MARCH - 2017

Newsletter No 421 28 March 2017

As the place filled up KATH & STAN claimed it was too soon to be out of their bed in MONDAY MORNING and also obtusely PAUL welcomed the weather with HEY RAIN but BRIAN’S TERMS OF MY SURRENDER were something else “’cause sometimes love can be so wrong like a fat man in a thong!” Then there was a huge welcome for the return of SUE & GEOFF with ELI THE BARROW BOY followed by SIMON who paradoxically sang THE VERY THING THAT MAKES YOU RICH MAKES ME POOR before HILARY serenaded us with PARLEZ VOUS SA BOIRE in French about a “No win” situation marriage. No wonder KAMRAN was SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD but for JO with guitar THE CARNIVAL IS OVER and sadly for JAMES it was all BUCKETS OF RAIN. Even worse ED told us IT’S A HARD LIFE FOR A HYPOCHONDRIAC as PHIL turned to the GREEN ANTHEM. Then commenting on the threat in Australia to the profession DON & HEATHER sang of the DIAMANTINA DROVER and in tribute to women sailors CARL sang his own ALL AT SEA before for GEOFF it was TWILIGHT TIME. Arriving just in time DOM joined PHIL for the SKYE BOAT SONG as HILARY unveiled JAZZ STUDY No 3 and JO complained of HARD TIMES before KATH & STAN, with DINK’S SONG, took us to the interval.

In the Raffle Ros won the Wine; Brian won the Chocolates: Joyce won the Plant; Jackie won the Torch; Linda won the Purse; Geoff won the Book and Kath won the Mozart CD before BRIAN started the second half with ALL OF ME. Next SUE & GEOFF took us on the WALL OF DEATH as PHIL took off with the BROTHERS IN ARMS before SIMON teamed up with JAMES to tell us SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS. Turning to Neil Young ROBIN sang FOUR STRONG WINDS but KAMRAN struggled to remember the REMEMBER SONG as PHIL neatly sidestepped Dom to sing his own PIGGYBACK BLUES before CARL had us all chuckling with THE BLACKSMITH AND THE TOFFEE MAKER. Still PAUL was asking for A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS and DOM told us I WANNA SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT as ED was saying he was definitely not ALL USED UP. Then JAMES sang his promised folk song, WILD MOUNTAINSIDE, but DON & HEATHER were DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL and KATH & STAN were playing two tunes, JACK ROBINSON & OLD MOLLY OXFORD but BRIAN was down AT THE DARK END OF THE STREET. Coming to a climax GEOFF insisted we TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT while PAUL implored LEAVE HER JOHNNY LEAVE HER before PHIL & DOM warned what happens when an OLD MAN CAME COURTING to close an excellent evening. Top notch!

Newsletter No 420 21 March 2017

They came from as far as Tanzania to hear BANJO JOHN open with a nod to his long time girl friend Vera Lynn with WE’LL MEET AGAIN & the WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER which set KATH & STAN ff to the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH. Incognito JANET told us to tell everyone WE DON’T LIVE HERE NO MORE and CARL exposed the BIG FEAR as SIMON was RAMBLING ROUND. Going back in time ERIC sang YOU SAY from one of Mike Chapman’s Albums, Rainmaker, which made ANN think of THE FOLK SINGER and DON & HEATHER to light up the LITTLE POT STOVE. Then there was the big welcome return of LOTTIE who sang RED IS THE ROSE but for PAUL it was all HARD TRAVELLING and then quite sad with ED and the RED HEADED ANN as it was at the end of CHRIS’ song I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT. We were soon lifted, however, when in walked old friend PETER MYLETT singing I NEVER GO AROUND MIRRORS just as BANJO JOHN launched into GO JOHNNY GO as his own Chick Berry tribute so no wonder SIMON declared I WANNA SING THAT ROCK & ROLL. Approaching the interval CARL turned to Pete Morton for FURTHER before PETER MYLETT returned for CANDLELIGHT AND WINE.

In the Raffle Barry won the Red Wine, Heather won the Chocolates, Hilary won the Handbag, Margaret won the Easter Egg and Eric won the Mother’s Day Plaque as DON & HEATHER opened with FAREWELL TO THE GOLD.  Following on came KATH & STAN with JOHN LOVER and an invitation from PAUL to COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE with LOTTIE & ERIC to meet JOCK STEWART. Next ANN remembered UNCLE TOM COBLEY from a holiday on Dartmoor and the other PETER, briefly home from Africa, GIVE ME A RIDE TO HEAVEN with his indestructible carbon fibre guitar. No wonder ED thought of RICKETY TICKETY TIN and CHRIS & PAUL sailed away with THE TRAWLERMAN and PETER MYLETT was off to see THE DUTCHMAN. Meanwhile SIMON took off after EASY MONEY and LOTTIE sang the anthem song FIELDS OF ATHENRY as KATH & STAN sought THE FORESAKEN MERMAID. Nearing home time PAUL was in need of some CORN BREAD AND BUTTER BEANS as PETER from Africa told us SHE WORE RED DRESSES and CHRIS on the run said I WON’T BE SENDING POSTCARDS FROM PARAGUAY as DON & HEATHER led us singing into the street as we searched for the BLARNEY ROSES to end an excellent evening. Come back soon.

Newsletter No 419 14 March 2017

Kicking off St Patrick’s week MARK & JAN gave us the BLUE COCKADE just as ROBIN was leaving old DURHAM TOWN and ALLEN was saying MADAM, I AM A PARLING. Far away BANJO JOHN was at the ALABAMA JUBILEE and JO was away wearing her GALWAY SHAWL as IAN stayed home at the SCARBOROUGH FAIR. With their first Irish offering DON & HEATHER celebrated RECONCILIATION before special guests all the way from Shropshire, TIM & ANN, delighted us with NEVER GOING TO LET HIM GO and SPANISH STEPS playing a normal guitar and one of these new fangled mini acoustic bass guitars with rubber strings. Just in time we got ED back from THE BLACK HILL as ANN had just caught THE TROUT but for PHIL & DOM it seemed to be PERHAPS LOVE. Another welcome newcomer ANDY mad a tribute to OH! MY SWEET CAROLINA as PAUL returned to the Irish theme with DOWN BY THE LAGGAN SIDE but BANJO JOHN was still away MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA. Coming to the interval JAN sang CALON LAN in Welsh before ALLEN turned to JOSIE and JO turned to the STREETS OF LONDON with big band backing.

In the bumper raffle Ann won the Irish Cream, Phil & Dom won the Irish Dartington Glasses, Joyce won the Irish Bookmark, Ian won the box of Yorkshire Tea and Heather won the ticket to Lymm Folk Club’s next Concert kindly donated by Bernard Cromarty.
Opening the second half MARK D whistled CARRICKFERGUS which set off ED on his anti-THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY song just before TIM & ANN went cruising along the GULF COAST HIGHWAY and IAN took us into the FIELDS OF GOLD. No wonder ANDY said, TALK TO ME OF MENDECINO but for ROBIN it was back to his roots for JOCK O’ HAZELDENE before DON & HEATHER went looking for BLARNEY ROSES. It was then back to the tradition for ANN and LOWLANDS AWAY and PAUL for WHISKEY IN THE JAR before PHIL & DOM came up to date with WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW. For some reason this left ED complaining EVERYBODY’S MAKING IT BIG BUT ME as ALLEN bade FAREWELL TO SICILY and ANDY reached for his SECOND CUP OF COFFEE. Closing in on a big finish DON & HEATHER celebrated the GALWAY GIRL as IAN unveiled his own IAN’S TUNE which brought PHIL & DOM to the station to catch the MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. Reaching a climax TIM & ANN gave us the explosive 455 ROCKET before we settled back in the easy chair with MARK & JAN who insisted YOU AIN’T GOING NOWHERE except home! Magic!

