JUNE - 2017

Newsletter No 434 27 June 2017

A very pleasant and enjoyable evening with HEATHER KENYON supporting PAUL RILEY as he started up with WORRIED MAN BLUES but there were no worries as CHRIS had us all singing with OLD BONES (Jez Lowe) after which HILARY chipped in with THREE JOKES so no wonder GEOFF said it’s all BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT. Then briefly JO sought the quiet of some COUNTRY ROADS but ARTHUR MARSHALL soon put a stop to that by recalling the wild ceilidh night of MRS McGARRITY’S LAST DANCE before ROGER gave us another take on relationship breakdown with his ONE LAST RODEO. Next SUE requested CALL ME but, as AL explained, there no choices on his ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE as welcome newcomer CHRIS gave us an excellent Frailing Clawhammer Banjo instrumental, FROSTY MORNING and ANN echoed Al’s song with the haunting LILI MARLENE. On returning from holiday DON & HEATHER took us to Australia to meet the DIAMANTINA DROVER as JO was off with the TRAVELLING SOLDIER (Dixie Chicks) so no wonder ARTHUR was hearing his own VOICES. At this point CHRIS hit a cautionary with SUMMER LIGHTENING and LET ME DOWN EASY which had HELEN away LEAVING ON A JET PLANE and GEOFF singing ONE LAST LOVE SONG before CHRIS took us to the interval with a Banjo tune, SOLDIER’S JOY.

A bumper raffle saw Helen win the Port. Sue win the Ouzo, Jill win the Chocolates, Dave win the Humourous Book and Chris win the Purse before PAUL had us in La La Land with BROWN EYED GIRL (Van Morrison) before HILARY responded with a JOKE and a RHYME before AL hit another serious note with a nod to the 51st Highland Division as they bid FAREWELL TO SICILY. Then it was a sailor and the ROLLING SEA for SUE but ROGER was rooted back home with THE WORKING MAN as ANN & HELEN combined for STEWBALL. With a warning DON & HEATHER advised never wash your hands in MUDDY WATER but HELEN was already up with THE LARK as ARTHUR sang his OLD BONES STILL DREAM in honour of one of his mothers in law. Eager to give his new guitar a good work out GEOFF & SUE shot off on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS while CHRIS abandoned his for an a cappella PADDY’S NOT AT WORK TODAY and CHRIS stitched it all together with the Banjo tune, NEEDLECASE. Heading for a big finish ANN had us clear our throats with LOWLANDS AWAY while AL warned of the GOLD WATCH BLUES (Donovan) and DON & HEATHER measured the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS before PAUL banded us all up to steal Arthur Marshall’s FENCES since he had left 5 minutes earlier and wasn’t around to do it himself! A top night in anticipation of next week’s 4th of JULY PARTY NIGHT with our usual CHIPS and BUTTIES.

Newsletter No 433 20 June 2017

Another top night in the hands of KATH & STAN who pointedly started off advising us to KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE before BRIAN T looked back AS TIME GOES BY and BANJO JOHN, heeding the weather forecast, started SINGING IN THE RAIN. From serious to seriously funny ED told us about ERNIE, THE FASTEST LIBRARIAN IN THE WEST as we welcomed newcomer JOHN REED with his own song WATERGROVE FARM and PAUL turned to BLACK EYED SUSIE. In more upbeat mood JAMES then had us celebrating THE GLORY OF LOVE and JO wondered about the NEXT TIME ROUND as PHIL turned to Show of Hands’ COUSIN JACK. Then it was the turn of romantic BRIAN who treated us to an AMERICAN TRILOGY: LOOK AWAY, DIXIE & JOHN BROWN’S BODY, as ANN hailed the MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN and BEN gave us THE SWAPPING SONG. Back in formation SIMON & JAMES teamed up for SHADY LIES (Richard Thompson) as BANJO JOHN extolled the virtues of SWEET GEORGIA BROWN before JOHN REED addressed the issue of the world’s water supplies with his own, you can DRY THE LIFE out of me. Addressing another big issue KATH & STAN commented indirectly on a life in fishing with FIDDLER’S GREEN whereas to lighten things up BRIAN T explained how OLD PEOPLE ARE PUSHY leaving JO to be serious about MY LONELY SON and romantic BRIAN to become A LEGEND IN MY TIME as we hit the interval.

