JANUARY - 2016

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Newsletter No 362 26 January 2016

Despite the gloomy weather forecast hosts MARK & JAN greeted a lively gathering with the rousing YE JACOBITES in honour of Burns’ Night which Scotsman ROBIN followed with LYING EYES and CARL chose CAT’S IN THE CRADLE. Still on the Scottish theme PAUL was that PIPER TO THE END and JANET was really traditional BY YON CASTLE WALL but for TREVOR it was like SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN. Then we gave ROB the thumbs up after his operation to remove some bone from one of his as he led us to SOUTH AUSTRALIA but BANJO JOHN was busy SETTING THE WOODS ON FIRE while COLIN sang Jimmie Driftwood’s HE HAD A LONG CHAIN ON. To follow that DON & HEATHER summoned help from ROBIN & PAUL for NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL which was much the same theme as JO’s song SONNY’S DREAM while JAMES went for the jugular with FOREVER YOUNG. Long time no see DAVE then livened us up with THINGS before ED gave us the sad story of RED HEADED ANN and JOAN read some more of HER MOTHER’S STORY OF JOAN’S BIRTH AT THE END OF WWll before CHARLIE & JONATHON shipped up with WEATHER WITH YOU. Heading for the break JAN went solo with the beautiful NOW WESTLIN’ WIND to which BANJO JOHN said FETCH IT ON DOWN TO MY HOUSE and COLIN asked WHERE WILL THEY GO to which DAVE replied off to FIDDLER’S GREEN.

Another bumper raffle saw Vic win the Champagne and pass it to Barbara's charity, Heather won the Whisky and gave it to Ed, Sue won the White Roses, Alan won the Chocolates, Trevor won the Haggis and Jan & Mark won the Robbie Burns Beer. Then starting of the second half JAMES introduced MY OLD FRIEND THE BLUES as ROB confessed to COURTING TOO SLOW but MARK was more basic with LAY LADY LAY, however, DON & HEATHER said they WOULDN’T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. Also plain speaking TREVOR looked forward to when ONLY THE RIVERS RUN FREE and ED had his own advice with LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE WHERE THEY WILL before PAUL had us all chasing the BLUES IN A BOTTLE. No wonder CARL preferred A TASTE OF HONEY and JAMES commented THINGS HAVE CHANGED as ROB took himself off to the RAWTENSTALL ANNUAL FAIR. Not surprising DAVE admitted I’VE GOT THE BLUES and CARL was off with THE DEMON and TREVOR was LEAVING. Coming to a climax PAUL was GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD just as ED was telling us ALL THE GOOD TIMES are passed and gone leading DON, HEATHER, PAUL & ROBIN to invite us to STEAL AWAY and MARK & JAN offered us a parting glass in SO HERE’S TO YOU to end a great evening. Excellent!


Newsletter No 361 19 January 2016

A full house and extra chairs greeted PAUL & ROBIN who stewarded the host of talent starting with FREE SPIRITS who chose to see them as NO HOPERS, JOKERS AND ROGUES before GEOFF celebrated the DESPERADO in memory of Glen Frey. Also rising to the occasion JAMES gave us a great blues version of HOW LONG before ANN told us the story of LORELEI and ALAN, a new face from Midlands tried to tell us I'M A WAYFARING STRANGER. With his own version BRIAN insisted LOVE IS THE SWEETEST THING as FAIR PLAY were off to the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH and COLIN was searching for A BETTER WAY TO BE, leaving HILARY to play THE LORD'S SEAT on her guitar. Then who should walk through the door but PETE KING not with a new song but LIFE ON MARS as a tribute to David Bowie swiftly followed by very welcome guests DAVE CARTWRIGHT & HOWARD WOOLLEY also celebrating Glen Frey with TEQUILA SUNRISE and then FIRE AND RAIN (J Taylor). Next our own highly talented CARL turned to Jez Lowe for THE LONE BADGER as JO went off DOWN BY THE SALLY GARDENS but locked in his own time warp PHIL celebrated David Bowie with SPACE ODDITY. Then by way of a complete change SUE asked for A KIND OF HUSH as ED went back to WWll with AL BOWLLY'S IN HEAVEN before KEN told us YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND and ARTHUR also went off-piste with his CAN'T COMPLAIN. Even further off piste went DAVID playing with ELECTRIC TRAINS by Squeeze so no wonder JANET went more traditional with WHEN THE SNOW OF WINTER FALLS by Graham Miles and JAMES led us to the interval with THE SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONLINESS.

