AUGUST - 2016

Newsletter No 393 30 August 2016

BANJO JOHN commenced the evening by announcing that he was playing JOHNNY B GOOD and asked Paul and Bernard Cromarty to accompany him. They both looked bewildered when he started to play and sing ‘ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN’ but they adjusted well and were all playing the same thing by the end of the tune. No wonder Jeremy Paxman was having a rant. KATH & STAN then enchanted us with WATERBOUND and DAVE encouraged us all to sing along with him on BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN before, following one of his usual jokes, PETE gave us ST JAMES’ INFIRMARY BLUES. Next ROB returned to us after an injury to his ribs and two weeks confined to lying flat on his back without the aid of alcohol and he had brought his guitar to finally sing and play GALWAY GIRL after threatening to for months. SIMON then sang unaccompanied DENOMINATION BLUES by Washington Phillips and GORDON played and sang Archie Fisher’s lovely THE BROOM A’ THE COWDENKNOWES before JO sang an unaccompanied DON’T THINK TWICE by Bob Dylan. The new duo of PAUL with Bernard on Tin Whistle sang and played ALL AROUND MY HAT which who knows could have driven MARK & JAN to sin OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY before ED amused us with Benny Hill’s GARDEN OF LOVE. Also getting a bit fraught LESLIE was initially going to sing something with his ukulele accompaniment but changed his mind and sang a cappella ADMIRAL BENBOW as IAN picked up his guitar for SETH DAVY and CHRIS treated us to a beautiful lengthy rendition of THE FERRY MAN. Continuing the unaccompanied theme MARIAN gave us SPENCER THE ROVER and BERNARD finished the round with his jolly SINKING OF THE TITANIC to which BANJO JOHN replied with THE ST LOUIS BLUES and GORDON sang and played a moving LAKES OF PONTCHARTRAIN. Then MARK & JAN had us all singing along to LAZING ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON before BERNARD shouted up his favourite BIG YELLOW TAXI whilst we all became the backing artists. PAUL then sang the sea shanty BULLY IN THE ALLEY and PETER sang IF NOT FOR YOU and the joke was improved this time around as KATH & STAN took us down the BAY OF BISCAY-O before MARIAN sang the PRETTY MAIDS OF GREENWICH.

Somewhere about now we had the interval Alan won Paul Robson CD’s, Kath & Stan won the French Red Wine, Michael (first time visit) from Lymm won the box of PG Tips T-Bags, the new couple from Runcorn & Sale (whose names escape me) who won the apples last week, won the box of Quality Street and another new couple who came last week, won the box of Scottish shortbread biscuits. Then it fell to DAVE to sing BAD MOON RISING by Creedence Clearwater Revival before ROB with Mark on harmonica sang and played guitar IT’S GOOD TO SEE YOU and you Rob hopefully shaken not stirred. Getting all serious ED then sang THE PILGRIM and equally serious IAN sang LITTLE OLE WINE DRINKER ME and LESLIE sang unaccompanied again for ONCE I HAD A TRUE LOVE. This led CHRIS to sing a great version of THE OUTLAW before SIMON finished the round with BACHELOR’S HALL. Finally running out of time so we had to be selective to complete this great evening so GORDON was requested to sing FROM CLARE TO HERE (Ralph McTell) and PETE sang his own MELLOR ROAD BOOZING BLUES before MARK & JAN took us all off to JACKSON. This left PAUL & SIMON to play excellent banjo together with PAUL singing MAMMA DON’T ALLOW NO SINGING AROUND HERE which excellently teed up BERNARD for a fantastic end to a very atmospheric evening with IT ALL MAKES WORK FOR THE WORKING MAN TO DO followed by some CAROUSEL TUNES and finally WILL YE GO LASSIE GO as we sung our way into the street. Top night everybody!

Newsletter No 392 23 August 2016

It was great to have Kamran & Pete back in harness again and PETE started the ball rolling with a HEART LIKE A WHEEL which straight way had BANJO JOHN LEAVING ON A JET PLANE with SUE having just enough time to say CALL ME (Blondie). As far as ROD was concerned it was DON'T THINK TWICE but JAMES thought there was some SWEET LITTLE MYSTERY and PAUL decided to ROW THE OLD CHARIOT ALONG. Thinking Olympics HILLARY played us RIO BY NIGHT before JOHN teased us with THE QUESTION SONG and JOAN had us laughing at her MUM'S SECONDARY SCHOOL YEARS. Only just returned from holiday ROBIN paradoxically gave us his LAST FAREWELL as KAMRAN raced out to get a SPOONFUL which for GEOFF was THE LAST THING ON MY MIND. Paying a return visit DAN brought the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY but SIMON was still down in the HEARTBREAK HOTEL and ED was looking for some ABSENT FRIENDS and found one in RICHARD, late as usual, if TRUTH BE KNOWN followed by DIANNE who recited her own poem, WELLINGTON BOOTS, about her late partner. Finally BANJO JOHN said I’m off WALKING MY BABY BACK HOME as crashed into the interval and the Raffle.

From a whole bunch of prizes the hanging basket went to Gillian; the apples went to Barbara, the plums went to Geoff; the white wine went to Alan and the Buck's Fizz went to Jeff before PETE chose to BEAT THE DRUM and start the second half. PAUL then took us after SPENCER THE ROVER to which JAMES said HE'LL HAVE TO GO. Still in Brazil HILLARY invited us TANGO ESTE NOCHE and in similar vein DAN sang about PANCHO & LEFTIE (Townes van Zandt) before JOAN told us a funny story about a knitted swimsuit called THE DROPOUT. Enough said! Appropriately ROD then came up with THE WEIGHT and SUE was in the USA for JAMBALAYA as was KAMRAN with the AVALON BLUES. For JOHN he had a different AIM IN LIFE as GEOFF asked WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW? Of course she will! Not sure about SIMON who was at the DARK END OF THE STREET or RICHARD hallucinating about ME AND MY SUPER BLUE CAPE. Deadly certain, though, about ED and his COMICAL GENIUS and DAN and his OLD MAN and doubly deadly certain about PAUL banded with James, Kamran, Ed & Simon for JESUS ON THE MAINLINE to finish a great night.

