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! 


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