In the raffle Kath won the Red Wine, Phil won the White Wine, Ann won the Chocolates and Heather won the Box of Tea before BEN kicked off again with BOOGALOO JONES followed by PAUL with his PEG AND AWL. This stirred PHIL to THROW DOWN THE SWORD and SIMON to tell the story of DANNY ROSE (Richard Thompson) all of which gave ED the NASAL DECONGESTANT BLUES which would have put paid to the singing of ANN’s SWEET NIGHTINGALE. No wonder BRIAN T went off KILLING THE BLUES and JAMES set off at the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS but romantic BRIAN was unimpressed as he turned to SALLY which was right up our alley. In sympathy BEN turned to DOREEN but for some reason PHIL could only retort, Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm, from the CRASH TEST DUMMIES. Then we were back with JOHN REED who again in traditional mood sang another of his own great songs, STANDING STONES, and KATH & STAN played us a couple of tunes, TWIGLET and BODMIN RISING. This built up to a grand finale with PAUL and BLACK BOTTOM BLUES, ED and ALL THE GOOD TIMES are past and gone and SIMON & JAMES who took all down to GREENVILLE. A great night!! 

Newsletter No 432 13 June 2017

On this fine Tuesday evening a small but eclectic group of people turned up for a fine evening’s entertainment hosted by MARK and JAN who started by trying to send everyone to sleep with the lament about the Highland Clearances, HUSH, HUSH. KATH and STAN followed with THE MAN IN THE MOON, and then, despite all evidence to the contrary BRIAN was saying NOBODY KNEW HIS NAME. BANJO JOHN was next with MANHATTEN SONG followed by IAN with a very pleasant instrumental rendition of YESTERDAY. PETER BRIDGE sang LET ME DOWN EASY whilst ED was complaining that he was ALL USED UP. Next up was a newcomer to the club, Jon from Southampton, who was on business in Manchester and didn’t enjoy spending his evenings staring at the walls of his hotel room! We were in for a treat, as JON accompanied himself on a small and unusually designed all wooden banjo (built by “Back Yard Instruments”) in the USA, for WHEN AN OLD CRICKETER LEAVES THE CREASE. ANDY was our next contributor with CITY OF NEW ORLEANS which was chosen from a list he’d given to our hosts on his arrival before SIMON was CROSSING MUDDY WATERS. Bringing the first round to a conclusion PAUL sang DARK AS A DUNGEON. JAN began round 2 with THE VERDANT BRAES OF SCREAN and then BANJO JOHN with SHINE and MARK picked up on Paul’s mining theme with THE LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA. Late arrival, RICHARD, in his unique inimitable style, gave us BLACK TO GREY TO GOLD followed by TWO TUNES from KATH and STAN, THE RAKES OF MARLOW and the DORSET FOUR HAND REEL. BRIAN was next with the second lunar reference of the evening, WHEN THE MOON IS RISING and the hosts’ choice for Andy’s next song was BIRD ON THE WIRE with BANJO JOHN bringing us up to the interval with SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET.

After the raffle which saw Ros winning the red wine, Andy the Quality Street, Ken the plant and Gillian the body lotion stuff PAUL launched us into the second half with DRILL YE TARRIERS, DRILL followed by another instrumental from IAN, TENDERLY. Unusual BANJO JON, picking up on the earlier mining theme, then gave a fine recital of a poem THE LAST DEEP MINE IN ENGLAND with PAUL helping out with a haunting accompaniment on the harmonica. ED was next on a VISIT TO THE PALACE whereas PETER BRIDGE was in ENGLAND 1914 with SIMON expounding the joys of being a WEREWOLF. Then RICHARD started the last round with WHEN ANGELS CRY before another latecomer PETER M., gave a lovely rendition on Dougie MacLean’s version of THE MOUNTAINS OF MOURNE. IAN’S next instrumental was A PIECE WITH NO NAME (it was suggested “May in June” might be an appropriate name) followed by PETER BRIDGE and WINNIE’S RAG. The final choice for ANDY was CRAZY MAN MICHAEL then SIMON asked AFTER YOU’VE GOT WHAT YOU WANT before Southampton JON sang Ronnie Lane’s THE POACHER and ED had everyone in fits with TIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN. Finally KATH and STAN were sad about the FORSAKEN MERMAID, PAUL was GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING SAD and MARK & JAN rounded off a fine evening with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER.
Newsletter No 431 6 June 2017