Newsletter No 391 16 August 2016

An extremely pleasant evening was conjured up by KATH & STAN who were greeted by a good crowd with MOONSHADOW followed by BANJO JOHN declaring a STORMY MONDAY with PAUL and then PHIL exposing the POST WW2 BLUES of his mentor Al Stewart so no wonder PAUL lamented being out IN THE EARLY MORNING RAIN. Next we had a visitor on his way home to Cornwall in the form of TERRY GODSON who sang an old favourite SENOR before PAULINE, still in WW2 told us about SOLDIERS TREATED LIKE SLAVES so no wonder SIMON took off on his VINCENT BLACK LIGHTENING 1052. Then our first newcomer NAOMI delighted us with THE GARTEN LOVERS LULLABY which prompted PETE to respond TONIGHT I’LL BE STAYING HERE WITH YOU while covered in confusion ED confessed I MISS MY BRAINS THE MOST. Don’t worry sang JO with WE SHALL OVERCOME and our second newcomer JOHN COSGROVE optimistically replied EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME to which the third new face JOHN STEEDMAN declared he was THE REBEL. This left JOAN to give us MORE OF HER MUM’S MEMORIES before BANJO JOHN was recalled to tell us I GET THE BLUES WHEN IT RAINS and for KATH & STAN it seems MONDAY MORNING (Cyril Tawney) is a bit of a problem before TERRY GODSON capped it all by saying to him it was FOREVER AUTUMN (War of the Worlds). Thank goodness for NAOMI who offered to walk us out in THE MORNING DEW and PAUL who was GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD as the interval came upon us.

The usual raffle saw the Biscuits go home with Ken, the Beer go to Alan, the Wine leave with Paul and the CD leave with Pauline before JOHN COSGROVE kicked off the second half by seeing THE GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND. Another bit of bad behaviour was described by PAULINE in the story of MINING UNDER THE GERMAN TRENCHES WW1 to which PHIL added his FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS and on a personal level ED confessed OH LORD IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE. More optimistically PETE was away SEARCHING FOR A HEART OF GOLD and JOAN was telling us about HEALTHY EATING ACCORDING TO HER MUM. Next JOHN STEEDMAN came back with a great version of DARCY FARRELL while SIMON was phoning JESUS ON THE MAINLINE and KATH & STAN were off to the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH. Making a quick return JOHN STEEDMAN said he had found his DREAM LOVER to which HELEN replied ONCE I LOVED and PETE said that always brings out THE BEST IN ME. Heading for a big finish ED was out with MACALPINE’S FUSILIERS and PHIL amused us with MMMM, MMMM, MMMM before PAUL led us all to the door with the SLOOP JOHN B for a top night!

Newsletter No 390 9 August 2016
A good sized audience was welcomed by MICK who started on a sombre note with THE LAST OF THE WIDOWS before BRIAN warmed us with MY ROMANCE and STAN with KATH confessed HER BRIGHT SMILE HAUNTS ME STILL. Then back from his sojourn in France PETE took us south of the border for BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER while ANN was where it was DARK AS THE DUNGEON and certainly there was none of the MR BLUE SKY that DAVID sang about. Going back to WW1 PAULINE next gave us some poetry FROM GALLIPOLI before BAZ unsheathed his new guitar to sing THE WATER IS WIDE which had us all singing as did PAUL with COUNTRY ROADS and IAN kept it going with LITTLE OL’ WINE DRINKER ME. With a change of mood JO suddenly declared he’s NOBODY’S DARLING BUT MINE as ED celebrated CALEDONIA and LESLEY went all rural in the West Country with JOLLY COUNTRY FOLKS WE BE. Certainly DON & HEATHER didn’t have ALL THE ANSWERS as JAMES turned to the Beatles for I WILL and MICK responded with I’LL GET YOU which made KATH & STAN go off and take the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND and JO to say she was LEAVING ON A JET PLANE. Still in romantic mood BRIAN definitely was A LEGEND IN MY TIME before PAUL took us to the interval with the story of RAILROAD BILL.

A bumper raffle saw Alan win the White Wine, Dave win the Red Wine, Mick win the CD, Doreen win the Box of Biscuits and Jackie win the Knapkins before LESLEY opened the second half with the ROSE OF ALLANDALE. Raiding the tempo JAMES wished he could SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE as IAN warmed himself around the LITTLE POT STOVE as ED explained WHY PADDY’S NOT AT WORK TODAY. Then back to WW1 with PAULINE introducing SUNDAY SCHOOL SONGS IN THE TRENCHES sung to hymn tunes. For DAVID, however, NOTHING EVER HAPPENS which could have applied to ANN who was fishing for THE TROUT but for BAZ it was clear that RED IS THE ROSE as PETER took off to America for WOODSTOCK. On this side of the Pond FREE SPIRITS celebrated Salford that DIRTY OLD TOWN as KATH & STAN decided to say their THE LAST GOODBYE but BRIAN replied i DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. Back to seeing the funny side ED then delivered Les Barker’s skit in Little Red Riding Hood with MI HUSBAND’S GOT NO PORRIDGE IN ‘IM and LESLEY had us singing the tongue twisting GOODBYE, GOODBYE before sanity returned when DAVID turned to the Beatles for IF I FELL. Heading to a climax PAUL gave us some JUG BAND MUSIC before we sang ourselves out with IAN and FOUR STRONG WINDS followed by JAMES with a Beatles Song and FREE SPIRITS urging us all to STEAL AWAY.

Newsletter No 389 2 August 2016

Getting off to a lively start MARK & JAN welcomed everyone including YE JACOBITES and ED with his POOR DITCHING BOY. Giving us a clear view of things SUE reminded us of her day job with WHEN I’M CLEANING WINDOWS as JO went more philosophical with BLOWING IN THE WIND while BANJO JOHN was on the SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET. On the other hand ROD wanted more action with a REVOLUTION and, as PAULINE told us in the FRANCIS LEDWICH STORY (Pt 1), there was plenty of that in WW1. A little later from the seventies DON & HEATHER took us back to the BANJO MAN who famously sang “Trouble on my mind” but GEOFF retorted HE’LL HAVE TO GO only for PAUL to take the hint and go off to THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN. Also back in time JOAN continued HER MOTHER’S STORY with THE GRANDCHILDREN only to bump into RICHARD and his STREET PREACHER and JONATHAN who was proclaiming I’m a ONE MAN GUY. Then we had a special treat as MICHELLE & BONZ walked through the door strangely to wish us FARE THEE WELL to which MARK & JAN replied WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES and BANJO JOHN said you can DREAM for which GEOFF reckoned there was plenty of TIME. Heading to the interval ROD took us via KANSAS CITY and PAUL said I’ll TELL OLD BILL and MICHELLE & BONZ blue us away with the best version of BLACK IS THE COLOUR.

The customary bumper raffle saw Vic win the Red Wine; Sue win the Rose Wine; Paul take the Biscuits; Doreen win
the Folk North West Magazine; Geoff win the Champagne; Martin win the CD and Phil win the Chocolates before ED started the second half with THE TWANG MAN. Continuing, PAULINE told the rest of the FRANCIS LEDWICH STORY (Pt 2) before JONATHAN returned from the PROMISED LAND. JOAN continued her MUM’S STORY with MOVING before RICHARD lifted us with some SWEET, SWEET SOUND OF MUSIC. On a philosophical note DON & HEATHER contemplated the notion of THE BORDERLINE whereas ROD told us his lady love looked WONDERFUL TONIGHT while ED asked his to PUT ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE before she explained why she was leaving him. For RICHARD the solution was a BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER but, as PAUL explained, STAGGER LEE just shot Billy! This nicely set a big finish as MICHELLE & BONZ took us off to the JULY WAKES before telling is about NASHVILLE CATS which left MARK & JAN with the job of pointing out it’s NO USE CRYING as a great evening ended and we headed for the door. 

