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.