Some people might think that the weather would put a dampener on things but that is impossible in Sale Folk Club as Ed & Sue lit the after burners on a wonderful evening which saw PAUL open the night with PUTTING ON THE STYLE (Lonnie Donegan) and to celebrate the life of VIN GARBUTT who had just passed away ED sang his CAROL ANN KELLY in tribute. Back to his roots PHIL played and sang CITY OF PLYMOUTH (Maggie Duffy) followed by ANN who sang VAIR ME ORO VAN O and BRIAN who played the ukulele and attempted to play the kazoo, the wrong way round initially, at the same time for I’M AN URBAN SPACEMAN. Then there was a big welcome for old friend ANN COJEEN who sang WHAT’S THE LIFE OF A MAN, in memory of Derrick Kenyon as it was one of his favourites. To lighten the mood HILARY came up with several very funny jokes before JOHN COJEEN sang, for the first time at our club, MY NAME IS DAN MURPHY which left late arrival BIG JOHN to be forced into singing DREAMS and end round one even before he had a chance to go to the bar. Gathering pace PAUL returned to sing and play HESITATION BLUES and ED rose to sing one on Dylan’s best, RAMONA, before disaster struck for the shipwrecked sailors in ANN’s lovely LORELEI. Fortunately PHIL as told us I’M ALRIGHT (Lowden Wainwright) as BRIAN went off with the UKULELE LADY and ANN COJEEN sang about the fate of the OLD MAID IN A GARRET. No wonder BIG JOHN next had us all singing along with THERE’LL NEVER BE ANYONE ELSE before JOHN COJEEN obliged again by singing the very funny GRUMPY OLD MEN OF ENGLAND and HILARY unleashed more humour with another joke. Well on the way to the interval ED gave us some advice with THE GAMBLER followed PHIL who played a beautiful instrumental version of THE SEAGULL before ANN was requested to sing THE SHABBY OLD CABBY which left BRIAN to having us tapping our feet to a medley of 5’ 2” EYES OF BLUE, YES SIR, THAT’S MY BABY and finally AIN’T SHE SWEET.

In the raffle John Cojeen won the bottle of French Red Wine; Brian won the African Monkey Balls which he wanted for his granddaughter; Ann won the large tub of Roses chocolates and very kindly shared them amongst us all; and Hilary very appropriately won the ‘Book of After Dinner Stories’ which she required for her next performance! Starting the second half MARIAN was persuaded to sing THE PLOUGHBOY before PAUL asked WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL and ANN COJEEN sang BLACK SHAWL and BIG JOHN sang Dean Martin’s EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOME TIME. Luckily HEATHER KENYON then stepped up to join in and read a very funny poem called DISASTER AT SEA and JOHN COJEEN then rose to sing THE FIREMAN before HILARY immediately read two of the stories from the book that she had just won in the raffle and she was very funny especially as she had forgotten her spectacles! Then, would you believe it, we entered round four with ED also reciting a poem this time with audience participation, SHURRUP YOU BLOODY LIAR, before PHIL took us IN A COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING as BRIAN teamed up with PAUL for extra verses in JESUS ON THE MAINLINE with a huge climax in sight. ANN started it with LUCY JORDAN before PAUL led us all for WILD MOUNTAIN THYME and ANN COJEEN turned to THE RECRUITED COLLIER. To finish JOHN COJEEN, who we had never heard sing before, impressed us all by never forgetting his words even on his fourth song of the evening, THE GOLDEN STREAM, as ED confessed YOU’RE MY BEST FRIEND and PHIL declared he was A MAN OF THE WORLD before BIG JOHN finally closed a brilliant evening at 11 pm with one everyone singing DREAM LOVER. Mega!

MAY - 2017

Newsletter No 430 30 May 2017

A good complement of performers heard PETE step up and BEAT THE DRUM which made BANJO JOHN think of MR TAMBOURINE MAN and ALLEN, back from his tour of Scotland, turn to THE WORKER'S SONG. By way of a change BRIAN THORNLEY thought of ROSE MARIE by Slim Whitman whereas MARIAN was reminded of THE GENTLEMAN SOLDIER and, by a more devious route, SUE dedicated WHEN I'M CLEANING WINDOWS to Banjo John whose mum knew George Formby but he claims he doesn't look like him. Turning to Ralph McTell CHRIS next sang about the STREETS OF LONDON followed by KATH & STAN with the BALLAD OF DAN MOODY and PETER who took the LAST TRAIN AND RIDE in keeping with the McTell theme. This prompted KAMRAN to observe AIN'T WE CRAZY and GEOFF to contemplate IN MY LIFE as did JO with MY YOUNGEST SON CAME HOME TODAY. Back on the train PAUL then came up with RAILROAD BILL as CARL thought of Ewan McColl’s FATHER'S SONG. Romantic BRIAN then surprised us with WIND DON'T HAVE TO HURRY by John Hiatt, which was not his usual basic three-chord-trick since it only has one chord, followed by JAMES with RED CADILLAC AND BLACK MOUSTACHE before SIMON joined with KATH & STAN to form the CUPPA-SOUPER GROUP for BONNIE PORTMORE. This left BANJO JOHN to comment THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE as JO & ANN led the chorus for AMAZING GRACE as the interval arrived.