Newsletter No 418 7 March 2017
Another bonzer night in Sale Folk Club tonight with PETE more than WILLING to kick off things followed by KATH & STAN who were by THE BANKS OF ALLAN WATER and ROBIN for who THE BATTLE IS OVER while for ALLEN it was clear that THE WAR DRAGS ON. Then for BRIAN it was reminiscence with AS TIME GOES BY before newcomer PETE took us on a CYCLE RIDE and JAMES would do anything for THE GLORY OF LOVE which JAN & MARK confirmed saying I need you at THE DIMMING OF THE DAY. Then there was a welcome return for TOM with his own BULLETS & CHAMPAGNE followed by PHIL with the 18th century AMAZING GRACE and SIMON with the 20th century PAYDAY before another welcome back for DOMINIC & PHIL who sang a blues about BAD, BAD LEROY BROWN by Jim Croce. No wonder JANET was on the platform looking for ANOTHER TRAIN while for KAMRAN t
he blues are all the same because the BLUES RUN THE GAME before CARL turned up with his TRAIN SONG (revisited). Back in harness CHARLIE & JONATHAN then serenaded young VALERIE while CHRIS celebrated Ralph McTell’s long time spouse NAOMI before ARTHUR had them all down to FLANAGAN'S APPLE. Coming to the break ED relived THE GRESFORD DISASTER and RICHARD sang his own HUCK'S TUNE followed by DON & HEATHER with FLOWERS ON THE WATER their tribute to his Dad.

In the Raffle the Ice shoe grippers were won by Ed, the Paul O'Grady Autobiography won by Brian, the Room Fragrance Diffuser won by Dolan before the Red Wine went home with Allen. Starting the second half HELEN sang about JENNIFER'S RABBIT before ROBIN sang THE LAST FAREWELL which left PHIL with THE SOUND OF SILENCE. With another of his very original songs PETE was decidedly BONNY UP NORTH while ALLEN found THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN and STAN & KATH arrived just BEFORE THEY CLOSE THE MINSTREL SHOW to which JAMES confessed IT HURTS ME TOO and ANN said it was the same with THE PUNCH AND JUDY MAN, gone forever. Also making his mark ED treated us to TIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN by Fred Wedlock which somehow made CARL think of the BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR but left SIMON completely OUT OF TOUCH (Lucinda Williams). No wonder MARK & JAN decidedly washed their hands in MUDDY WATER as RICHARD tried to get to THE HEART OF THE MATTER and BRIAN expostulated, HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE? Heading for a big finish TOM came back with OVER THE HILL by John Martyn and CHRIS went for Dylan’s ZIMMERMAN BLUES and ARTHUR asked with his own IF I COULD REACH OUT which left us with PHIL & DOMINIC and FEELIN' GROOVY.


Newsletter No 418 28 February 2017

GRASSROOTS kicked off Jo’s Birthday celebrations with GAMES OF LOVE and why not? This was quickly followed by PAUL serenading Jo by replicating Seasick Steve’s performance of WALKIN’ MAN. Going more traditional AL told us the story behind Macpherson’s RANT before JO herself led us to THE BANKS OF THE OHIO. A brief respite for poetry came from DAVE COWE with AT TEA & IN CHURCH before DON, HEATHER & PAUL to us back to that DIRTY OLD TOWN and SIMON had us down to the BIG DARK SEA. Going down even deeper ED celebrated the sewer men aka THE FLUSHERS but KATH & STAN were more ethereal with MOONSHADOW as was ROBIN with BREAD AND FISHES. With McGarrigle’s HEART LIKE A WHEEL, PETE came next followed by JAMES with I’LL GET YOU by The Beatles and RICHARD who turned to Dylan for BELLE ISLE. With his latest collaboration, this time with wife Jan, MICK sang BLUE for which JO was CRAZY but unmoved ED was eating GREASY GRAVY and Gizzard Greens. With the Buffet and Chips in sight PAUL told the story of STAGOLEE and KATH & STAN sang THE BALLAD OF DAN MOODY before SIMON extolled the virtues of BAR ROOM GIRLS.

In the raffle Vis won the Prosecco, Sue won the Luxury Reed Perfume Set, Al took home the pancakes and Chris won the Handwash/Cream before GRASSROOTS started off the second half with Janice singing beautifully with I WANDERED BY A BROOKSIDE. Then DON, HEATHER & PAUL picked up the pace with THE MIGHTY QUINN but JAMES said I AIN’T MISBEHAVIN but ROBIN asked us to MEET ME ON THE CORNER. Turning to poetry again DAVE COWE went classical for SONNET 18 (Shakespeare) & WHEN YOU ARE OLD (Keats) before PETE sang WHOLE LIFE THROUGH and AL declared I WISH I WERE SINGLE AGAIN and RICHARD replied I’m ON MY WAY HOME. Going back a long way KATH & STAN sang about a family recorded in a 19th Century CENSUS while going back only to the 20th Century PAUL sang CORRINA, CORRINA and ED explained that he liked TRASHY WOMEN to much veiled approval before ROBIN drew a LONG BLACK VEIL over the proceedings. Coming to a close, DAVE COWE was poetic with THE DONKEY whereas SIMON & JAMES were having a BLUE BLUE DAY and for AL it was no fun on THE ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE. Even PETE had the MEDICAL STUDENT BLUES but DON, HEATHER & PAUL still managed to have us singing THE GALWAY SHAWL as we made for the door at the end of a really good evening.

Newsletter No 418 21 February 2017

A very pleasant evening was kick started as PAUL asked us to ROLL THE OLD CHARIOT ALONG with PHIL suggesting we visit the PALACE OF VERSAILLES before DAVID warned us not to open THE BOX containing all the tools of war. For some reason PETE then had need of BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER while JANET told us about the MIDSHIPMAN’S BOAST and before it was too late CHRIS sang of the FAIR MAIDENS OF FEBRUARY. No wonder JO exclaimed, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, and ED was moved to catch back with Valentine’s Day with MY BEST FRIEND to which DON & HEATHER warned of the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS. Next we had a world premier when ANN sang DEFYING GRAVITY without a safety net when she made her debut playing her new guitar. ROBIN, however, was extolling the virtues of marrying a girl from DENVER while PHIL was describing the not good life of the BLACKLEG MINER and PETE sang Dylan’s BIG GIRL NOW written after his divorce. Another slant on war came from DAVID about the SHIFTING WHISPERING SANDS about Kuwait and CHRIS was equally sad with a song of separation, THE SETTING by McTell, before JO kindly sang YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. Plenty went wrong for Paddy in ED’s song about the BARREL OF BRICKS and although JANET sang LIZZIE LOVES A HIGHWAYMAN it went wrong for Dick Turpin who hung in the end. At this point DON, HEATHER & PAUL chose to salute Arthur Marshall with song FENCES since he was voiceless and couldn’t make it tonight. This gave ROBIN that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING as ANN set out with the SKYE BOAT SONG and PAUL instructed us YOU’VE GOTTA MOVE as we approached the interval.

In the break the Raffle saw Chris win the Wine, Heather K win Paul O’Grady’s autobiography, Sue win the swanky Soap, Lin win the Chocolates and Janet win the Calendar before NAOMI set the ball rolling with AS I WALKED OUT. On his return to Ireland on the ferry PETE was moved to write his own song THE ALEXANDRA LIGHT whereas ED turned to Dylan for RAMONA and PHIL turned to Al Stewart for LIFE IN DARK WATER. For CHRIS on the other hand life was EASY, with Ed’s 12 string guitar, as ROBIN pleaded COME BACK PADDY REILLY but for JANET there was separation down in the RED RIVER VALLEY. Next FREE SPIRITS bemoaned the fate of the railway in THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS and PAUL was sad about CARELESS LOVE but ANN was upbeat about her SHABBY OLD CABBY and PETE was certainly over the BLUE MOON in celebrating Man City’s win over Monaco. Celebrating John Lennon PHIL was ONLY SLEEPING and in the theme JANET sang the GOODNIGHT LOVING TRAIL by Tom Waites before CHRIS celebrated the HANDS OF JOSEPH. Consistent with the hour NAOMI sang the GARTAN MOTHER’S LULLABY leaving ED to comment, SHE IS WOMAN, from which DON & HEATHER decided to STEAL AWAY which only left PAUL to send us home with LEAVE HER JOHNNY, LEAVE HER.


