Newsletter No 454 28 November 2017

Getting off to a good start with a nod to St Andrew of Scotland DON & HEATHER kicked off with the SMUGGLER’S SONG from north of the border followed by MARK with his story of the Glasgow cat SAM THE SKULL and ALLEN raising the tone with Hamish Henderson’s 51st Highland Division’s FAREWELL TO SICILY. Then our resident Scot ROBIN got his Band Free Spirits together for ROSE OF ALLENDALE before we went with PETE and WHO’S PASSING DREAMS AROUND by Tom Paxton only for ED to return with the story of the HAGGIS HUNTER OF DUNOON. To cap it all BEN then came up with Karine Polwart’s song of death and depression THE SUN’S COMING OVER THE HILL and PAUL & ROBIN left claiming to be a PIPER TO THE END while PETER BRIDGE was satisfied with THE GIRL FROM THE HIRING FAIR by Ralph McTell. Then it was thank goodness for HILARY and more of her hilarious ONE-LINERS before KATH & STAN cast a MOON SHADOW over us and PETER KING sang one of his own songs MY OWN SWEET WAY. Late comer RICHARD GRAY was in sombre mood with ALL THE FRIENDS I EVER HAD ARE GONE and DON & HEATHER were even more down to earth with DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL as was ALLEN with his song Sassenach strife ERIN GO BRAGH. Coming to the interval PETER BRIDGE told of more strife between the British and American folkies that led to THE ZIMMERMAN BLUES before KATH & STAN took us all down to the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH.

In the bumper raffle Ben won the wine, Allen won the Roses Chocolates, Rose won the real Roses flowers, Jackie won the designer Scarf and Kate won the Hedgehog Cuddly Toys before ED & RICHARD attempted to beat the Club Record for the longest song, 9 minutes, but nobody could concentrate that long and we lost count as they sang Dylan’s DESOLATION ROAD. Fortunately PAUL came up with a singalong in WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL and PETE took us ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER before PETER KING sang WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. On the other hand BEN had been SMOKING TOO LONG and ROBIN was off to DENVER and RICHARD found he had a FORGETFUL HEART. As we began making for the door ALLEN had us sing I’M GONNA FOLLOW THE SUN (Donovan) and PETER BRIDGE & PAUL confessed that NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT and KATH & STAN were off with that BANJO PICKING GIRL leaving ROBIN and FREE SPIRITS to TAK’ A DRAM.

Newsletter No 453 21 November 2017

GRASSROOTS kicked off in great style with their own latest NOT ‘CAUSE I WANTED TO before DON, HEATHER & PAUL got a big band up with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER and newcomer MARK was plunged straight in with his own Halloween song JACK O’LANTERN. In their dreams SIMON & BEN told what they would do IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS which nearly made us laugh as much as with HILARY and her hilarious ONE-LINERS, no pun intended. For some reason BRIAN next wanted to DAMN THIS TOWN before PETE KING, now back in Manchester again, told us about his so far one and only ROYALTY CHEQUE. For PAUL everything was DARK AS A DUNGEON but for JAMES he told us I’M INTO SOMETHING GOOD and DENISE was on top in the battle of the sexes with A STITCH IN TIME. As you would expect CARL then came up with a great song, ALICE, and PETER swore TONIGHT I’LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU before ED took us back in time with THEY DON’T KNOW THEY’RE BORN. No wonder BEN was ALMOST BLUE and GRASSROOTS were BROKEN but MARK knew for a fact he was a FOLK SINGER. Heading for the interval BRIAN came up against the FACE OF GOD as DON, HEATHER & PAUL warned of the HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN and SIMON was caught like a RABBIT IN THE HEADLIGHTS.

In a bumper raffle Mick won the Bottle of Red Wine, Denise won the Chocolates, Ben took the Christmas Pudding, Sue won a DVD, Jackie won a Scarf and Brian and Mark won CDs before CLARE told us there’s NOT MUCH MUCK IN OUR HOUSE. Reminded by Pete’s reference to the Postie, CARL sang his own tribute to the post woman YOUNG ANNIE IN BLUE before DENISE told the assembled crowd NEVER WED AN OLD MAN and SIMON & JAMES shot off as RACING DEMONS. More calmly PAUL was seeking the CANDYMAN and JAMES introducing the UNKNOWN LEGEND before HILARY unveiled a few more ONE-LINERS and, any way up, PETER reckoned IT WILL SHINE WHEN IT SHINES. With another humorous take on folk clubs, PETE KING lamented the lack of variety with ANOTHER BLOKE WITH A GUITAR just as CLARE took out her flute for THE SWEETNESS OF MARY and GRASSROOTS declared he was HARMLESS. Another take on society was apparent in CARL’s song by Jake Thackray, BRIGADIER, as it was in MARK’s own song, CHAIRS AND TABLES, but too late as BRIAN was GONE, GONE, GONE. Starting a rousing finish DON, HEATHER & PAUL took us to Australia and the DIAMANTINA DROVER, before PAUL got the GOOD MORNING BLUES and DENISE went off with the DARK EYED SAILOR to which JAMES commented, I hope they AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’.........Magic!