The bumper raffle befitted the large gathering and Joan took home the Baklavas, Carl won the wine, David lifted the torch set, new boy Alan took the biscuits and Alan won the CD before ALAN himself returned with SLIP SLIDING AWAY to which COLIN replied TAKE IT EASY. Then JOAN came up with more of her Mum's MEMORIES OF TRAFFORD PARK. Then as if to prove his loyalty PHIL came up with THREE MULES by Al Stewart which had BRIAN saying I'm GONE, GONE, GONE. This time as a duo SUE & GEOFF sang LADY OF PLEASURE followed by another instrumental by HILARY called GEORGE BRABAZON followed by FAIR PLAY with BLACK MOUNTAIN LULLABY and ED's telling of THE MIGHTY HAGGIS HUNTER, the prelude to Burns' Night. For ARTHUR there was definitely NO RIVER TO CROSS to which KEN mused OH! WHAT A SHAME and ANN was DEFYING GRAVITY. Then as we headed for the customary big finish DAVE sang REQUIEM leaving DAVE & HOWARD to set us on THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS followed by JACK with SCARBOROUGH FAIR. Then it was back with DAVE & HOWARD to first set us up with the lyrical AFTER YOU'VE GONE before kicking us into the street with A WHOLE LOTTA SHAKING GOING ON. We haven't recovered yet!! Magic!!! 

Newsletter No 360 12 January 2016

Smooth as silk were hosts GRASSROOTS as ensured the assembled talent delivered for a very receptive audience as they started off with MOCKINGBIRD. Then swiftly on his feet BANJO JOHN had us all singing with MR TAMBOURINE MAN which filled BRIAN with SORROW as ED gave us advice from THE GAMBLER. Not interested ROBIN soon shot off NORTH TO ALASKA as JANET rose to celebrate her birthday with I'M STILL STANDING. For DAVE COWE he was happy to tell us about THE SCHOOLBOY as TONY debuted with SONG FOR THE ASKING (Simon & Garfunkel) to which SUE replied with David Bowie's AFTER ALL. Next, politically fired up, CARL taught us THE AUSTERITY ALPHABET as DON & HEATHER were looking at another aspect of migrants with ACROSS THE BORDERLINE and no doubt ANN's song DARK AS A DUNGEON come to mind sometimes. Very traditionally PAUL followed the fortunes of GEORDIE as did EDDIE with MY LOVE IS LIKE A RED, RED ROSE in rehearsal for Burn's Night before JOHN CHILCOTT took the floor with THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE, E McColl's greatest hit and PHIL drew it all to a close with CIRCLE'S END. With his own excellent interpretation GEOFF confessed I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU before ARTHUR gave his opinion on the Doctor's Strike with THERE AIN'T NO PROFIT IN THAT leaving MARION with MOLLY AT MORN. Coming up to pumpkin time BANJO JOHN was WAITING FOR THE ROBERT E LEE and JOHN CHILCOTT joined him in the queue with RAINY DAY PEOPLE as the interval loomed. 