Newsletter No 417 14 February 2017

The Valentine’s Day theme was at first ignored by KATH & STAN who bid THE LAST GOODBYE before ALLEN sang his own NEARLY SONNET 18 dedicated to his wife Jen and BANJO JOHN took the hint and went off MAKING WHOOPEE. Then with heart on sleeve ROBIN confessed SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH as JO unsheathed her guitar to accompany herself for the FIELDS OF ATHENRY whereas MARK & JAN went to the heart of the matter for LOVE AND HAPPINESS (LUCKY STAR). This nicely set up ARTHUR to sing HOLD ME JUST ONE MORE NIGHT which he composed, recorded and promptly forgot for 25 years before re-discovering it last week. Really good. PAUL then had us singing JACKAROE and ANN banded up with Paul & Don for DARK AS A DUNGEON before PETE sang the moving JIM. Back on theme SIMON admitted SINCE I MET YOU BABY and HILARY played ANNIE’S SONG which left MARIAN to tell us about the SQUIRE OF TAMWORTH. A love story of another kind came from JAMES in the form of THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME as did DON & HEATHER with SPANISH BURGUNDY and JONATHAN with WILD HORSES before JO cried TAKE THESE CHAINS FROM MY HEART and BANJO JOHN explained what happens AFTER YOU’VE GONE.

The Valentine’s Day Raffle saw Heather K win the Prosecco, Rosalie win the Perfume, Ken win the Chocolates, Agnes win the Video and Jackie win the Heart Broach before KATH & STAN set us spinning with WINDMILLS so no wonder ARTHUR was in the mood and JUST FALLING IN LOVE. To MARK & JAN there was NO USE CRYING as HILARY played MY LOVE IS LIKE A RED, RED ROSE and JAMES went full on with VALENTINES DAY by Steve Earle. In love with the idea of migrating DON & HEATHER then took us ACROSS THE BORDERLINE and ROBIN had us in the STREETS OF BALTIMORE before ANN turned to a more classic theme with the SWEET NIGHTINGALE. Off at a tangent ALLEN was away at the WHIP JAMBOREE as SIMON & JAMES extended our vocabulary with PROPINQUITY by Michael Nesmith as did MARIAN with WEE TOTEM in Scottish dialect. PETE then took us ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER and PAUL was WILD ABOUT YOUR LOVING and KATH & STAN came up with two tunes THREE AROUND THREE and COME TO THE CEILIDH which drove ARTHUR to drink down in MURPHY’S BAR and JAN & MARK to go chasing the TURKEY IN THE CORN. Everyone needs a HANDYMAN reckoned JAMES before ALLEN went back to his early days as a folk singer for WILD ROVER which nicely set up a grandstand finish for FREE SPIRITS with WAGON WHEEL. A top night!

Newsletter No 416 7 February 2017

Arousing start to the evening by FREE SPIRITS saw them making promises of how good it would be ON THE NEXT GO ROUND and over The Pond BANJO JOHN told us of CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ ideas for the USA (Guy Mitchell) before PETE brought us to earth with effects of drug addiction in HURT. It wasn’t all plain sailing for JO with from BOULDER TO BIRMINGHAM or for PHIL with AN EVERYDAY STORY OF COUNTRY LIFE or ANN’s sailors capsizing on rocks in THE LORELEI. On a more cheerful note BRIAN admitted I DON’T KNOW WHY I LOVE YOU with two songs same title and MICK was busy WALKING MY BABY BACK HOME. Enough of this said AL who sang the GOLD WATCH BLUES by Donovan and SIMON was equally lamenting HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY OLD FRIEND ABRAHAM as was CHRIS with IN THE SECRET OF YOUR SADNESS (Jonathan Kelly). More sentimentally ROBIN sang of old dogs and children and WATERMELON WINE before PAUL had us all banded up for some JUG BAND MUSIC. This left ED to rise to the occasion by telling the Birthday people Hilary and Don that YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD as the man or woman that you feel?!? Coming up to Buffet and Chips time BANJO JOHN led us in OLD MAN RIVER while JO was LEAVING ON A JET PLANE to which PETE said TAKE IT EASY. NO wonder BRIAN decided to sing DREAMS (J Denver) and MICK professed he was HERMLESS (Michael Marra) while AL told us there were times when his wife was WILD EYED.

A crazy raffle saw Joseph take the Galaxy Chocolates, Hilary take the Biscuits, Jackie won the Scarf which left Heather Kenyon being forced to reluctantly?? accept the Red Wine. Returning for the second half CHRIS sang about MADELEINE and ANN warned what can happen to THE FOLK SINGER while PHIL gave us TIME PASSAGES from Al Stewart. SIMON also turned to favourite Steve Earl for the sad story of BILLY AUSTIN which prompted ROBIN to remember ROCK MY CRADLE by Hank Williams while PAUL went for SPENCER THE ROVER. Celebrating L S Lowry ED sang about his MATCHSTALK MEN leaving PETE who was KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR whereas PHIL sang the lesser known FOR NO ONE by the Beatles. With one of his own AL addressed the human condition saying there was a WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER and CHRIS gave us another slant with MAY YOU NEVER as did SIMON with McCARTY. Finally there was no mistaking ED’s meaning with the OLDEST SWINGER IN TOWN or with FREE SPIRITS who asked us to TAK’ A DRAM to end a great night.



JANUARY - 2017

Newsletter No 415 31 January 2017

As packed to the gunnels MARK & JAN quickly announced YOU AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE as we set out on a great evening of music and good craic with ED choosing Dylan’s MASTERS OF WAR before KATH & STAN went off to ALLEN WATER. Going folky SIMON turned to BOLD REYNARDINE as ROBIN went country with GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN while ROB was all trad with the CHEERLY MAN. Newcomer MALCOLM brought us THE CENOTAPH ANGEL from the deep south of England while ALLEN was WAITING ALL NIGHT and STEVE threatened IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND. On the other hand all PAUL had left was a TWO DOLLAR BILL while JO was away with a WAYFARING STRANGER despite JAMES claiming to be WILLIN’. Further away were DON & HEATHER in SOUTH AUSTRALIA to which CHRIS added HERE COMES HE SUN while MARIAN was still saying FAREWELL TO THE OLD YEAR. More welcome returners PHIL & DOM then sang THE THOUGHT OF YOU (J Denver) leaving JAN to say goodbye to THE JANUARY MAN as KATH & STAN were still 900 MILES from home. Coming up to the interval MARK whistled DARK ISLAND and ROBIN invited us to MEET ME TONIGHT IN LAREDO before FREE SPIRITS had us all singing RAMBLING BOY before the break.

A big raffle saw Paula win the Prosecco, Malcolm win the Teddy Bear, Vic win the Biscuits, Allen win the music bag and Rob win the CD before ROB started the second half with ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY. Not to be out done MARIAN sang of YOU PRETTY MAIDS OF GREENWICH and ALLEN warned about PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE having the wrong effect on young people. Next STEVE gave us the very funny FRIED CHICKEN AND A COUNTRY TUNE which prompted ED to turn to Bob Dylan’s DREAM and SIMON & JAMES to GO BACK TO GREENVILLE. No wonder MALCOLM asked WHERE’S THE HONEY MAN NOW and PAUL asked us to LAY ME DOWN A PALLET ON YOUR FLOOR as PHIL & DOM prepared us for the grand finale with PERHAPS LOVE and a big band up for THE BOXER. This left FREE SPIRITS to continue the join in theme with WAGON WHEEL and MARK & JAN to do the same with WE’LL HUNT HIM DOWN from the Darwin Song Project ridiculing the ban in the USA on teaching about evolution. 

Newsletter No 414 24 January 2017

Altogether a quieter period in the city after Christmas and New Year but we still managed a supremely enjoyable evening that absolutely flew by after PETE danced off with MR BOJANGLES. No wonder PAUL had us all shouting TELL OLD BILL before IAN told the history of THE PICK AND THE MALT SHOVEL and JANET asked us to COME BY THE HILLS to pick up the pre-Burns theme. Next KAMRAN went all CRAZY and ROBIN, our only true Scot, was off NORTH TO ALASKA while ANN definitely stayed local for the Lancashire Poem BONNY BRID. This prompted ED to turn to Iris Dement for CHILDHOOD MEMORIES but for PHIL it is always FOREVER AUTUMN while FREE SPIRITS had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL. After fitting new strings CHRIS was well fettled to play Paul McCartney’s BLACKBIRD followed by PIETER who sang his own WHEN I FALL DOWN before PAUL returned with the sad WORKING MEN'S BLUES and JANET was even sadder with JOLENE. Coming up to the interval we returned to Burns with our ROBIN singing JOCK O’HAZELDEAN followed by IAN with his LITTLE POT STOVE and ED who gave us the lessons learned from the GAMBLER.