Newsletter No 452 14 November 2017

With new hosts Heather & Simon in the chair DON & HEATHER started the evening by declaring WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL before PETE sang one of Tom Paxton’s best JIM and KATH & STAN went multi-instrumentally WESTERLY. This left HILARY to provide us with some humour in a few ONE-LINERS and BRIAN to give us some love with LET’S FIND EACH OTHER TONIGHT as IAN went instrumental for DREAM A LITTLE DREAM before poet DT DAVE gave the male and female perspective on marriage in ROSY & ROLIE by his friend Tom Snee. With the sad side of marriage breakdown GRASSROOTS explained WHEN YOU CRY, a joint composition, as PAUL recommended you should KEEP YOUR LAMPS TRIMMED AND BURNING as ANDY did with SETH DAVY. Returning to last week’s theme JONATHAN & CHARLIE were SHIPBUILDING and SIMON was still trying to get out of NORWICH JAIL. Fortunately, PETE cheered us all with his own BALBRIGAN FAIR as did KATH & STAN with SHAKE SUGAREE before BRIAN told us you can have ALL OF ME. On the other hand PAUL was off down the MOMOBILE LINE but JONATHAN & CHARLIE found the BLOOD’S TOO RICH before DT DAVE summed up the joys of THE PROSPECT pub in Runcorn (Tom Snee) and DON & HEATHER told us what they needed at the DIMMING OF THE DAY.

In the big raffle Heather K won the wine: Jill won the Chocolates: Simon won the Beer: Ian won the Ladies Perfume and Rosalie won the Festive Tray before GRASSROOTS started us off with another excellent joint composition BROKEN. With a solo composition RICHARD reviewed the British history of war summed up in THE LAST GREAT WAR whereas ANDY was LOOKING FOR THE MOON (Tom Paxton) so a few more ONE-LINERS from HILARY were a relief as was IAN’S instrumental arrangement of Sting’s FIELDS OF GOLD. Back to basics SIMON sang of the VIGILANTE MAN and KATH & STAN played us two tunes the RAKES OF MARLOW and the DORSET FOUR HAND REEL. However, PAUL still had the DRIFTING BLUES and DT DAVE also had the LONESOME LADY BLUES (T Snee) before PETE rose with his own BEAT THE DRUM to shake us up a bit. Building towards the end of a great night RICHARD mixed the traditional with a bit of Dylan and himself in FROGGIE WENT A COURTING and HILARY came up with more hilarious ONE-LINERS leaving IAN to wow us again with his instrumental AUTUMN LEAVES and ANDY to lead the ALABAMA RAID before DON & HEATHER took us all off to the RED ROSE CAFE to end another top night!

Newsletter No 451 7 November 2017

On a night with Remembrance Sunday in mind ROBIN Free Spirits kicked off the action with VACANT CHAIR followed by BANJO JOHN who introduced us to LILI MARLENE before PETE took us back to the DAYS OF 49. An interesting conundrum from BRIAN with NOBODY KNEW HIS NAME came next while MARK & JAN went back to the Peninsular war days for OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY with JOHN giving us a bit of light relief with his UMPAHPAH SONG. Serious in another way MARION told of THE BLANTYRE EXPLOSION, CARL sang his own excellent song ECHOES AND TOKENS and CLARE explained it was BECAUSE HE WAS A BONNY LAD. For SIMON it had all come DOWN TO THE SEEDS AND STEMS as DON & HEATHER went back to the theme with CALLING DOON THE LINE before DENISE diverted to THE RECRUITED COLLIER. Back on track ALLEN told us of his family’s history in the World Wars and summed it up with his own ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE as indeed did CHARLIE & JONATHAN with SHIPBUILDING and PAUL with a sing along medley starting with it’s a LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY. This left BANJO JOHN to take us up to the interval with the WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER followed by JAN and MOTHER, DAUGHTERS, WIVES.

After a bumper raffle in which Brian won the wine, Heather won the Xmas Pud, Carl won the Chocolates and promptly gave them to Sue for her birthday and Sue won the Biscuits HILARY had ‘em rolling in the aisles with her JOKES. CARL then was the serious one with WILLIE McBRIDE followed by PETE with HARVEST MOON and MARION appropriately with the JOY OF LIVING.  Another welcome visitor was RICHARD who explained how JOHN LOPEZ worked his magic and it inspired CLARE to sing and play us a GAELIC TUNE before JOHN introduced another war with the BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS which was ALL THE WAY UNDER for BRIAN. Also going back in time MARK & JAN sang of how THE BLUE COCKADE recruited which made SIMON think of THE DARK END OF THE STREET and ALLEN come up with THE DIGGER’S SONG by Leon Rosselson. This certainly made RICHARD want to get to THE HEART OF THE MATTER of his own relationships and also brought CARL to his feet with THESE COAL TOWN DAYS and PAUL to bring us all together for FENCES BY Arthur Marshall. This left us at the end of a very emotional evening to which DON & HEATHER provided the perfect thought of RECONCILIATION by Ron Kavana. Couldn’t have been better.


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