JULY - 2016

Newsletter No 388 26 July 2016

At first we thought it was going to be a quiet evening and then the coach arrived and we were suddenly full to busting as ROBIN introduced co-host PAUL who whipped us into action with ROLL IN MY SWEET BABY’S ARMS to which GEOFF & SUE replied BLAME IT ON THE UKULELE. For ROD the mod it was BABY YOU’RE OUT OF TIME who for BANJO JOHN was SWEET SUE but KAMRAN was determined to MAKE IT WITH YOU. On a sadder note SIMON exclaimed SEE HOW I MISS YOU but for JAN, still on with her current husband MARK, it was a case of DON’T YOU MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE and also true love for THE FEMALE SMUGGLER sung by MARIAN. Then up stepped newcomer DAVE THOMAS to make a great start by singing THE GRACE followed by JAMES who couldn’t resist a bit of rockabilly in the BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY and LESLIE foe whom NELLIE WAS A LADY. Next and still delving into her WW1 poets came PAULINE with a POEM TO A BLACK GREYHOUND and CHRIS still delving into Ralph McTell’s repertoire for EIGHT FRAMES A SECOND before we had a little on the quirky side from JOHN with his own version of ATHLETE’S FOOT and ED who told us I LIKE MY WOMEN A LITTLE ON THE TRASHY SIDE. No wonder JOAN went back to her Mum’s tales of THE GOOD OLD DAYS to which 96 year old PHYLLIS replied with a poem DON’T ASK ME TO REMEMBER before BRIAN  was at his romantic best with ANNIE’S SONG and DON & HEATHER  recommended we should STEAL AWAY as the interval approached.  

The customary bumper raffle was the prelude to ROBIN declaring it’s GOOD TO BE BACK HOME just as GEOFF & SUE exhorted us to FLY AWAY and ROD the mod exclaimed but it’s been WONDERFUL TONIGHT. No wonder KAMRAN dug out the CHUMP MAN BLUES and SIMON declared THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A BROKEN HEART but MARK & JAN were determined WE’LL HUNT HIM DOWN Charles Darwin that is. MARIAN then celebrated THE PRETTY MAID OF GREENWICH as JAMES asked why don’t you take ALL OF ME and DAVE THOMAS told the story of POCAHONTAS before LESLIE challenged our reputation as a chorus singing club with BONNY GLEN SHEE. Coming to the finale PAULINE took us back INTO BATTLE with a WW1 poem as JOHN took us away with BOBBY McGEE and ED had us out ALONG THE VERDIGRIS before DON, PAUL & ROBIN had us away with the DIAMANTINA DROVER leaving GEOFF & SUE to form a big band up for WAGON WHEEL to end a great evening in splendid fashion.

Newsletter No 387 19 July 2016

A great birthday party for our digital demon photographer Chris Ross was started by BANJO JOHN who remembered his jazz band days with JUST A LITTLE WHILE TO STAY HERE which had PAUL clearly SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Celebrating the summer weather BRIAN had THAT LUCKY OLD SUN in mind while ANN was remembering THE FOLK SINGER and PHIL was going all classical with brilliant variations of GREENSLEEVES. Still with the Somme in mind PAULINE then brought us FORGOTTEN VOICES OF THE GREAT WAR to which KAMRAN replied with the BLACK HORSE BLUES and JO gathered up her GALWAY SHAWL before we were welcomed LAYAN from Jordan who superbly played the BALLAD PER ADALINE on the piano. What a lovely surprise. Fortunately FAIRPLAY responded perfectly with MOONSHADOW as did JANET who reviewed how WE TRIED TO CHANGE THE WORLD and ROBIN who pleaded COME HOME PADDY RILEY. No wonder JONATHAN & CHARLIE felt they were FREE FALLING (Petty) and SIMON reached for his banjo for HOLD THE GOD'S, UNCHANGING HAND which left DON & HEATHER absolutely PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE. Still in romantic mood BRIAN celebrated THE NEARNESS OF YOU and JO gave her tribute to THE TRAVELLING SOLDIER as BANJO JOHN declared he had the ST LOUIS BLUES to which JONATHAN & CHARLIE replied. What you need is a TEQUILA SUNRISE as we reached the interval buffet and chips kindly supplied by the birthday girl.

The usual bumper raffle saw the Chocolate biscuits go to Kamran; the Milestones CD go to Chris; the artist’s Notebook go appropriately to Jillian; the Jewellery donated by Hillary go to Rosalind; the handbag hanger go to Alan; the Folk North West go to Paul and the Red Wine go to Vic.

ROBIN then started the second half with a trip to the STREETS OF BALTIMORE and PAULINE told us ANOTHER CHILD'S STORY FROM THE GREAT WAR before PHIL brilliantly played a STUDY IN A (Matteo Carcassi). This time a cappella SIMON sang JUANITA (Parsons) and LAYAN played her own composition EXAM STRESS to which ANN looked heavenwards and sang ALL MY TRIALS, LORD. Changing the mood FAIRPLAY decided on two tunes RAKES OF MARLOW and A DORSET FOUR HAND REEL before KAMRAN went for 4 + 20 and PAUL went for the NEXT GO ROUND. Returning with a singalong FREE SPIRITS then took us all down to the RED ROSE CAFE before PAULINE gave us ANOTHER CHILD'S STORY from the great war years and PAUL shot off on the RED RIVER TRAIN. This prompted SIMON to again pick up the banjo for BILLY THE KID and FAIRPLAY to sing DINK'S SONG which for KAMRAN was all about the THINGS THAT MATTER. This nicely set up a big finish with LAYAN & PHIL leading the way with LEAVING ON A JET PLANE and LAYAN taking over the guitar for an ARABIC SONG ABOUT A BOY ASKING A GIRL TO DANCE which left FREE SPIRITS to sing us out with Arthur Marshall’s FENCES and Ewan McCall’s DIRTY OLD TOWN to end an excellent evening.

Newsletter No 386 12 July 2016

Even in the absence of Simon DON & HEATHER started off another entertaining evening with the metaphorical KNEE DEEP IN A RIVER but there was no doubt about BANJO JOHN foray into the last century to find JOSHUA but to KAMRAN it was all TIME IN A BOTTLE. As if our summer weather isn’t bad enough ROBIN next went NORTH TO ALASKA and KATH & STAN were drowning in BLACK WATERS shortly before ANN sang BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN who was carted off to the loony bin. Ever the optimist ROD the mod lied that IT NEVER RAINS IN CALIFORNIA and equally naive BRIAN asked WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW, some hope, before CHRISTINE & WILF WAY told us that this is how LIFE’S MEANT TO BE. Then by way of a complete change HILARY played ROCK ME MAMA and PAUL told us IF I HAD A HAMMER as RICHARD was TRAVELLING WESTWARD. Not surprisingly JAMES raised a toast to SWEET LORRAINE and equally sublime was ED with BOB DYLAN’S DREAM but out of his skin BANJO JOHN was that LITTLE OLE WINE DRINKER ME. A bit distressed himself KAMRAN warned us of CARELESS LOVE which sent HILARY off on a STOMP and CHRISTINE & WILF hiding UNDER THE BOARDWALK till we found ROBIN up in DURHAM TOWN as we reached the interval.