The themed bumper Raffle saw the Silk Scarf go home with Pieter, the Scottish Shortbread Biscuits go to Margaret and the Bottle of Whisky quickly pass from Sue no doubt to Ed who is a big fan. No wonder PETE thought of DAYS GONE BY and a new group of ANN, BRIAN & PAUL had us all singing with STEWBALL leaving PHIL chasing THE HARE. On his rare visit PIETER then sang another of his own songs I KNEW YOUR FATHER which led KAMRAN to say LET'S TALK DIRTY IN HAWAIIAN so no wonder CHRIS reckoned YOU WON'T MAKE OLD BONES. Next DON & HEATHER sang the traditional Scottish SMUGGLER'S SONG which had PAUL urging us to STEP IT UP AND GO before IAN went traditional with the BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND. Still on the pre-Burns Night theme ANN sang the Eriskay Love Lilt VAIR ME ORO VAN O as ROBIN bade THE LAST FAREWELL and PHIL told us he was a MAN OF THE WORLD. Going for a big finish KAMRAN had the BLACK HORSE BLUES while eager to use his new strings CHRIS gave ANGIE a blast as ED swore ERNIE RIDES AGAIN as the fastest mobile library in the west. PETE then stepped up with COUNTRY SONG before by special request DON & HEATHER had us singing into the street with their DANCES FOR DOLLARS. It was over too soon!

Newsletter No 413 17 January 2017

A super evening started by GRASSROOTS with MOCKINGBIRD continued with MARK celebrating THE LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA while KATH & STAN were off to OWENSBORO but PAUL woke up this morning with the OL’ WALKING BLUES. Next JAMES credited the Beatles with him extending his 3 chord covering of most pop songs by playing and singing THINGS WE SAID TODAY. On the other hand DAVE decided to stand and stare with the poem LEISURE while ANN turned to the sad BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN and PHIL introduced THE MOST UNLUCKY PERSON IN THE WORLD. Also pretty unlucky was SIMON’s WILD BILL JONES as CHRIS went back to the pastoral scene of Ralph McTell’s BARGES but ED certainly had NO TIME TO CRY with Iris Dement before DON & PAUL went further afield sheep herding with the DIAMANTINA DROVER and AL told us the story of the now uninhabited island in THE MINGULAY BOAT SONG. On a sad note JO sang MY YOUNGEST SON CAME HOME TODAY so it was fortunate PETER decided to SHOWER ALL THE PEOPLE and JONATHAN & CHARLIE declared SOMEWHERE IN MY HEART there’s a start that shines for you, a nice thought. Then we had a very pleasant surprise when MICK sang a great new song BLUE with lyric by himself and the music by his wife Jan. On the other hand MARK turned to Dylan for DON’T THINK TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT and DAVE read the poem STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING before PHIL sang the litany of Al Stewart’s tour of AMSTERDAM. Coming up to the break JO started with SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR to SIMON & JAMES replied SHE THINKS I STILL CARE and AL went back to his roots with THE WORKER’S SONG.

After the usual bumper raffle KATH & STAN suggested we KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE with which PETER agreed as he chased the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY which left PAUL rather caustically quipping, YOUR CHEATING HEART. Going back in history ANN recaptured the mood with LILI MARLENE and GRASSROOTS brilliantly re-interpreted Dylan’s MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE before ED gave out some advice with LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE. Turning to another great songwriter Mark Knoppler CHRIS sang about the life of the TRAWLERMAN and DON did the same with the HONKY TONK MAN by Clint Eastwood and Marty Robbins. JAMES then reminded us that life is all a SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE as MARK landed on the SLOOP JOHN B with the cruel captain and KATH & STAN reflected on the life of THE MAN IN THE MOON. Reaching a suitable climax, PHIL reminded us of SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY while SIMON took us to the HEARTBREAK HOTEL which left CHRIS to ask us, ARE YOU RECEIVING ME. We all replied loud and clear before heading for home with our spirits suitably lifted. 

Newsletter No 412 10 January 2017

Before the big freeze arrives we got off to a good start with DON & HEATHER getting us singing RINGSEND ROSE before AL insisted YOU’VE MADE A MESS OF IT ALL but for PHIL all was rosy in the CITY OF PLYMOUTH. On the contrary SIMON was bitter with THE VERY THING THAT MAKES HER RICH MAKES ME POOR which JO summed up with ALL MY TRIALS, LORD and JOHN declared, not me I’m SUPERMAN. No wonder ANN offered to be his LADY FOR TODAY and ED went over the history of the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER before MARIAN told us the story of THE MAID AND THE MAGPIE. On a religious tack DAVID was SET APAR with Tim Hughes as ROBIN was away in THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK and PAUL was lighting the BONFIRES to welcome in another year courtesy of Zoe Mulford. Thus encouraged DON & HEATHER went for the tolerant line with both SAINTS AND SINNERS and AL said he would TRY FOR THE SUN as PHIL continued to encourage Plymouth Argyll FC with HE WHO WOULD VALIANT BE. Then it was thank goodness for the human to explore with JO who was BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND and SIMON who declared the DEVILS’S PARTIALITY and JOHN explained how the captain of the SLOOP JOHN B was indeed real and also always drunk as we toasted Lonnie Donegan and sang lustily up to the break.

In the Raffle Ann & Brian won the Bottle of Red Wine, Rosalyn won the Box of Belgian Chocolates, Heather Kenyon won a CD and Kate took the Tin of Biscuit(s) before ED started the second half with CITY LAMENT. No wonder DAVID replied with YOU GOT IT (Orbison) and ANN got up to lead us to LOWLANDS AWAY but ROBIN was leaving DURHAM TOWN. Next MARIAN took us to the LONDON LIGHTS and PAUL introduced BIG BAD BILL so no wonder DON & HEATHER headed DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL. Sober as a judge PHIL then stunned us with a BOUREE by J S BACH and JOHN & SIMON managed to surprise us by getting together for DARCY FARROW before AL went pretty guttural Scottish with ERIN GO BRAGH before DAVID went to Frank Sinatra’s favourite Lennon & McCartney number, SOMETHING, actually written by George Harrison. With a climax looming ROBIN & ANN teamed up for a Country medley starting with FRAULEIN followed by PAUL who had us LEAVING ON A JET PLANE which left us to marvel at ED’s BANTHAM COCK as we headed home. Top night!

Newsletter No 411 3 January 2017 

Ensuring a lively start DON & HEATHER first took us back to the RARE AULD TIMES as KATH & STAN set out on TEN THOUSAND MILES and BANJO JOHN went off in pursuit of HAPPINESS. Then things became serious when MIKE COSGRAVE took us up REUNION HILL (R Shindell) and ROB took us aboard the ALABAMA leaving HILARY to say farewell to Christmas with a CAROL OF THE BELLS. Then with his own song RICHARD told of the FIRE DOWN BELOW and MARIAN sang of SPINDLE BOBBIN before CHRIS played the live version of SULTANS OF SWING (Dire Straits). No wonder ROD cried out PLEASE DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD and certainly the bridegroom got it wrong when he wanted THE GREY MARE as well as the bride in ED’s song but SIMON’s song JOHN DOE No 24 was even more sad as was DAVID’s story of the MARCH OF THE DEAD. More of a riddle came from KATH & STAN in DINK’S SONG whereas JAMES was more emotional with YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND before the medley from BANJO JOHN of Al Jolson’s FOUR LEAF CLOVER, CALIFORNIA & CAROLINA. Finally, HILARY took us to CARRICKFERGUS and MIKE and RICHARD took us to COLCANNON before the tune BLARNEY PILGRIM left us at the interval.

The Raffle then saw Ken take the Biscuits, Hilary win the Wine, Heather Kenyon take the Chocolate Orange and Vic waltz into 2017 with a New Diary. CHRIS then put us in THE HANDS OF JOSEPH (McTell) and RICHARD & MIKE returned with story of THE LUMPER which left ROB who was COURTING TOO SLOW and DON & HEATHER who had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL. This left the duo of SIMON & JAMES a chance to reform for WAYSIDE BACK IN TIME (G Welch) and ROD to get off to the DOCK OF THE BAY and MARIAN to go traditional for TAR BARREL IN DALE. All ED could say was IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE DAYS as KATH & STAN went WESTERDALE and ROB went ROLLING HOME. No wonder CHRIS gasped I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT and HILARY turned to DROWSY MAGGIE. Sensing a climax being reached MIKE turned to COUSIN JACK while RICHARD was that FOUR LOOM WEAVER but for each other DON & HEATHER declared YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT. From his rich compendium SIMON told us I LIVE IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE before JAMES summed it all up perfectly by departing TRAVELLING LIGHT. Sweet!