The bumper Raffle saw a Bottle of Red go to Simon, a box of Chocolates donated by Simon go to Geoff, a Wooden Calendar go to Kate and Burt's Bees Smelliest go home with Paul. As we started the second period PETE then reminisced about WOODSTOCK which made ALLEN decide to sing his own WILD-EYED, dedicated to his wife, Jenny, but undaunted BRIAN still turned to MR WONDERFUL. Then another surprise popped up in the form of NEIL a newcomer from Spain who had to be persuaded to borrow Pete's guitar for PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE before PETER rose up for CORRINE (Blind Boy Fuller) and GEOFF went on a ONE WAY DONKEY RIDE with Sandy Denny. Confession time had SIMON saying I MISUNDERSTOOD (Thompson) as CARL set out to SCARBOROUGH FAIR and SUE ran off with BLACK JACK DAVY. Back with real life KAMRAN was lonely on BAKER STREET and JAMES was off TRAVELLING LIGHT but PAUL, with Simon & James, was all sweetness and TUPELO HONEY. This left BRIAN THORNLEY to set up the climax with RUNNING BEAR followed by STAN & KATH with OWENSBORO and the BANJO PICKING GIRL and finally the big band of CHRIS with Paul on harp and Pete on kazoo blasting us into the street with the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES. Magic!

Newsletter No 429 23 May 2017

As usual an interesting group of listeners and performers filled up the place before GRASSROOTS expressed it perfectly with MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE and BANJO JOHN was stimulated enough to embark upon TIGER RAG before CARL brought us to earth on the day of the bombing in Manchester with the anti-war song HELLO HANS. Then it was back to normal with SIMON & JAMES and SHIVER ME TIMBERS followed by ROBIN pleading COME BACK PADDY REILLY and BIG JOHN, on only his second visit, claiming to be THE KING OF THE ROAD. Still growing in this fertile atmosphere BEN almost went Biblical with FROM THE BEGINNING (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) before BRIAN asked DID I EVER REALLY LOVE YOU to which PAUL replied in the affirmative with the eulogy to Salford, DIRTY OLD TOWN. Then it was more Dylan from PETE who was ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER before DON & HEATHER recognised what it is to lose somebody with their FLOWERS ON THE WATER and ED was similarly soulful with the song of belonging to LAKE CHARLES. Back in time HELEN took us back to HIGH GERMANY just PHIL was leaving AMSTERDAM with Al Stewart but for JONATHAN & CHARLIE it was a case of BLOOD’S TOO THICK (Greg Lake). On a grander scale JAMES asked the bigger question of where are we all going in this world with Dylan’s SENOR before BANJO JOHN simplified it all in THE OLD TIN ROOF CAFE but for GRASSROOTS it was a JAR OF HEARTS and SIMON it was all going to wrack and ruin in THIS OLD TOWN (Janis Ian) and it was freezing cold with ROBIN up NORTH TO ALASKA as we took a welcome break.

The bumper raffle saw Ken win the Wine, Charlie win the Gremlin Cat, Janice win the Chocolates and pass them round before CARL started the second shift with his allegorical song FROM THE ARMOURY TO THE CROWN followed by BEN with R.S.V.P., a song in Franglais, whereas PETE KING rose up with A SIMPLE SONG. Appropriately BRIAN turned to the Beatles SOMETHING whereas PAUL went back in time for CORRINA, CORRINA as did PETE with LAST TRAIN AND RIDE. Also appropriately at this time ED was SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SEA if we don’t get our fishing rights back but no problem for HELEN with the illegal activity in the SMUGGLER’S SONG. On a lighter note PHIL sang WISH YOU WERE HERE and BIG JOHN fancied the GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND which was a LESSON TOO LATE for DON & HEATHER. Going classic Beatles PETE KING sang the note perfect BLACKBIRD before SIMON & JAMES teamed up for SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS and GRASSROOTS reflected on GAMES OF LOVE before BIG JOHN marched us into the street with WALK RIGHT BACK.