A bumper raffle saw the wine go to Hilary; the box of tea go home with Ann; a bottle of Beer into Kath’s handbag; the CD in Pauline’s hands and the Rub on Lick off disappear with Martin before FREE SPIRITS confess they washed their hands in MUDDY WATER. Calming us all down JAMES sang McCartney’s FOR NO ONE (Beatles) which inspired DAVID to turn to George Harrison for SOMETHING (Beatles) and BRIAN told us you say it best WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL. Getting to her feet ANN was next DEFYING GRAVITY as RICHARD said THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER DAY but ROD was still asking the question IF I WERE A CARPENTER. Either way up KATH & STAN insisted we KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF LIFE as PAUL went after THE OLD 97 and ED with KATH & STAN chased after the BLACK LEG MINER. A tribute to a world famous cougar came next from DAVID in the form of MRS ROBINSON, or was it Anne Bancroft, before CHRISTINE & WILF played us 2 tunes MOLL IN THE WOODS and FOX AND GEESE and KAMRAN celebrated LEWIS COLLINS to set up a big finish. KATH & STAN kicked off looking for the FORSAKEN MERMAID and FREE SPIRITS rolled down America with WAGON WHEEL before ED with ROBIN, PAUL, DON & HEATHER told us ALL THE GOOD TIMES were past and gone and we headed for the street well satisfied.

Newsletter No 385 5 July 2016

ED & SUE guided us smoothly through another excellent evening of music, song and poetry started by BANJO JOHN who insisted we DREAM as BRIAN volunteered LET IT BE ME and JAMES confessed I WISH I COULD SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE while in deep contemplation JOHN CHILCOTT was SITTIN’ ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY. Then we got a big surprise when PAULINE came to the front for the first time to recite LOVE OF LIFE from War Poetry from J W Street (1885) in honour of the fallen in the Battle of the Somme. Luckily PHIL had some different CAREER MOVES (Loudon Wainwright lll) to sing about and PAUL had BIG BAD BILL to tell us about so no wonder ROD was feeling WONDERFUL TONIGHT before we went back in time with JOAN for more FAMILY LIFE from her Mum’s Story. Next we had a conundrum, what happened to who, from DON, HEATHER & PAUL in FOREVER AND A DAY whereas DAVID was in no doubt about his CROCODILE SHOES (Jimmy Nail) as was SIMON with the tale of ‘ARRY, ‘ARRY, ‘ARRY (Alec Hurly). Not realising Paul had brought his long neck banjo specially for singing it, ROBIN suddenly burst out with COUNTRY ROADS demonstrating the unpredictability of folk clubs as did ED as he explained the role of THE FLUSHERS with Alan an ex-flusher himself looking on approvingly. By way of a change CHARLIE became the lead singer and JONATHAN the support for TALLADEGA as JOHN CHILCOTT sat back in his easy chair for YOU AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE. On the other hand BRIAN set out on the STREETS OF LONDON and BANJO JOHN was DOWN IN LOUISIANA before PAULINE gave us a few LINES BEFORE GOING from the Somme in War Poetry by Alexander Robertson (1892). Coming up to the interval JAMES bemoaned being A FOOL SUCH AS I (Hank Snow) before DON, HEATHER & PAUL also went back to WW 1 with CALLING DOON THE LINE by Alan Bryden leaving DAVID to cheer us all up ?? with SO LONG MARIANNE (L Cohen).

A bumper raffle saw Simon win the wine; Joan win the olive oil; Heather win the CD; Jonathn win the Chocolates and Barrie win the Paint on and Lick off Cream before starting the second half ED confessed I’VE STARTED LEARNING TO PLAY THE GUITAR and before leaving BARRIE sang for us RED IS THE ROSE and PHIL sang MAR’IN as a tribute to our Martin after his wedding. Still in fine form ROD THE MOD treated us to ALL OR NOTHING (Small Faces) and back to his roots ROBIN had us all singing with WILL YE GO LASSIE GO before JOAN changed the subject to FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD from her Mum’s Story. Can’t think why PAUL had TROUBLE IN MIND but ANN was quite clear that MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN was another song for Martin and SIMON also celebrated working men in PULL DOWN LADS before PAULINE told us what was felt BEFORE ACTION by William Hodgson. Old Mr Romantic, BRIAN, then came up with WHEN YOUR OLD WEDDING RING WAS NEW but still flying high ROD was in a TEQUILA SUNRISE while PHIL was in a MOONSHADOW. No wonder DAVID decided I’M LEAVING YOU (L Cohen) and ANN & ROBIN were off with a COUNTRY MEDLEY and SIMON was seeing life THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE ELEPHANT’S BOTTOM. On that note we headed for the door with PAUL wishing us MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU and DON & HEATHER having NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL and JAMES we were up to the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS as we went into the street. Magic!!

JUNE - 2016

Newsletter No 384 28 June 2016

Another KATH & STAN special evening with lots of songs, tunes and good craic was kicked off by our hosts with OWENSBORO just before BANJO JOHN boarded the MIDNIGHHT SPECIAL and PHIL went out poaching with his LONGDOG (Show of Hands). HELEN then continued to remind us that THE TREES THEY DO GROW HIGH as DON, HEATHER & PAUL told of the delights DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL and SIMON asked WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT PEACE LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING before JANET took us back in time for a HOUSEWIVE’S CHOICE. No wonder PAUL asked us to COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE and JOAN gave us A DAY TO REMEMBER from her Mum’s Memoires before ED gave us an example of rough justice for CALEB MEYER who attempted rape and was killed by his potential victim for his trouble. KAMRAN told us he was OUT OF TIME, not literally, and JONATHAN told us about a ONE MAN GUY followed by KATH & STAN with two tunes THREE AROUND THREE & COME TO THE CEILIDH before BANJO JOHN confessed he had the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES. Having only a few days earlier heard the original by Zoe Mulford on Facebook JANET surprised with MIDSUMMER HYMN but still PAUL had the BLACK BOTTOM BLUES and HELEN thought was THE GOOD THING. Certainly SIMON agreed at THE DIMMING OF THE DAY as JOAN gave us more REFLECTIONS ON LIFE by her Mum and JONATHAN went with Bruce Springsteen and MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS. Roaring up to the interval break ED celebrated with RED HEADED ANNE and PHIL introduced a WIND OF CHANGE before DON, HEATHER & PAUL went for migration ACROSS THE BORDERLINE.