Newsletter No 410 27 December 2016

A small but extremely enthusiastic bunch gathered to return to normality after Christmas with DON & HEATHER bringing us FIRE AND RAIN and BANJO JOHN taking us to the SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET and LOTTIE telling us THE SNOW IT MELTS THE SOONEST. It certainly did in this warm atmosphere as ERIC chipped in with his approach to life telling us ALE IS PHYSIC FOR ME. More rural JEAN turned to the beautiful WHERE RAVENS FEED by Graham Miles and then back when a folk song was a folk song COLIN sang the equally beautiful STARRY, STARRY NIGHT. By way of a complete change ANN, in a poem, described the LIFE STORY OF A SAFETY PIN, to which DON & HEATHER replied, YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT, and LOTTIE pleaded TAKE ME HOME WHERE I BELONG and BANJO JOHN asked THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE (P Ochs). Next JEAN came forward with a biter bit STORY from Saltburn on Sea told us of when she saw a busy man rudely brushes aside people on his way to the post box where, in his haste, he pocketed the letter and posted his car keys. Jean, of course, had the last laugh when she told him what he had done and he found the letter in his pocket and no car keys. As Jean was the only witness to his mistake and therefore his only way of getting the post office staff to open the box for him to retrieve his keys, his demeanour changed completely. Another Lancashire song from ERIC took us to PENDLE whereas ANN went south to meet TOM COBLEY leaving COLIN, in response to his treatment of Phil Ochs, to turn to Dylan for IT’S NOT DARK YET BUT IT’S GETTING THERE. For LOTTIE it was clear RED IS MY HEART and BANJO JOHN remembered Marilyn Monroe with RUNNING WILD and JEAN went with true love LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM. On his holidays ERIC announced WE’RE OFF IN A MOTOR CAR and ANN was off to the Hebrides for VAIR ME ORO VAN O leaving COLIN to take us to the interval vowing not to make THE SAME MISTAKE again with his own philosophy on life.

The raffle was made free using the entry tickets and Ann won the bottle of Wine, Chris won the box of Belgian Chocolate Shells and Heather Kenyon won the big Box of Tea which she promptly passed on the Alan who loves Yorkshire tea and after 2 hours of great music and good craic everyone decided on a slightly early big finish starting with COLIN and MARY MAGDALENE. With her lovely voice LOTTIE then sang MEDHEL AN GWYNS from Poldark as ERIC told the story of BOGIE’S BOONIE BELLE followed by ANN and her generic FOLK SINGER. By way of a complete change JEAN then turned to LLOYD WEBBER for I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM and LOTTIE teamed up with her Dad ERIC for HALLELUJAH before COLIN responded to a request and brought the house down with his magical MR BOJANGLES. What a great night!

Newsletter No 409 20 December 2016

In traditional fashion MARK & JAN started the ball rolling with JINGLE BELLS as PAUL sang GO TELL IT ON THER MOUNTAIN and PHIL went back to his ROOTS. From BRIAN came the cry IT’S SO EASY as JANET headed for the RIVER so no wonder JO went for a SILENT NIGHT. In contrast BANJO JOHN went wild with TIGER RAG leaving HILARY to DECK THE HALLS and SIMON to remind us of THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. With all the sleigh bells around DON & HEATHER then took us WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND while ANN chased after THE NIGHTINGALE leaving ED to discuss the children’s toy list starting with SCARLET RAYGUNS. Next MARIAN told of the QUEEN OF GALILEE and JONATHAN & CHARLIE sang of JOY TO THE WORLD. In Latin MARK went IN DULCE JUBILO before JAN turned to Welsh for AR HYDO AR NOD leaving HILARY to SEE AMID THE WINTER SNOW. More conventionally SIMON went for BAR ROOM GIRLS while JO was taking it ONE DAY AT A TIME and BRIAN was going THROUGH THE MORNING THROUGH THE NIGHT. All this left RICHARD feeling I’M OLDER THAN THAT NOW so no wonder BANJO JOHN went back in time for WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Along with the Mulled Wine and Mince Pies the mega bumper raffle saw Hilary win a bottle of wine as did the Taylors, Charlie won Chocolates, Jonathan won the Christmas Puddings, Ann win the Christmas Cake, Kate win the Necklace and Chris, Kate & Jonathan win pots of Jam in Knitted Socks. Wow!

Then as everyone recovered Banjo John assembled the cast of his PANTO which was CINDERELLA: Banjo John - Narrator, Jonathan -Prince charming, Barry the Ugly Sister, Heather – the Good Fairy and Heather – Cinderella and pretty soon we were having a hilarious time. Well done gang! 

Follow that was the cry as PAUL led us in a CAROL MEDLEY and PHIL followed with his guitar version of JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING and JONATHAN & CHARLIE told us I DUG A DIAMOND. Back in the tradition MARIAN gave us BILLY ARMITAGE as ANN & RICHARD said I’LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU and DON & HEATHER again went festive with Slade’s SO HERE IT IS MERRY CHRISTMAS. On the funny side MARK & JAN exclaimed O LITTLE TOWN OF ALTRINCHAM which for ED was a DISASTER and reminded PHIL of THE BEDROOM TAX. This made SIMON think of EASY MONEY but for BRIAN it was KILLING THE BLUES and for RICHARD it was an air on a B STRING. Coming to a climax BANJO JOHN turned to old favourite RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER and PAUL told us it was SOMEBODY’S BIRTHDAY leaving DON & HEATHER to suggest we should all STEAL AWAY whereas MARK & JAN had us RUNNING LIKE A TURKEY through the corn.

Newsletter No 408 13 December 2016

They came from near they came from far they filled up every pew! Phew!! A Storming Party Night hosted by GRASSROOTS who kicked off with DANNY BOY with HILARY explaining the stealing of Christmas by THE GRINCH (Part 1) while BANJO JOHN was still in his WINTER WONDERLAND. Also traditionally, PAUL was with MARY’S BOY CHILD and ANN with JO for AMAZING GRACE. Not being Christmassy ROD pleaded DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD which left DON & HEATHER instead of wishing everyone all the best rather they said MAY YOU NEVER do things that are not good for you. Poet DAVE COWE then sprinkled some SALFORD FLOWERS on PETE’S appropriately SUNNY AFTERNOON as ROB unveiled his first Christmas present, a new song for us, BARRETT’S PRIVATEERS. Next AL sang THE SHEPHERD SONG while KATH & STAN were just BABES IN THE WOODS leaving it to KAMRAN to announce, so HERE IT IS MERRY CHRISTMAS. Somewhat ironically JAN & MARK gave tradition a twist with THE IVY AND THE HOLLY but CHRISTINE & WILF were not fooled as they declared I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW as ED, in Robin’s absence, eagerly jumped aboard as A SPACEMAN CAME TRAVELLING. Next visitor JOHN CONDY in search of a good time took us to the TRAFFORD CENTRE which made JONATHAN wish he had A RIVER TO SAIL AWAY ON leaving RICHARD to calm the atmosphere with PEACE ON EARTH. With the interval buffet and super special chips approaching JAMES raised the temperature with I WISH I COULD SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE which sent JO off ROCKIN’ AROUNG THE CHRISTMAS TREE so no wonder BANJO JOHN gave us a burst of WHEN YOU’RE SMILING to keep the mood.

A big bumper raffle saw Rob win the Wine; Ann win the Big Teddy; Al win the Small Teddy; Chris win the Room Perfume; Joseph win the Christmas Cake; Jillian win the Chocolate Orange: Alan win the Man United Calendar and Doreen win the Necklace before GRASSROOTS appropriately sang us off into the second half with LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT. Then in a moment of inspiration ROD asked what IF I WERE A CARPENTER while PETE was complimenting nature on our SUNSETS with his own composition which left the reality to KAMRAN who recognised some people could possibly have a BLUE CHRISTMAS. Never mind a turkey JAN & MARK then went for a LITTLE RED ROOSTER while ANN chose THE TROUT. Poet DAVE COWE then bowed down at the FEET OF GANESHA and AL didn’t fail us with Donovan’s JOSIE nor did RICHARD at the GATES OF EDEN (Dylan). Determined to get Christmas back HILARY gave us the final part of THE GRINCH (Part 2) while PAUL was out on his MORNINGTOWN RIDE and WILF & CHRISTINE were celebrating Salford with the DIRTY OLD TOWN. No wonder ED said it all seems to happen BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE SKY leaving ROB to claim it was different WHEN FIRST I LANDED IN LIVERPOOL but for JOHN nothing has changed as he confessed I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS. Reaching the climax of a superb evening JAMES pleaded SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME as DON & HEATHER said they were going to STEEL AWAY and STAN & KATH departed for the WILLOW GLEN for some peace on earth and good will towards everyone who felt the same. Magic!