Newsletter No 428 16 May 2017

A propos nothing more than his wedding anniversary BANJO JOHN struck off with LOVE AND MARRIAGE while PAUL sang a JOCKEY FULL OF BOURBON and challenged us understand the words so thank goodness KATH & STAN were easy to follow with HER BRIGHT SMILE HAUNTS ME STILL. In good form with nice guitar work, BRIAN THORNLEY told us it was a LONG TIME COMING as a prelude to the SIMON, JOHN & MIKE band up for LUCKY MAN (Greg Lake) and SO LONG (Alex Campbell) which nicely led to JO unsheathing her guitar for a well received WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE. This certainly put IAN on his mettle and he responded well with his jazzy instrumental version of SCARBOROUGH FAIR before PETER upped the ante with BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER which set the stage for our visitor MIKE EATON from Truro to play the brilliant ZWEI TIMER WALTZ on his revolutionary Hurdy Gurdy. ANDY then responded with Richard Thompson’s PERSUASION and PETER BRIDGE sang and played an excellent TEQUILA SUNSET before BEN could stand it no longer and went POISONING PIDGEONS IN THE PARK (Tom Lehrer). Still in romantic mood BRIAN commented WHEN I FALL IN LOVE as JONATHAN & CHARLIE admitted they had REASON TO BELIEVE before BANJO JOHN took us out SINGING IN THE RAIN. Approaching the interval JO declared he’s NOBODY’S DARLING BUT MINE but for DON, HEATHER & PAUL it was all about the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS (John Prine).

In the bumper raffle Ian won the Sauvignon Blanc, Sue won the Rose wine, Barry won the big box of Tea, Brian Thornley won the Hanging Basket, Peter won the Fudge and Barbara took home the Purse. Starting the second half ED told the story of the WIDOW ON THE MOOR and MIKE EATON warmed up his Hurdy Gurdy for GALLOPEDE (English tune) and BLEAKING (Swedish tune) before JONATHAN & CHARLIE took the floor for their second and so far unnamed song. Again the big band of JOHN, SIMON & MIKE came to the fore with the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES followed by an instrumental by IAN called HALF WAY HOME as BRIAN responded with ONLY YOU. On the other hand PETER BRIDGE was off to SIN CITY which for BRIAN THORNLEY meant THROUGH THE MORNING THROUGH THE NIGHT and for BEN that THE SUN’S COMING OVER THE HILL. Calming us down ANDY took us off to CALEDONIA as KATH & STAN told us there’s NO TELLING WHAT A LOVE SONG CAN DO before PETER gave an experience with HEY JOE. Then there was a more outlandish experience of werewolves by SIMON that came with the warning DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER (Michael Hurley) so no wonder PAUL turned to BLUES IN A BOTTLE as we lifted off to fly away home with JOHN and YELLOW BIRD followed by DON, HEATHER & PAUL who led us in I’LL FLY AWAY followed by STEAL AWAY with great singing from the assembled throng. Magic!

Newsletter No 427 9 May 2017

KATH & STAN stewarded another sublimely eclectic evening of great music, song and excellent craic starting with MOONSHADOW before BANJO JOHN commented IT AIN’T NO SIN to dance around in your skin, just in case anyone was in any doubt, so no wonder PETE thought TONIGHT I’LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU. Swinging the world by the tail, BRIAN confessed he was KILLING THE BLUES to which HILARY responded by telling 3 very funny JOKES and DON & HEATHER admitted they had washed their hands in MUDDY WATER. A little uncertain still it was good to hear CARL come back with his own ECHOES AND TOKENS which was his original 1710 retitled. Also on top form SIMON & JAMES came up with the sweetest TUPELO HONEY to which BEN responded with SMOKING TOO LONG and MARIAN urged us to DRINK BOYS DRINK. More surreally ED recalled DYLAN’S DREAM before ROBIN & PAUL decided to TRY FOR THE SUN whereas PHIL went back basics at the HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. Back in time PAUL with his love of railways confessed I HATE TO HEAR K. C. WHEN SHE MOANS before 12-fingers CHRIS gave us WILLOUGHBY’S FARM & 8 FRAMES PER SECOND and then came show time as PHIL & DOM asked DON’T IT MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE? Coming up to the break RICHARD sang LET’S TALK IT OVER and BANJO JOHN wrestled with the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES before KATH & STAN informed us HEAVEN’S A BAR as we came up to the interval.

In the big Raffle the Tea was won by Jackie, the Chocolates went to Kath, a bottle of vintage Wine was won by Brian, appropriately the Muscle Soak was won by Heather Kenyon and finally the Purse was won by a bewildered Dom. Starting the second half BRIAN treated us to MARLENE just as PAUL got the MORNING BLUES and CHRIS embarked on WINNIES RAG. Then MARIAN rose to sing about WARS IN GERMANY and CARL celebrated the BOYS OF BELLY ROW before JAMES & PAUL embraced the BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY. Needing a good sing DON & HEATHER then recalled the GALWAY SHAWL before BEN gave us his interpretation of THE TEARS OF A CLOWN and ROBIN had us singing with DURHAM TOWN. After his long motor bike ride to see his Mum PETE gave us KATHY’S SONG as PHIL went philosophical about ISLANDS before ED explored the weakness of a CHASTITY BELT especially when there is a duplicate key. With a big finish looming RICHARD told it was TIME TO MOVE ON as SIMON went off with the ROVING GAMBLER and PHIL & DOM chased after MY DIXIE DARLING which left JAMES to consider all the THINGS WE SAID TODAY. A superb evening all round.