The usual bumper raffle saw the Wine go to Heather; the Roses go to Jackie; the Foot Cream go to Ed; the Chocolates go to Joan; the CD go to Paul; and Rub and Lick off Cream give Simon some inspiration. KAMRAN then started the second half with a visit to ST JAMES’ INFIRMARY prompting KATH & STAN to sing the BALLAD OF DAN MOODY which set HELEN off singing like THE LARK. As hinted earlier SIMON was inspired to sing about SIN CITY in celebration of his raffle prize so no wonder PHIL was found WALKING BACKWARDS DOWN THE STAIRS which PAUL with HEATHER & DON agreed when it is DARK AS A DUNGEON. Then out of the blue in walked ED with JACUZZI JOE and his Funky Concertina causing KAMRAN to go off with the TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES (Going down to Roseville) and SIMON to go CROSSING MUDDY WATERS and PHIL away with his BROTHERS IN ARMS. Heading to a sing along finish KATH with STAN was that BANJO PICKING GIRL as PAUL, DON & HEATHER treated us to STEWBALL followed by the SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS to send us trilling into the night. Excellent!

Newsletter No 383 21 June 2016

On this fine June evening a modest group of people assembled for what was to be a fine evening of song, stories and music. Kate was a little delayed as she had a nasty tumble at home but, despite not being 100%, came along with Heather to take the money on the door and we wish her a speedy recovery.

MARK & JAN started the evening with a Newfoundland song, LUKEY’S BOAT followed by ED keeping up the maritime theme with I’M SAYING GOODBYE TO THE FISHING to which SUE could only reply WHEN ALL I GOT IS A HAMMER. Unusually for PHIL he turned to Loudon Wainwright III for I’M ALRIGHT, a ‘non blues’ blues, as BRIAN sang about ME AND THE ELEPHANT before BANJO JOHN came up with THE CURSE OF AN ACHING HEART from the Laurel and Hardy film Blotto whose in-car music system from the film “Busybodies” is a “must see. Then who else but JOAN could follow that and have us laughing at the courting exploits of her sisters written by her mother. No wonder GEOFF decided to sing ALL BEFORE as JO was taking it ONE DAY AT A TIME and JAMES was BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. All this made CHRIS became a PIPER TO THE END and HELEN tell us it was NO USE CRYING leaving JONATHAN & CHARLIE to settle for a TEQUILA SUNRISE and PAUL to end the first round out IN THE EARLY MORNING RAIN. With ages before pumpkin time BANJO JOHN started the second round on the ROBERT E. LEE and upwardly mobile JAN sang the lovely Corrine Polwart song FOLLOW THE HERON HOME just before BRIAN asked WHAT IF I TOLD YOU to which quick as a flash JO told him YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG. JAMES, however, was SO SAD but PAUL advised him to DON’T THINK TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT.

Then it was strange how the first raffle ticket drawn out of the box by Jan was Mark’s but enough said as there were plenty of prizes to be had before ED started the second half by telling us I’VE AN ANTI-SOCIAL PROBLEM which brought back many happy memories for those of us who were privileged to have know Joan Gallimore. Continuing her rise to the stratosphere of folk HELEN then plundered her extensive repertoire for HEART OF MY HOMELAND before leaving JOAN to relate her mother’s story of how hard it had been for their family to move to Carrington from Trafford Park. GEOFF recommended the train by riding on THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS but CHRIS philosophically gave us Jez Lowe’s OLD BONES which brought A KIND OF HUSH from SUE. Quite why but this gave PAUL the GOOD MORNING BLUES and ED was also unhappy with his BRONGHIO-DILATOR BLUES. You’ve got to be a MAN OF THE WORLD then observed PHIL and GEOFF & SUE seem to qualify as he asked her WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT? As long as he had his guitar and twelve fingers CHRIS certainly didn’t care as he brilliantly played two tunes NAKED LADIES and ELECTRIC RAGTIME as we headed for a big finish. JAMES led the spontaneous band-up for COCAINE BLUES followed by PAUL with CORRINA. CORRINA and then MARK & JAN with dark portents for Thursday in the form of BAD MOON RISING for another very pleasant evening in Sale Folk Club.

Newsletter No 382 14 June 2016

PAUL made a suitable start to Martin & Hilary’s pre-nuptial party with WILD ABOUT MY LOVIN’ before BANJO JOHN asked somewhat obliquely IS IT TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT DIXIE before MARK & JAN told us LOVE AND HAPPINESS is all it takes. Surely in agreement CHRIS chipped in with SMART ASS as HILARY declared it a CELEBRATION with her solo guitar and CARL wondered whether they would make OLD BONES. Our old friend MICHAEL then popped up to explain WHY DO WE BUILD THE WALL and hope that poverty never afflicts Hilary & Martin for whom JANET sang the hymn WHEN A KNIGHT HAS WON HIS SPURS. More to the point and period MICK added P.S. I LOVE YOU and SIMON chipped in with AT THE DARK END OF THE STREET before HELEN brought us the ANGEL FROM MONTGOMERY (J. Prine) to which DAVID commented IS THIS LOVE? Surprise guest JOHN CONDY added his own song YOU ARE YOUR WORLD to which FAIR PLAY added 2 tunes TWIGLET and BODMIN RISING before ROBIN took us all over to DENVER. This left BANJO JOHN to put a spanner in the works by admitting I’M CONFESSING THAT I LOVE YOU and JANET amusingly read the WEATHER FORECAST which was useful to JAN & MARK who were off on the BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND. Quite what the new bride-to-be made of HILARY’S guitar piece INSIDE BLUES but MICK’S EIGHT DAYS A WEEK was straightforward as CARL took us over to BAKER STREET but MICHAEL’S UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY and BANJO JOHN’S declaration I WANT A GIRL clouded the issue as we went in to the interval.

After a bumper raffle PAUL had us SINGING MY BLUES AWAY and FAIR PLAY had us tilting at WINDMILLS before JOHN C pleaded STEAL MY HEART AWAY (Van Morrison) and DAVID added TAKE ME I/M YOURS by Squeeze. HELEN then took the floor with BOBBY’S SONG and SIMON warned of ALIMONY as ROBIN took to the STREETS OF LAREDO. On a more serious note MARK & JAN had us singing the Chicken Song I FELL IN LOVE to which JOHN C replied THANK YOU by Led Zeppelin and FAIR PLAY tootled 2 more tunes THREE AROUND THREE and COME TO THE CEILIDH. A final warning to the couple came from SIMON who explained how we are in trouble without the DO RAY ME (Woody Guthrie) and DAVID followed that with his ALLOTMENT SONG before MICHAEL had us singing the romantic PEGGY O’NEILL and HELEN was even more poignant with IF I SHOULD FALL BEHIND. Finally with all agreeing it was a great send-off PAUL, on hearing of flooding in Lymm where Martin has a house, led us all into a dry Sale night with Sir Rod Stewart’s SAILING to end a great evening!