Newsletter No 407 6 December 2016
A serene evening with a few surprises saw PAUL start sweetly with SUGAR PUDDING while BANJO JOHN was away at the ALABAMA JUBILEE to which CHRIS replied, I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT. On the other hand JO was clear about WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS as KATH & STAN asked HOW WILL I EVER BE SIMPLE AGAIN and ED went into the difficulties of trading a horse for the woman RED HEADED ANN. Then PETE went all modern with Dylan’s surprisingly romantic love MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE whereas ALLAN went traditional with the story of the ELLEN VANNIN so no wonder DON & HEATHER thought we needed some RECONCILIATION. Next our surprise guests MICHAEL & RORY pulled on their bagpipes and played TURNER’S WALTZ and WHITWELL’S TUNE after which RORY undressed his Hurdy Gurdy to play his own SCOTTISCHE. A big fan of Ralph McTell CHRIS led us all through the STREETS OF LONDON as JONATHAN & CHARLIE asked us to be HUMBLE AND KIND (Tim McGraw) leaving JO to sing our first Christmas Carol IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER. KATH & STAN decided to play 2 tunes TWIGLET and BOSTON RISING while ED gave us Les Barker’s parody of Little Red Riding Hood MY HUSBAND’S GOT NO PORRIDGE IN HIM. This left BANJO JOHN in a A PAWNSHOP ON THE CORNER which made ALLAN observe IT ALL SEEMS SUCH A LONG TIME AGO and made JONATHAN & CHARLIE both feel FRAGILE (Sting) as we reached the interval.

A suitably bonzer raffle saw Allan win the wine, Banjo John take the Chocolates home, Sue snaffle the perfume, Heather grab the Chocolate Orange and Allan come back again to win the cake before DON & HEATHER went over the Irish sea to meet the SPANISH LADY. With yet more bagpipes MICHAEL played BRUDMARSHE FROM ALEPPO (trad Swedish tune) before RORY again was the Hurdy Gurdy man playing his own RORY’S TUNE. Somehow it reminded PETE of DAYS GONE BY and made RICHARD think of the CHIMES OF FREEDOM before PAUL had us singing WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL. On the same theme KATH & STAN came up with WINDMILLS before for Christmas CHRIS, with a nice thought, wished us THE THINGS YOU WISH YOURSELF. Meanwhile ED was SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SEA and ALLAN was getting the KING BEE BLUES which had RICHARD disappearing SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW. Before PETE himself disappears for Christmas he asked us to SEE MY LIGHT COME SHINING before MICHAEL returned with even more bagpipes for NONSUCH and ALL IN THE GARDEN GREEN which left PAUL to head us for home with LEAVE HER JOHNNY LEAVE HER and DON & HEATHER to celebrate with A SONG FOR A LIFE which at this point was certainly very good.


Newsletter No 406 29 November 2016

Despite the faulty heating 36 folk huddled together and shared the warmth of each other and the great music and craic of stoic Brits kicked off by PETE with RABBIT HILLS by Mike Chapman and BANJO JOHN who reminisced with the UNCHAINED MELODY. Perhaps because of the cold weather SUE dreamed of SUMMERTIME and AL went off to CHESTER CITY, a variant of Spanish Lady, leaving PAUL who was SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Still looking for warmth ROD swore IT NEVER RAINS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA to which BRIAN replied with the BOURGEOIS BLUES and KAMRAN told us it’s no fun WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS. In contrast all JAMES wanted was the KEY TO THE HIGHWAY followed by SIMON who exclaimed SINCE I MET YOU, BABY and DON & HEATHER who celebrated St Andrews Day with The McCalmans SMUGGLER'S SONG. Staunchly English, GEOFF convinced us that A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE as JONATHAN & CHARLIE chased after VALERIE leaving CHRIS to sing about a PIPER TO THE END by Knopfler and ED to go via Bob Dylan TO RAMONA. Then no wonder BANJO JOHN sang WE'LL MEET AGAIN before as usual heading with MARIAN summing up his departure with LOVE CALL ME HOME and PAUL responding TAKE 'EM AWAY as we hit the interval.

The Raffle did us justice as Alan won the Red Wine, Chris won the Biscuits, Vic won the Christmas Pudding and Doreen took home the Chocolates before JONATHAN & CHARLIE started up with ALL THIS TIME. With a very poignant song CHRIS turned to MICHAEL IN THE GARDEN and SUE & GEOFF pleaded PLEASE DON'T TELL ME before AL remembered St Andrews with YE JACOBITES BY NAME. Back the US of A, PETE then took a BIG YELLOW TAXI while BRIAN was calling JESUS ON THE MAINLINE and ROD vowed to PAINT IT BLACK as SIMON & JAMES took us off to JACKSON. All this made JAMES O SO SAD and gave KAMRAN the FISHING BLUES while ED was suffering from BRONCHIO-DILATED BLUES. There was just time for another from MARIAN before DON, HEATHER & PAUL were invited to send us out singing with GYPSY WOMAN followed by the DIAMANTINA DROVER to end a remarkable evening. Magic!


Newsletter No 405 22 November 2016

At 7.45 we had 3 performers and spot on 8.00 we had over 20 so no wonder KATH & STAN recommended we KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE and DON & HEATHER commented that we were way away from being PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE. On the other hand BANJO JOHN sent for OUR SERGEANT MAJOR as HILARY played O’Carolan’s CONSTANTINE MAGUIRE before JAN & MARK were back from holiday to spread a little LOVE AND HAPPINESS. This didn’t stop PAUL from GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD before fortunately AL said it’s THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN and HELEN made off for CLEAR WATER. No wonder ARTHUR came out with his latest song observing that it’s a good job LIFE IS SHORT to which DAVID replied READ MY MIND and ANN turned to THE FOLK SINGER. However, ED insisted he was a SILVER TONGUED DEVIL and SIMON & JAMES commented HE’LL HAVE TO GO so get on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS recommended ROD. On the domestic front STUART answered his wife’s criticism with I’M TRYING MY BEST before our old friend OTTO sang his first ever song in our folk club, BABY BLUE, which gave RICHARD, A SATISFIED MIND.  Coming up to the break BANJO JOHN went back years for a CAROLINA MOON as JAMES turned to SWEET LORRAINE and ARTHUR went to his favourite Leonard Cohen for ON THE LEVEL.

In the bumper raffle for a bumper crowd Kath & Stan won the Prosecco, Alan won the Chocolates, David won the Coasters, Helen took the Biscuits and Heather won the Christmas Pudding before JAN & MARK started the second half by telling us they AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE but PAUL soon had us all aboard THE OLD 97. Then KATH & STAN came up with two tunes with fiddle and guitar, HARVEST HOME and TRUMPET HORNPIPE, before DAVID was HALF A WORLD AWAY and HILARY recruited members of THE GALLOWGLASS. Up again the burgeoning new duo SIMON & JAMES were off to GREENVILLE and HELEN was up with THE LARK (Kate Rusby) but ROD was ALREADY GONE before OTTO surprised us again with an INDWELT poem. Summing it up AL told us THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING but not for ANN with the scary LORELEI and DON & HEATHER agreed with their ROMANY JACK. Fortunately STUART unveiled another of his excellent songs, HEATHER MOOR MIST AND MOSS, as did RICHARD with his own COMING HOME which left ED to have tears rolling down our cheeks with JACUZZI JOE the gigolo with the funky concertina. KATH & STAN then capitalised on the mood with MOONSHADOW before ARTHUR led the biggest singalong of the night with his own FENCES as we headed home.