Newsletter No 426 2 May 2017

With a fairly full house and the visit from the Netherlands of Stefan van de Sande JAN & MARK began appropriately with ROTTERDAM as did CHRIS who suggested that with at least 20 performers we should WEATHER THE STORM. Modestly GEOFF told us YOU’LL HEAR BETTER SONGS THAN THIS so HILARY gave us the instrumental PRELUDE FOR A MUSICAL CLOCK (Handel) before obscurely KAMRAN sang about MOULD and BANJO JOHN explained about the CAKEWALKERS. Then STEFAN rose to tell us about his childhood by THE GREY GREEN SEA and DON & HEATHER were metaphorically KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER and BRIAN was complimenting someone on being an ANGEL FLYING TOO CLOSE TO THE GROUND. There was no doubting the message when PETE ROBERTS sang Dylan’s OXFORD TOWN as indeed it was clear what HELEN meant in WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES or ROBIN as he walked the STREETS OF LAREDO. However, SUE had REAL HOPE which couldn’t be dimmed when SIMON sadly noted that A BROTHER SLIPS AWAY and for BRIAN T there was NOTHING I LOVE. Optimistically PAUL suggested KEEP YOUR LAMPS TRIMMED before PETE explored neighbourly conflict with his I DON’T WANT YOUR COLLIE ON MY GARDEN and JAN warned fellow maidens of marrying a DANDY MAN. This week going solo DOM revealed his thought on THE YOB WHO STOLE MY GRANDMA’S HANDBAG to which HILARY played KEMPS JIG and BRIAN T commented LOVE IS THE SWEETEST THING before BANJO JOHN took us to the interval with an old jazz favourite MARGIE.

In the Raffle Hilary won the Wine, Jackie won the Chocolates, Ken won the Perfume Room Diffuser and Paul won the Luxury Coat Hangers before opening the second half STEFAN was able to treat us to a couple of songs from his latest 2017 Album choosing POEMS and I’LL BE HERE FOR YOU which had people reaching for their purses. No wonder CHRIS came up with I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT and MARK went instrumental with ALBATROSS. For KAMRAN, however, BLUES RUN THE GAME but for PETE ROBERTS it was all about survival with RABBIT HILLS as FREE SPIRITS hit the road home with WAGON WHEEL. The answer from BRIAN was to TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS but the secret for SUE & GEOFF was hidden in a ROSE TATTOO. It was all sadness from SIMON with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s JOHN DOE NO 24 and HELEN’S WHISKEY LULLABY but DOM cheered us with his GROWING OLD WITH NAOMI before PAUL took the floor to lead us homewards with STEP IT UP AND GO to end another top night of music and good friendship.

APRIL - 2017

Newsletter No 425 25 April 2017

An evening of old friends and new faces was begun by PAUL leading and band up for JAMBALAYA followed by BANJO JOHN with WAY DOWN UPON THE SWANEE RIVER so no wonder PETE claimed ISHALL BE RELEASED. Next MARK & JAN took us OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY and SIMON & JAMES told us of the COOKSFERRY QUEEN before JO sang of the GHOST OF A ROSE. No wonder COLIN commented SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH and CHRIS sang Knopfler’s story of RUDIGER the autograph hunter. DAVID (poet) then gave us his latest verse THIS OLD WORLD inspired by the Donovan song “I love my shirt” followed by CARL turned to Eric Bogle for THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA before newcomer PETE sang his extremely amusing JUST ANOTHER BLOKE WITH A GUITAR. Making a welcome return HELEN went traditional with ONCE I LOVED as BRIAN went for humour with OLD PEOPLE and PHIL was more ironic with RUSSIANS AND AMERICANS. With probably his only love song ALLEN sang his own NEARLY SONNET 18, after Shakespeare, before another newcomer BEN gave us his modern interpretation of the traditional SOLDIER, SOLDIER leaving MARIAN in the hands of WILLIE O’ WINSBURY. This gave way to our old friend FRANK HIVES with IF I WERE A CARPENTER and JO with AFTER THE GOLDRUSH and BANJO JOHN with MEAN TO ME.