Newsletter No 381 7 June 2016

Hosting an evening which went very well GRASSROOTS started of the great music and song with THE BUTCHER BOY to which BANJO JOHN replied with CHANGES. After a week with his grand children it was a no brainer for PAUL to come up with THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE to which SUE & GEOFF’S version of LYIN’ EYES was a complete non-sequitur as KEVIN shared his COMPANIONS BY THE SEA. Then the first of the new names LESLIE sang for us THE DUNN SONG followed by ANN who led us to chorus with ME ORO VAN O before DAVID sang LIVING THING (ELO?). Next JO was out and about in her LONG BLACK VEIL and SIMON was bidding us all ADIEU, ADIEU. This brought JOSN to the front for TO GOLDIE, a reading from her Mum’s writings, after which DICK felt SAFE IN THE HARBOUR TONIGHT before ROBIN took us off to THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK. This prefaced the arrival the young mega talent DAN on only his second visit to the club which he claimed was THE LAST THING ON MY MIND which caused our JAMES to rise to the occasion with MAY YOU NEVER and likewise CHRIS to pull out all the stops for MERMAIDS AND SEAGULLS. Also stepping up GRASSROOTS returned with that great song I WISH I KNEW HOW IT WOULD FEEL TO BE FREE which to BANJO JOHN meant doing the CHARLESTON and to JO it meant more SUMMERTIME and to SUE it meant REAL HOPE. Back down to earth SIMON told us that THE VERY THING THAT MAKES YOU RICH MAKES ME POOR, a sober thought, as JAMES settled for the GLORY OF LOVE and JOAN went for THE POWER OF WORDS leaving us to settle back and listen to DAN’S superb version of AMERICA with some great guitar accompaniment. After checking the number of Dan’s fingers, PAUL followed with RAMBLING ON MY MIND and DICK reached for A GLASS OF WATER but for ANN everything was AS DARK AS A DUNGEON. Slightly more traditional LESLIE told us ONCE I HAD A SWEETHEART and GEOFF unfolded the story of the unfortunate SIR PATRICK SPENS which led ROBIN to comment appropriately that THE BATTLE IS OVER and it certainly was for Sir Patrick. Still in lyrical mood KEVIN looked forward a little early to MY LADY OF AUTUMN and CHRIS appropriately warned us to WEATHER THE STORM as DAVID confessed WE DID IT ALL. This left us time for a grand finale and DAN was invited to see us out in to the night which he did with two great songs, HANG ME, OH HANG ME and ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS which left us craving more so next week in the same place it is. A great night of varied entertainment.

MAY - 2016

Newsletter No 380 31 May 2016

All reported an enjoyable, laughter-filled night with hosts KAMRAN & SUE and even one of three first-time audience members was moved to promise a poem for next week after having a good time. KAMRAN got the ball rolling with DESPERADO and then accompanied BANJO JOHN for the DALLAS BLUES so no wonder SIMON was seeking JESUS ON THE MAINLINE. Next SUE was sporting her ROSE TATTOO (Dropkick Murphys) to which BRIAN added there’s always one SOMEWHERE OUT THERE (from An American Tale) before accompanying BAZ with THE WATER IS WIDE. With a Dolly Parton favourite ROD pleaded with JOLENE before JANET went more traditional for THE FIREMAN'S SONG leaving GEOFF to swing back with Eleanor McEvoy’s YOU'LL HEAR BETTER SONGS THAN THIS. Then from deepest Yorkshire ED turned to WILLIE OIL LAD, for Martin's Hillary in absentia, and JO advised us DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALRIGHT to which CHRIS replied SMART-ASS by The Lillingtons leaving JOAN to declare PEACE (part 1) and GRASSROOTS to lead us in the CIRCLE DANCE (Bonnie Raitt) before BANJO JOHN had us all singing come to me my MELANCHOLY BABY as the interval approached.

The customary Raffle saw a big Box of Tea won by SUE, the Chocolates won by ANN and the Wine deservedly won by MARTIN since he buys most tickets before KAMRAN gave us those DOWNTOWN BLUES and ROD started a REVOLUTION (Beatles). Any way up BRIAN wanted things MY WAY but BAZ was enamoured of MOLLY MALONE leaving ANN to chase after the MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN before JOAN declared PEACE (part 2). In another way MICK HARE declared a kind of peace MR TAMBOURINE MAN before SUE delivered the BALLAD OF CURSED ANNA and SIMON went CROSSING MUDDY WATERS (John Hiatt). Amid this turmoil no wonder ED turned to the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER but GEOFF turned to MR DREAM SELLER as CHRIS settled for nature with BLACKBIRD. Hurtling towards a climax ROD was still looking for a TEQUILA SUNRISE while KAMRAN was asking us to DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME before ED summed up the night with ALL THE GOOD TIMES are past and gone. Top notch!

Newsletter No 379 24 May 2016

ED & SUE masterfully hosted a full house for our Bob Dylan’s Birthday celebration and we set sail with BANJO JOHN leading us in an all in band up for MR TAMBOURINE MAN followed by ED with MASTERS OF WAR and MARK with LAY LADY LAY. Raising the tempo DON & HEATHER introduced us to QUINN THE ESKIMO before SIMON gave us some respite and had us singing about HARD TIMES only for ROD to return to theme with LAY DOWN SALLY and DAVE reminded us of THE LONESOME DEATH OF HATTIE CARROLL. Another moment of relief came from JAN who sang the lovely VERDANT BRAES OF SKREEN followed by MIKE with YOU’LL NEVER LEAVE HARLAN ALIVE, KATH & STAN with WILLOW GLEN and ALAN with WHERE RAVENS FEED. Back on theme JAMES came up with SHE BELONGS TO ME before BRIAN announced I will MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE until JONATHAN & CHARLIE took us off to AMERICA. Then PETE said IF NOT FOR YOU as PHIL was TANGLED UP IN BLUE leaving FREE SPIRITS to recapture the feel of the WAGON WHEEL and PAUL to lead a band up to the interval with BLOWING IN THE WIND.   

A bumper raffle saw some Wine go to Robin, the good old English Beer to Paul, another Wine to Vic, the Room Perfume go to Martin and the Cadbury’s Roses Chocolates go home with Hilary. 

The second half began with ARTHUR riding in O’RAFFERTY’S MOTOR CAR and RICHARD celebrating his facial hair with an ODE TO THE PIRATE’S BEARD before RICHARD GRAY asked WHO KILLED DAVY MOORE and PETE KING told us I love you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Next BOB asked TAKE ME DOWN and ALAN sang Graham Miles’ BELL FERRY followed by BRIAN with Joe Cocker’s YOU’RE SO BEAUTIFUL TO ME before KATH & STAN went off with THE WAYFARING STRANGER and ROD went off with PROUD MARY. Promising to hunt him down MARK & JAN were next after CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN and DAVE recommended LET YOUR LOVE FLOW whereas PHIL said leave it to a SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE and JAMES reckoned it was a question of DON’T THINK TWICE. Coming to the end of a great night MIKE AND RICHARD teamed up for DIAMANTINA DROVER and THREE TUNES with the whistle before PETE KING sang his own COME ON BLUES. Top drawer!!    