Newsletter No 404 15 November 2016

Bent on raising £100.00 for Children in need DON & HEATHER started the ball rolling with RAMBLING BOY before BANJO JOHN went populist with DAISY after the recent ejection of his fancy for Strictly success Daisy Lowe. To KATH & STAN, however, she was a WAYFARING STRANGER as ROBIN bid her a LAST FAREWELL and HELEN quoted L Cohen with IF IT BE YOUR WILL. A return to a school trip followed in a story from JOAN & OLGA entitled THE WITCHES which made PAUL think of RAILWAY BILL and ANN to go foreign with LILI MARLENE. Then large as life CHARLIE & JONATHAN strolled in to sing HANG ME followed by ED and THE LAST HOBO and PETE with ST PAUL’S SONG before BANJO JOHN completed the circle returning with THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND. For ROBIN, however, it was the STREETS OF BALLTIMORE he was walking but KATH & STAN were WATERBOUND. In the end HELEN reckoned it all part of THE CIRCLE GAME as was JOAN & OLGA’S SUMMER HOLIDAY. Finally, PAUL set out IN THE EARLY MORNING RAIN as we reached the break.

The raffle saw Pete win the wine, Otto won the Beer, Jenny won the Perfume, Heather won the Christmas Pudding and J&D won the Handwash before FREE SPIRITS took us down to Oz to meet the DIAMANTINA DROVER. More concerned about law and order ED said he would FLOG ‘EM, FLAY ‘EM AND HANG ‘EM which PETE said would LIGHT MY FIRE leaving the new band line up of ANN, HELEN & PAUL to celebrate the race horse STEWBALL. All of this gave KATH & STAN the MONDAY MORNING feeling to which ROBIN replied YOU FILL UP MY SENSES as JOAN & OLGA completed the SCHOOL TRIP to Beziers. Then away to the Emerald Isle DON & HEATHER met up with the GALWAY GIRL while further afield ED was out along THE VERDIGRIS with Tom Paxton leaving HELEN in more sinister mood for the SILVER DAGGER. Out in the Caribbean PAUL was aboard the SLOOP JOHN B while PETE went back in time for his own MEDICAL STUDENT BLUES to which ANN sympathetically replied with ALL MY TRIALS LORD. This left ROBIN to lead us down COUNTRY ROADS to a big climax with ED and FREE SPIRITS to comment ALL THE GOOD TIMES are past and gone which was not quite true as we were able to send £100.00 winging its way to Children in Need which capped it all. Magic! 

Newsletter No 403 8 November 2016

We filled up nicely on a damp evening for GRASSROOTS to start us off with a FLEETING CHANCE before BANJO JOHN turned to the infamous LILI MARLENE which made ED think of POISON however ROD recommended we LET IT BE before JO announced she was NODODY’S DARLIN’. With its haunting melody PAUL was that PIPER TO THE END but for BRIAN it was still a WONDERFUL WORLD to be in but not so great for those who DON & HEATHER had in the trenches CALLING DOON THE LINE. Thank goodness for DAVE COWE with the humorous NIGEL GNASHER before newcomer DAVE THOMAS gave us his own interesting perspective on WW2 in THE GRACE. Back on the trad track ANN had is singing LOWLANDS AWAY before AL gave us his take on LIFE which had SIMON asking BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME and PETE off running OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY. Then everything went crazy as WILF & CHRISTINE had us singing GILLY GILLY OSSENFEFFER KATZENELLEN BOGEN BY THE SEA before STEWART gave us his own perspective on war with AND WHO WOULD KNOW. Finally we had the welcome return of RICHARD SAILS whose interpretation of THE WIDOW OF WESTMORLAND’S DAUGHTER left us with a clear understanding of the wiles of women and RICHARD GRAY’S own song which also left us with a clear understanding this time of the  necessity and futility of THE LAST GREAT WAR.

A bumper raffle with the proceeds together with those of next week going to “Children in Need” saw Pete win the wine, Alan win the Box of tea and the swanky Note Pad, newcomer Stewart win the Chocolate Orange before GRASSROOTS lashed us back into action with HARMLESS. No winder BRIAN went all CRAZY. Fortunately ROD declared that we were all OUT OF TIME except SIMON who was IN THE PINES and ANN who was chasing MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN. No wonder DAVE COWE came up with Mike Harding’s you JUST CAN’T BEAT THIS FAMILY LIFE and WILF ran for the BUS STOP leaving CHRISTINE to pick up the pieces and her violin for two tunes SHEPHERD’S WIFE and MAN IN THE MOON. Back to an old favourite ED turned to NANCY as RICHARD SAILS joined THE BELL RINGERS and with DON & HEATHER off KILLING THE BLUES this left AL to tell how PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE should not define our lives as we grow up. As we hurtled to a climax GRASSROOTS sensed the change in the weather and the AUTUMN LEAVES and PAUL wanted justice and freedom with IF I HAD A HAMMER so he should keep away from the judges and courts then. Another fine song from STEWART in fantasy land for his STAR TREK SHANTY whereas PETE stuck with Bob for GIRL OF THE NORTH COUNTRY leaving RICHARD GREY to sing us out with his own SOLID AS A ROCK to complete a great night that swung from very sombre through traditional to the hilarious. Top drawer!!

Newsletter No 402 1 November 2016

A nigh on full house greeted DON & HEATHER as they opened with COB-A-COALING in anticipation of Bonfire Night and RICHARD KNOTT made a welcome return with his own LET’S GO TO TOWN. In all seriousness ED told us about GEORGINA’S BABY before BANJO JOHN introduced his Skeleton Playing Banjo for COMING ROUND THE MOUNTAIN followed by his own historical account of DELIA’S GONE. Sadly SUE had the BOREDOM PRISON BLUES, with a skit of Folsom and SIMON retorted AFTER YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT YOU DON’T WANT IT but ROBIN was away with MR DREAMSELLER. Then HELEN sang the SMUGGLER’S SONG from the verse of Rudyard Kipling followed by PETE with HARVEST MOON and ANN and THE SWEET NIGHTINGALE before PHIL went for humour with HE LIKED TO FEEL IT. A solo by GEOFF saw him in HONOUR AND PRAISE of Fairport Convention as was PAUL of SWEET CAROLINE before CHRIS brought us back to earth with EVERYBODY LOVES A SMART ARSE. Next a lovely song from KATH & STAN was WESTERDALE before JAMES shook us all up with his AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ just as BANJO JOHN was LEANING ON A LAMP. Heading for the interval RICHARD KNOTT came back with his own TOO FAST before ED had us all laughing to his TIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN.

The raffle saw the Wine won by Chris; the Johnny Cash DVD won by Doreen; the Shower Gel won by Margaret; the Box of Tea won by Ann and the Chocolate Orange won by Jeff before FREE SPIRITS rolled into the second half with WAGON WHEEL after which PETE insisted SHE BELONGS TO ME. Then HELEN sang about JESSIE as SIMON & JAMES paired up for a great version of SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS by Steve Earl and SUE looked back AS YEARS GO BY. A semi request saw PHIL unveil LIFE IN DARK WATER by Al Stewart before another pairing of ANN & ROBIN treated us to THE FEMALE DRUMMER before CHRIS was struck by SUMMER LIGHTENING followed by GEOFF and his sexy version of I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU. In praise of Mark Knoppler JAMES took us BACK TO TUPELO and KATH & STAN took us on the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND just as optimistically PAUL claimed the SUN’S GONNA SHINE ON MY BACK DOOR ONE DAY. Coming to a grand finale RICHARD KNOTT insisted with his own song, TELL ME WHAT YOU’RE DOING, as ED sang us to sleep with his LIVERPOOL LULLABY before DON, HEATHER & PAUL recommended we STEAL AWAY as the fantastic evening drew to a close. Wonderful! 

OCTOBER - 2016

Newsletter No 401 25 October 2016

A slightly quieter night after two parties in a row as PAUL started the action by asking us to WALK RIGHT IN and straightaway ED was calling on RAMONA and JO went for the Union man JOE HILL. Obviously surprised CHRIS replied I NEVER EXPECTED THAT as GRASS ROOTS took THE KING’S SHILLING this all leading to JOAN & OLGA telling us to ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE with some tales from Monaco. Yet another surprise awaited us as SIMON unveiled his own composition BIG DARK SEA before DON & HEATHER went for the cheerier STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN which set up PAULINE to read an excerpt from CIDER WITH ROSIE. Turning to an old favourite ROBIN set off for DENVER which had GRASS ROOTS actually LOOKING BACK from Mick Hare’s pen as also JO went back in time from THE GALWAY SHAWL. We continued with some great guitar work from CHRIS and the SULTANS OF SWING before JOAN & OLGA completed their tales from Monaco before GRASS ROOTS, with Mick’s tribute to a young Soweto girl, sang ELIZABETH IS SINGING to take us up to the break.