The Big Raffle saw Ben win the Wine, Jackie win the Cider, Vic win the Room Perfume, Simon take the Biscuits and Dave win the Easter Egg before ROBIN opened the second half on FIDDLER’S GREEN and JAMES told us of the UNKNOWN LEGEND (Neil Young). Then better late than never in walked PETE KING with his own WORDS OF WISDOM to his 19 year old son followed appropriately by JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (Billy Joel) so DON & HEATHER thought to turn to their own story of emigration SOUTH AUSTRALIA. No wonder PHIL turned to ROCKS IN THE OCEAN as BRIAN admitted his BABY’S GONNA KICK him out as ALLEN gave us his own version of family strife with WHAT’S IT TO YOU and PETE followed with his own MELLOR ROAD BOOZING BLUES. Rising to his feet again BEN told the sad story of CRAZY MAN MICHAEL as SIMON returned with the BAR ROOM GIRLS and this left FRANK to lead us to the climax with THE LONGER THE WAIT THE SWEETER THE KISS (Josh Turner). Fortunately we then had PETE KING to sing his COME ON BLUES before we all followed PAUL on to the MIDNIGHT SPECIAL.

Newsletter No 424 18 April 2017

After a big welcome back PETE kicked off by KNOCKING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR followed by BANJO JOHN who said I SCREAM for ice cream before PHIL harked back to Easter with the LORD OF THE DANCE. In Ed’s absence JO was CALLING FOR YOU via Iris Dement as PETER went back in time to WW2 for the MAGINOT WALTZ which prompted the formation of a new band line-up with JOHN, MIKE & SIMON, soon to be known as MUSICAL DIFFERENCES, to sing Alex Campbell’s SO LONG. Struggling to choose from four versions MARIAN settled on one of THE TWO SISTERS but for IAN it was the NEARNESS OF YOU which mattered and for BRIAN it was all about PEGGY SUE. For the second coming together SIMON & KAMRAN told us I'D RATHER GO BLIND whereas CHRIS turned to the FAIR MAIDS OF FEBRUARY but this somehow gave KAMRAN the CANDY MAN BLUES. Coming to the interval ANDY observed WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES to which JAMES commented that it happens EVERYDAY before DON & HEATHER told us the RED ROSE CAFÉ was the place to go to while away more time.

 In the Raffle the Wine was won by Heather Kenyon, the Easter egg was won by Chris, the Key ring was won by Dave and the Body wash went to Rosalie before PETE sang his autobiographical MADAME WHISKY to which PHIL responded with a eulogy to his home town, the CITY OF PLYMOUTH. Quickly on his heel then came the MUSICAL DIFFERENCES aka JOHN, MIKE & SIMON with the more traditional DARCY FARROW and MARIAN followed suit with the DARK-EYED SAILOR and PETER with the WEEPING WILLOW. Also traditionally BRIAN turned to the BLACK VELVET BAND before CHRIS came forward with THE SETTING and SIMON jumped aboard his 1952 VINCENT BLACK LIGHTNING. In his wake IAN unveiled his own creation named after his home town, THE WALSDEN RAG, to which KAMRAN added Dylan’s MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE and ANDY added Elvis er..er Costello’s ALISON. No wonder JAMES went a WANDERING and DON & HEATHER were off DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL as we headed for a big finish started by JOHN, MIKE & SIMON who were in PARADISE. BRIAN again went traditional with THE LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL and PHIL again celebrated Easter with JESU JOY OF MAN'S DESIRING which made IAN appropriately think of HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE. This left ANDY to ask HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN before DON & HEATHER launched us singing into the street quietly with STEAL AWAY to end an excellent evening of good music, song and great craic.

Newsletter No 423 11 April 2017

As they rolled in GRASSROOTS took us back with THE LAST OF THE WIDOWS as PHIL turned to his favourite Al Stewart for the LEAGUE OF NOTIONS but for ROBIN it was good to be BACK HOME AGAIN. With another slant on travel DON & HEATHER said sometimes there’s NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL as BANJO JOHN looked forward with EASTER BONNET and KATH & STAN went off with the WAYFARING STRANGER. For JO there is nothing like the SOUND OF SILENCE which MARK broke beautifully with two tunes on his banjo, SADDLE THE PONY & BLARNEY PILGRIM, before ALLEN went north of the border for ERIN GO BRAGH. On the other hand CARL turned to Pete Morton for A STRANGER WITH YOUR HAIR before JANET sang the skit HOUSEWIVES’ CHOICE but for SIMON it was all about PAY DAY while ED searched for THE LOGGER who stirred his coffee with his thumb. Then 50 years after the recording of Sergeant Pepper JAMES decided YESTERDAY was appropriate but the nice weather prompted PHIL & DOM to think of BLUE SKIES as we bullied DOUGLAS to his feet for SALLY FREE AND EASY. With the interval in sight BANJO JOHN reminded us of THE OLD RUGGED CROSS to which JO said LET IT BE and ALLEN turned to his own PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE as JANET took us to the break with NORMANDY ORCHARDS.