Newsletter No 378 17 May 2016

Entering a room empty of chairs DON & HEATHER must have thought the folk club was PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE but 30 minutes later BANJO JOHN was away RUNNING WILD and ROBIN joined him with the LAST FAREWELL before new guests MARK & LEE called TIME with their own brilliant composition. Rising to the challenge SUE called up her band of GEOFF & PAUL to HOLD THE LINE and PETE declared unequivocally SHE BELONGS TO ME before, back from holiday, PHIL questioned WHERE DO YOU GO TO MY LOVELY and PAUL had us calling Hey BLACK EYED SUSIE. Then turning to one of his favourites CHRIS climbed R. McTell’s SPIRAL STAIRCASE and KAMRAN had the urge to visit BAKER STREET whereas SIMON was more philosophical with BILLY AUSTIN’s sad story by Steve Earle but ED certainly had NO TIME TO CRY with Iris Dement. Nothing, however, prepared us for JOHN’s story of F.I.D.O. the automated dog poo collecting machine so thankfully HELEN took us off to HIGH GERMANY and RICHARD diverted our attention with the DUELLING FOLK SINGERS. Certainly DAVID’s conclusion that YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVING FEELING made sense as did ROBIN with Alan Bell’s song BREAD AND FISHES before BANJO JOHN urged us to HOLD THAT TIGER as a parting gesture before the interval.

The usual raffle saw Heather go home with a big Indoor potted plant set. The Wine went to Rosalyn, John took home a CD, Joan won some Picture Art and Lee smuggled a Box of Yorkshire Tea home to Wigan where it is considered contraband. LEE was then soon on his feet with MARK with their song INTERACTIVE WEATHERMAN followed by FIDO JOHN who resurrected Lonnie’s BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS and SUE who insisted PAY ME MY MONEY DOWN. For some reason PAUL suggested we TAKE HIM AWAY and abstruse PHIL said I WISH WE’D ALL BEEN READY before SIMON hit the bottom line with ONE MORE DOLLAR. With a tale of deception and fraud RICHARD told of SALFORD’S ARSENIC ALE and HELEN related the fate of the SILVER DAGGER while DAVID and Elvis Costello insisted MY AIM IS TRUE. Unsure whether it was one of his top favourites CHRIS then sang NANNA’S SONG by R.McTell and PETE did the same with WOODSTOCK by J. Mitchell with KAMRAN not to be left out by singing OLD BONES STILL DREAM by our own Arthur Marshall (listen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n7uP2n1rEs). Taking the floor in his own right GEOFF gave us the delightful ONLY YOU before ED gave us a warning to LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE UNDISTURBED as we headed for the finale in which LEE & MARK returned with another of their great songs I TENDER MY REGRETS before DON, HEATHER & PAUL, reminded of another of Arthur Marshall’s great songs, closed the evening with FENCES. A top night!!

Newsletter No 377 10 May 2016

A super evening was hosted seamlessly by KATH & STAN who immediately had us all engaged with the question WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN before BRIAN confessed to his HEART ON MY SLEEVE and DON & HEATHER had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL before the welcome return of a sadly infrequent visitor JEAN meant we went all traditional with her THREE RAVENS. Then things took a watery turn with PAUL and his FISHING BLUES followed by ED who was TEACHING MY WORM HOW TO SWIM. Sanity returned briefly with SIMON and JOHN DOE NUMBER 24 by Mary Chapin Carpenter and ROBIN who said IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN before we were back on the water again with ANN and THE TROUT and CHRIS with Knoppler’s TRAWLERMAN’S SONG. By way of a complete change KAMRAN then went STEALING, STEALING as PETE was stealing after the GIRL IN THE NORTH COUNTRY and KATH & STAN explained it was because HER BRIGHT SMILE STILL HAUNTS ME. Still on a complete downer PAUL now had the WHITEWASH STATION BLUES which affected BRIAN who set about KILLING THE BLUES as DON & HEATHER remembered the RAMBLING BOY. Even further back MARIAN remembered WHEN I WAS NO BUT SWEET SIXTEEN and ROBIN remembered trawling the STREETS OF BALTIMORE. Next JEAN was all at sea with THE WIDOWMAKER WIND by John Conolly and PETE sang his own tribute to MADAM WHISKEY as a form of solace whereas ED gave his own answer to addiction with THE GAMBLER who said if you are going to do it, do it right.

A quality raffle in the interval saw the Wine go to Rosalyn, the tin of Chocolates go to Heather who passed them round, the Chutney go home with Marian and the Cider find Pete a happy recipient before KAMRAN took us to Hobo’s heaven in THE BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN. A departure for SIMON saw him sing Nancy Griffith’s THIS OLD TOWN and CHRIS give us a great version of Eric Clapton’s TEARS IN HEAVEN before MARIAN went back in time for THE HOLLAND HANDKERCHIEF. Again back in time to his youth BRIAN re-introduced YOU BUTTERFLY and PAUL took us back to CORN BREAD AND BUTTERBEANS before ANN took us back to Rosie Hardman for LADY FOR TODAY. Then ROBIN asked us to MEET ME TONIGHT IN LAREDO but JEAN complained IT RAINS AND HAILS AND SNOWS which had PETE away KNOCKIN’ ON HEAVEN’S DOOR and KATH & STAN looking up at the MAN IN THE MOON. Luckily we had ED to introduce a bit of levity with TREAT MY DAUGHTER DECENT before SIMON told us of the VIGILANTE MAN and KAMRAN confessed I’LL NEVER GET TIRED OF YOU which was nice of him to say with his own composition. Finally, a big finish was merited and DON & HEATHER had us all rocking with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER before KATH & STAN played us a couple of lively tunes RAKES OF MALLOW and DORSET FOUR HAND REEL leaving CHRIS to sing and play the excellent FACTORY GIRL of Ralph McTell. Magic!

Newsletter No 376 3 May 2016

Despite the upturn in the weather MARK & JAN thought there was a BAD MOON RISING and PETE ROBERTS had a tough time in OXFORD TOWN before DAVID paid tribute to Roy Orbison to who he said YOU GOT IT. Still in the States DON & HEATHER were then off on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS while ANN stayed home with TOM PEARCE before JAMES set off WANDERING with a good old American folk song. A rising star in the firmament HELEN insisted on NO NAMES no pack drill presumably as BANJO JOHN chased after the SPARROW IN THE TREE TOP and PAUL RILEY wandered down by BELFAST MILL. Enough of this thought PETE as he boarded the BIG YELLOW TAXI to which JAMES retorted HAPPY DAYS AND LONELY NIGHTS as MARK & JAN headed off to ROTTERDAM to which BANJO JOHN said I’m sure they AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’. Never mind that HELEN said with JUMP RIGHT IN to which DAVID muttered don’t do SOMETHING STUPID. Another warning this time to the sailors on the Rhine came from ANN with the beautiful LORELEI all of which gave PAUL the HESITATION BLUES. Coming up to the interval DON & HEATHER were all romantic with YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT before BANJO JOHN confessed I GET THE BLUES WHEN IT RAINS and it’s worse when I’ve got GEORGIA ON MY MIND.