A tasty raffle gave the Prosecco to Mick, the biscuits to Carl, the chocolates to Arthur, the head massager to Martin and the CD to Sue & Geoff before GRASSROOTS restarted with PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED. Next CARL well covered LADY ELEANOR as ANN shot off to WIDDECOMBE FAIR and DAVE COWE recited a SALUTATION. This made PAUL exhort us to LAY ME DOWN A PALETTE ON YOUR FLOOR and EDDIE to give us his instrumental rendition of TEDDY BEAR'S PICNIC and DON & HEATHER to get off to Dublin for some RARE OULD TIMES. Even more serious ED was off DOING THE MANCHE as TONY unveiled another Simon & Garfunkel in APRIL COME SHE WILL and still across the Pond ROBIN was over in DENVER. Out of season but GEOFF it felt like SUMMER'S END while MARION was off with BILLY ARMITAGE and BRIAN was at the DARK END OF THE STREET building up to a climax. Suitably warned ARTHUR was at MRS McGARRITY'S LAST DANCE and SUE had us all band on for WAGON WHEEL before PHIL gave us some respite with VINCENT which left GRASSROOTS singing us into the street with LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT. A perfect end to a great evening.  

Newsletter No 359 5 January 2016

The New Year was welcomed in with a sublime evening in the safe hands of hosts KAMRAN & PETE and with our Digital Demon CHRIS ROSS' finger on the shutter we were all set as PETE appropriately set off with his NEW YEAR SONG. Soon on his feet BANJO JOHN went back in time with AFTER YOU'VE GONE before ARTHUR went all modern with his own BILLY THE LEPRECHAUN leaving KATH & STAN to swing back in time with HER BRIGHT SMILE HAUNTS ME STILL. Somewhere in the middle ROBIN declared its GOOD TO BE BACK HOME as PHIL introduced the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER as ANN celebrated THE TROUT. Then with a new one to most people KAMRAN sang RISE and JAMES followed suit with an UNKNOWN LEGEND before PAUL demonstrated some nice banjo frailing on Zoe Mulford's WELCOME IN ANOTHER YEAR. Then after the furniture van arrived EDDIE treated to THE GREEN EYE OF THE LITTLE YELLOW GOD accompanied by his Cello. Drifting in late RICHARD GRAY asked us WHAT WAS IT YOU WANTED with his own composition as DON & HEATHER croaked their way through HONKY TONK MAN and JOAN asked WHAT'S IN A FACE from her Mum's Memoirs. Then slithering toward the Mulled Wine and Mince Pies BANJO JOHN asked us AM I BLUE to which ROBIN said he had a PEACEFUL EASY FEELING leaving ARTHUR to sing his own tribute to THE WINDS OF CONNEMARA.

The usual bumper Raffle saw the Red Wine go to Dolan, the Biscuits go to Pete, the Diary go to Eddie and the chocolates reside with Martin. Both the biscuits and chocolates were soon circulating as PAUL told us about the train in KC MOAN. Still keeping the faith PETE had REASON TO BELIEVE as PHIL took to THE DARK AND ROLLING SEA (Al Stewart) and ANN & ROBIN went Country with a MEDLEY including Honky Tonk Angels. THAT'LL BE THE DAY reckoned EDDIE as KAMRAN was looking for THE MAN IN THE LONG BLACK COAT and JOAN was recollecting THE CAR her Mum bought. Then time for a couple of tunes from KATH & STAN with THREE AROUND THREE and COME TO THE CEILIDH as JAMES set out in the EARLY MORNING RAIN and DON & HEATHER again croaked their way KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER leaving RICHARD to ask WHERE DID THE GOOD TIMES GO? Sensing the finishing line PAUL recruited ARTHUR with Stan's violin for CORNBREAD & BUTTERBEANS but PHIL insisted he was a ONE MAN GUY as ROBIN headed back to his roots for JOCK O' HAZELDEAN. All ways round ANN was glad that ALL MY TRIALS, LORD, WILL SOON BE OVER and they certainly were as EDDIE related the story of FRANKIE & JOHNNY and things were certainly tough in lead mining as KATH & STAN discovered in THE CENSUS which left JAMES to lead us in a band up for AIN'T MISBEHAVING to complete a great night.