Body Lotion and Kate won the old One Pound Note before PETER KING unveiled his new song for his son, WORDS OF WISDOM. Declaring it to be a real folk song ED then sang about NANCY which gave ROBIN that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING which for PAUL was GOOD AS YOU’VE BEEN TO ME. Going a bit political DJ DAVE spoke of UKIP by Tom Snee which gave JAMES the BLUES with Paul Riley and made SIMON & JAMES to turn to the COOKSFERRY QUEEN but enough was enough for DON & HEATHER who were off to the ROSEVILLE FAIR. On the other hand HELEN complained IF TODAY WERE NOT AN ENDLESS HIGHWAY but ALLEN came back with his wife’s eulogy NEARLY SONNET 18 based on William Shakespeare epic only for BRIAN to return with WHY AM I TREATED SO BAD about the racial tension in the USA. Going toward a big finish PETER KING came back with FIRE AND RAIN, KATH & STAN sang about JOHN LOVER, and SIMON sang about JOHN HARDY just as JAMES was wakening to a TEQUILA SUNRISE. This left FREE SPIRITS to invoke Springsteen with a trip along THE ERIE CANAL as we sailed into the night.

Newsletter No 447 3 October 2017

Glad to be back DON & HEATHER were our hosts and in memory of their time in the Rockies they started off by going ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE while further south BANJO JOHN was chasing after SWEET GEORGIA BROWN as DJ DAVE was WAITING FOR LEN courtesy of Tom Snee. HELEN was next sniffing that MAGNOLIA WIND as PAUL promised all sorts on THE NEXT GO ROUND before Poet Dave gave us some snippets from Northern Ireland including THE LIGHT HEARTED MAIDENS and ALLEN sang about some rough and tumble involving ERIN GO BRAGH. Then Mr Romance himself, BRIAN, asked DON’T YOU MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE but for MARION the maiden was deserted JUST AS THE TIDE WAS FLOWING as SIMON dug deep for DILLARD CHANDLER by Dick Connette. Ending the first round CHARLIE & JONATHAN were on the TOES before DON, HEATHER & PAUL began again by riding on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS and BANJO JOHN took the road to CHARLESTON. Still in the American Songbook BRIAN commented YOU MAY NOT BE AN ANGEL before DJ DAVE referred to A WILD CHILD by Tom Snee but undaunted HELEN continued looking for a SILVER LINING and CHARLIE & JONATHAN celebrated the life of the WICHITA LINEMAN.

The usual bumper raffle saw Paul win a Bottle of Wine, Allen win the DVD of Brassed Off, Jill win the Box of Tea, Helen win the Handwash and DVDs go home with Jonathan, Vic and Brian before PAUL took us all off on the THE OLD 97. With another of his own compositions ALLEN then asked WHAT’S IT TO YOU as another unfaithful bloke ran off from MARION in NO MY LOVE NOT I while for SIMON it  was all like some BIG DARK SEA and not so bright for JONATHAN & CHARLIE who were pleading HANG ME O HANG ME. Undaunted BRIAN stayed in the same vein with NEVERTHELESS as did DJ DAVE with SLATER STREET by Tom Snee and so did HELEN who asked DANCE A LITTLE CLOSER. With a little band up of Ann & Helen PAUL told us STEWBALL was a racehorse before ALLEN explained how PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE affected body image and SIMON what temptation can do in THE DEMON LOVER. Then MARION gave us the complex riddle of the HOLLAND HANDKERCHIEF before DON, HEATHER & PAUL took us to Australia with the DIAMANTINA DROVER and ALLEN remembered his grandfather on the ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE while SIMON took us back in time for PAYDAY by Mississippi John Hurt which left PAUL, HELEN & SIMON to lead in singing about that DIRTY OLD TOWN as we headed into the night after a very pleasant evening.


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