The usual bumper Raffle saw Dom win the Wine, Simon win the Easter Egg, Alan win the Pasta Cooker, Douglas win the Harmonica and Dom’s friend win the Hand wash and Lotion before MARK took us to THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. Getting to his feet SIMON smelled the YELLOW ROSES as ED strolled ALONG THE VERDIGRIS and ROBIN was dragged around THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE before CARL introduced one of his latest songs that celebrated our Postal Service, YOUNG ANNIE IN BLUE. Again with Al Stewart PHIL crossed THE DARK AND THE ROLLING SEA while PHIL & DOM sailed across the sea for A SONG FOR IRELAND leaving DOUGLAS back home with the POOR OLD WEAVER’S DAUGHTER. Over in the USA DON & HEATHER got out of jail with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER leaving KATH & STAN in the WILLOW GLEN and JAMES to go Elvis with A FOOL SUCH AS I. Then it was back in the tradition for GRASSROOTS with Mick’s original arrangement of THE TREES ARE GETTING HIGH before MARK announced it was a SUNNY AFTERNOON and ROBIN told the story of the LONG BLACK VEIL. Reaching for a climax to a great evening CARL sang THANKSGIVING as KATH & STAN took the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND and SIMON & JAMES combined brilliantly for SHE THINKS I STILL CARE before DON & HEATHER recruited ED, as lead singer, and ROBIN, for harmonies, as they sang us into the night with ALL THE GOOD TIMES which happen here every Tuesday.

Newsletter No 422 4 April 2017
A slow start soon ignited by BANJO JOHN with an AL JOLSON MEDLEY set ALLEN thinking IT ALL SEEMS A LONG TIME AGO and JOHN remembering BIG JIM by the 5-Penny Piece Band. Surprisingly CHRIS then came up with BIG RIVER after his wife reminded him he knew it as JANET went with BARGES and ANDY turned the year after THE JANUARY MAN. Also digging deep DON & HEATHER gave us McColl’s MOVING ON SONG which left CARL to go SINGING THE AGES DOWN and IAN off to GEORGIA with an immaculate guitar instrumental. On top form JONATHAN went solo with Crosby’s ALMOST CUT MY HAIR before SIMON & KAMRAN made a new duo for WEARY BLUES by Hank Williams and the new line-up of the GRAPHENE CITY BAND (Phil, Naomi and Chris) made their debut at Sale Folk Club with RICH AND POOR BLUES. Keeping us on a high PHIL & DOM had us all singing with BLACK IS THE COLOUR as did PAUL who had RAMBLIN ON MY MIND and ROBIN who was mellowing on WATERMELON WINE. This left BANJO JOHN to remember Fats Waller with WHEN SOMEBODY THINKS YOU’RE WONDERFUL and CHRIS to turn to the HANDS OF JOSEPH which inspired JONATHAN to find the real folk song DEATH OF QUEEN JANE.

The usual interval Raffle saw John win the Wine, Allen wint the tea, Phil win the Room Fragrance and Chris win the Tea Cosy. Starting the second half JANET promised us JERUSALEM TOMORROW (David Olney) but for ANDY it was SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN before JOHN lifted us back up with ME AND BOBBY McGEE. It was then into the FIELDS OF GOLD with IAN’S solo guitar before JONATHAN told us he’s a ONE MAN GUY to which CARL replied IF WISHES WERE FISHES. For ALLEN, however, it was just LIFE as the GRAPHENE CITY BAND became a bit political with I’VE NEVER SEEN AN MP followed by the somewhat green GRAIN AND FLOUR. Another tour de force was then delivered by SIMON & KAMRAN who gave us a brilliant version of The Free’s OH I WEPT before KAMRAN stay solo for DADDY WHERE YOU BEEN to which DON & HEATHER’S reply was, “When I go just lay my head on a KEG OF BRANDY!” No wonder PAUL decided he was HOMEWARD BOUND and ROBIN thought it was time for his LAST FAREWELL which left PHIL & DOM to raise us up with a SKIFFLE MEDLEY including the WORRIED MAN BLUES and finally blew us away with ELIZABETHAN by the legendary Magna Carta. Top whack!

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.

FEBRUARY - 2017

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!

DECEMBER - 2016

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.

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