The raffle saw Jackie win the wine, Janice win the Chocolates and pass them round, Simon take the Dark Chocolate Orange, Joyce win the Notebook and Rosalyn win the Nail Conditioner Kit in time for SIMON to ask HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AS THIS? Easy said ED, he must have been THE GAMBLER. For her first song MARIAN came up with WHEN THE WATER IS DEEP followed by another excerpt from CIDER WITH ROSIE to which DON & HEATHER replied they must have been RARE OULD TIMES. Pinching another of Robin’s songs PAUL banded up for the NEXT GO ROUND and ROBIN responded with ONLY THE HEARTACHES before CHRIS became THE TRAWLERMAN. A final surprise before we closed came from SIMON with a great chorus song MY NAME IS McCARTY followed by DON 7 HEATHER with GYPSY WOMAN before they re-combined with Robin and Paul as FREE SPIRITS for COME ALL YOU NO-HOPERS, YOU JOKERS AND ROGUES.

Newsletter No 400 18 October 2016

With a bunch friends in, DON, HEATHER & PAUL kicked off in the RED ROSE CAFE as BANJO JOHN went all sentimental with the GREENLEAVES OF SUMMER which made PAUL feel FOREVER YOUNG. Accompanying himself with his cello EDDIE told of THE GREEN EYE OF THE LITTLE YELLOW GOD before a new duo BRIAN with ANN both swore I’LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU making ROB claim I WISH I WAS BACK IN LIVERPOOL whereas ROD was ALREADY GONE. So it’s FAREWELL TO STROMNESS played HILARY as JO went AFTER THE GOLDRUSH but BAZ was on the Emerald isle where ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE while ANN was in Paris with the BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN and KATH & STAN were 500 MILES FROM MY HOME. Then SIMON came out with GLORY, GLORY, HALLELUJAH AS I LAY MY BURDEN DOWN and JAMES gave us his nice version THE GLORY OF LOVE before ED brought the house down with his MORRIS DANCER. Responding to a request DON, HEATHER & PAUL banded up for their DANCES FOR DOLLARS and BANJO JOHN kept us buoyed up with SINGING THE BLUES leaving JO, with I’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU, and EDDIE, with the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES and PAUL, with STEWBALL, to take us to the interval.

In the bumper raffle Jackie won the Champagne + CD, Kath won the box of Biscuits + CDS, Peter won the Chocolate orange + CD, Pam won the DIY Crackers + CD and Jeff on the Box of tea + CD before some Liverpudlian Groupies insisted ROB sang SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Then BAZ leapt to his feet with MAGGIE and more gently BRIAN came up with LATELY before SIMON introduced THE DEMON LOVER. Still in great form KATH & STAN sang WILLOW GLEN before HILARY played the STATON ISLAND HORNPIPE which left ROD to argue IF I WERE A CARPENTER. Next ANN responded with THE SWEET NIGHTINGALE but JAMES was still down with MY OLD FRIEND THE BLUES and ED was sad about the sinking of THE ROYAL CHARTER. With another request DON, HEATHER & PAUL sang their FLOWERS ON THE WATER and EDDIE told us THE NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE as KATH & STAN raised the tempo with that BANJO PICKIN’ GIRL. To end a great night PAUL sang us some JUG BAND MUSIC before ED, PAUL, DON & HEATHER capped it all with the very appropriate ALL THE GOOD TIMES. 
Newsletter No 399 11 October 2016

A full house arrived to celebrate Robin’s Birthday and was brilliantly stewarded by KATH & STAN who started off with THE FORSAKEN MERMAID before IAN livened proceedings with BOBBY McGEE and TREVOR told us to DON’T THINK TWICE. However, PAUL was still suffering from the HESITATION BLUES joined by KAMRAN with an old acoustic guitar told us ALL I GOT LEFT IS THE BLUES which set the scene for GORDON’s lovely version of BLACKWATERSIDE. As a general observation DON & HEATHER reckoned we were all PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE as poacher PHIL went out with his LONGDOG and JO took to the COUNTRY ROADS hastily followed by stalker ROBIN with COUNTRY ROADS MK ll because it was so emblazoned on his mind after intense practise. Next SIMON surprised us with WILD BILL JONES before ARTHUR took us to the pub FLANAGAN’S APPLE and BRIAN agreed with FOR THE GOOD TIMES. Then ANN & ROBIN came together for THE FEMALE DRUMMER and AL sang another of his own songs WILD EYED as HELEN was up to her neck in SAND AND WATER and JONATHAN & CHARLIE came up with their best yet I DUG UP A DIAMOND. Hurtling toward the buffet and chips KATH & STAN gave us the BALLAD OF DAN MOODY followed by KAMRAN with a brilliant version of JULIETTE before FREE SPIRITS took us down DARK AS A DUNGEON.

A bumper raffle saw digital demon Chris win the wine; Bob take the Biscuits; Gillian win the Beer; Simon win the History Book; newcomer Lauren take the Shower Gel and Alan win the Mug before ARTHUR responded to requests settling for his own DONEGAL. Returning with the popular FOG ON THE TYNE came PHIL followed by ANN with THE SHABBY OLD CABBY and GORDON with THE BONNIE BROOM. In romantic mood HELEN declared YOU’RE STILL THE ONE as AL sang the NEARLY SONNET 18 (Shakespeare) dedicated to his wife before, apropos nothing at all, TREVOR claimed IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE. Still finding little known gems SIMON then sang PONTIAC as PAUL still had the GOOD MORNING BLUES but ROBIN claimed THE BATTLE IS OVER but not for the people suffering after the hurricane as IAN reminded us the FOUR STRONG WINDS. Moving towards the climax of the evening KATH & STAN sang us DINK’S SONG as KAMRAN declared he was GOING TO BROWNSVILLE and ARTHUR said, but it’s AFTER MIDNIGHT. Simply, PHIL said I WISH YOU WERE HERE but HELEN was in HIGH GERMANY and FREE SPIRITS were aboard the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS on their way down the Mississippi Delta to end a great night of music and good craic.

Newsletter No 398 4 October 2016
With several people at his concert DON & HEATHER kicked off with Ralph McTell’s STREETS OF LONDON as DAVE turned to Bobby Daren’s DREAM LOVER and welcomed GRASSROOTS with PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED NOT LONG AGO. Following his gig the previous week BAZ repeated one of his greatest hits, BUNCH OF THYME, as BANJO JOHN went back to 1927 for SIDE BY SIDE and ROD returned to the origin of Fleetwood Mac for MAN OF THE WORLD. For ROBIN it was GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN as AL told us of his family’s history in WW1 which prompted him to write THE ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE. On a blue note PAUL had the WORKING MAN’S BLUES and DAVID was listening to HEARTBREAK RADIO while JAMES had the COCAINE BLUES. No wonder CHARLIE & JONATHAN were SO FAR AWAY and MICK said I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN as BANJO JOHN set off for the pub declaring THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN. Still in top form BAZ came back with PEGGY GORDON while Janice & Mick, GRASSROOTS, sang their own WITHOUT YOU as late comer RICHARD immediately took to the floor with WHEN HE RETURNS and FREE SPIRITS (Robin, Paul, Don & Heather) took us to the interval along the ERIE CANAL.

In the raffle Jill won the wine, Janice won the Chocolates, Vic won the Daffodil Bulbs and David took the CD before DON & HEATHER opened the second half with the DIAMANTINA DROVER swiftly followed by JAMES with a special request for his mega version of KANSAS CITY. Setting a personal best CHARLIE & JONATHAN unusually then sang a second, RICHARD COREY, before AL treated us to the first ever song he wrote on his journey to becoming a folk singer, WHAT’S IT TO YOU. Then ROD got Stoned with PAINT IT BLACK as DAVID turned to the interesting notion of FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY whereas PAUL gave us a simpler message with NO ONE KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT. Equally straight forward was RICHARD with BLIND WOODY McTELL by Bob Dylan and JAMES with EVERYDAY by Buddy Holly and ROD with LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE by the Eagles. Going back to Country ROBIN came up with a medley FRAULEIN/BLACKBOARD OF MY HEART/WILD SIDE OF LIFE before DAVID took a more modern approach with BROKEN STRINGS by James Morrison as AL showed us THE WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER with another of his own compositions. Coming to a climax RICHARD complained there is NEVER ENOUGH TIME before DON & HEATHER took us across THE BORDERLINE.


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