A big interval raffle saw Kate win the Cider, Hilary win the Olive Oil, Paul win the Bubble Bath, Joyce win the Roses Chocolates and Barry win the Folk NW before MARK & JAN opened up again by telling us YOU AIN’T GOING NOWHERE. So JAMES requested MAKE ME DOWN A PALLET ON YOUR FLOOR but DON & HEATHER were happy down at the RED ROSE CAFE in Amsterdam before ANN told a sad story with THE BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN. Even sadder was DAVID in his own autobiographical TAKING MY CAR TO THE GARAGE as was HELEN who was on her LONG RIDE HOME (Patty Griffin) before PAUL was joined by James for a blues up. PETE next sang one of his favourites RABBIT HILLS to which JAMES responded with an UNKNOWN LEGEND which had ANN levitating as she was DEFYING GRAVITY to which HELEN responded who’s THE WITTY ONE. Going back in time to the 60’s DAVID had us all singing the Beatles’ THIS BOY which prompted PETE to lead us to DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL and PAUL to keep the chorus going with CARELESS LOVE as did DON & HEATHER with ALL THE GOOD TIMES are past and gone which they were not as MARK & JAN sent us into the street to the sound of MAMA’S GOT A SQUEEZEBOX to end an excellent evening.

APRIL - 2016

Newsletter No 375 26 April 2016

A smaller but perfectly formed group arrived before our first host PAUL instructed DON’T GET TROUBLE ON YOUR MIND and particularly IF YOU ARE EVER IN CALIFORNIA sang BRIAN T to which PETE appropriately commented HERE COMES THE SUN. Rising to their feet KATH & STAN then treated us to DINK’S SONG after which HELEN revealed more of her considerable repertoire for THE FOOL (a cappella) and MARK & JAN took us into Sharpe’s world with OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY so no wonder BRIAN had THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS. Then SIMON took our breath away with an amazing unaccompanied version of Thompson’s 1952 VINCENT BLACK LIGHTNING which had JO out looking for that WAYFARING STRANGER. This provided a suitable moment for WILF (guitar) & CHRISTINE (violin) to give us both their songs together, SCARBOROUGH FAIR and EL CONDOR PASA, as they were so nervous and wanted to chill out in the second half. No such problem for ROB who always has the wall for support as he went KNOCKIN’ EM DOWN THE OLD PUBS or for new comer STEVE from Bolton who was returning to folk singing after a break raising his family to sing NO REGRETS by Tom Rush. Finally our second host ROBIN closed the round by confessing I HAVE BEEN A ROVER followed by PETE who sang his own BEST IN ME before KATH & STAN took the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND. Next HELEN this time with her guitar gave us a strange experience of DANCING UNDER THE GALLOWS about a concert pianist and holocaust survivor who died aged 110 and written by Chris While and Julie Matthews. Thank goodness we were back to normal with BRIAN T who announced YOU BELONG TO ME and JO exclaimed THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE go you and I which for MARK & JAN was THE END OF THE LINE as we reached the interval.

 

With the usual bumper raffle and loads of craic we were surprised when PAUL announced MAMA DON’T ALLOW NO UKULELE PLAYING ROUND HERE but everyone joined in to put an end to that before ROB told of THE PROCESS MAN. This left BRIAN to sigh LATELY and SIMON to give us a bit of HARD LOVE (Bob Franke) as STEVE set off ALBERTA BOUND. It’s always good to see BRIAN T he then regaled us with Billy Fury’s THAT’S LOVE followed by KATH & STAN who sang about THE RIDER IN THE RAIN and HELEN who posed Dylan’s question IF TODAY WERE AN ENDLESS HIGHWAY so no wonder PETE sang TONIGHT I’M STAYING HERE WITH YOU. On the other hand MARK & JAN were out recruiting for THE BLUE COCKADE but after a night on the town ROB was ROLLING HOME and ROBIN was away with JOCK O’HAZELDEAN. Next STEVE sang GHOST STORY and YOU’LL ALWAYS BE SPECIAL TO ME in a tribute to Merle Haggard and SIMON sang about TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE before KATH & STAN told us in no uncertain terms THAT’S WHAT WE DO WITH THE BABY which had MARK & JAN saying we’re LONG GONE! After a great night PAUL decided the only thing to do was a finale like Mumford & Son with everyone joining in and jumping on THIS TRAIN. Magic!

 

Newsletter No 374 19 April 2016

The first time venture of a St George’s Night celebration was kicked off by PETE with his own song BEAT THE DRUM before BANJO JOHN was more traditional with the WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER and HILARY went the same way to the SCARBOROUGH FAIR. Then ROBIN gathered his band FREE SPIRITS and set off for SHOALS OF HERRING and JO went from BOULDER TO BIRMINGHAM before ED sang about THE ENGLISH MAN WITH THE USUAL BLOODY COLD. A complete change by BRIAN was all about a lady choosing one life and then wanting another in I'VE NEVER BEEN TO ME whereas JAN went for the lovely RAVEN AND THE HAREand SIMON was traditional with IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR NELSON, IT'S QUITE GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME. From a Norfolk Broadside Collection KATH & STAN sang the beautiful WILLOW GLEN and PAUL went to Steel Eye Span for ALL AROUND MY HAT before KAMRAN brilliantly confessed to us all I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN. Kinkily GEOFF next said he was from the VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY as ANN chased after MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN and JAMES responded by saying I AM JUST A COUNTRY BOY to which JANET was wary with EARLY ONE MORNING. On the other hand KATHIE T had BOBBY REID on her mind and SUE really went for ST. GEORGE & THE DRAGON before JOHN CONDY rocked it up with GIVE ME MONEY (THAT'S WHAT I WANT) and DON & HEATHER celebrated Barry’s completion of The West Highland Way with THE MANCHESTER RAMBLER leaving BANJO JOHN to comment that he must be ONE OF THE ROVING KIND. Finally ED slid us up to the buffet and Chips with AL BOWLLY.

At the same time the Raffle put the Cava in Janet’s hands, the Roses chocolates with Ken and the real Roses via Ed to Sue or else! Then rekindling the fire PETE went Kinky with SUNNY AFTERNOON before leaving RICHARD to go WALKING UP THE KING'S HIGHWAY. In memory of that great Rochdale Lass Gracie Fields BRIAN sang SALLY and GEOFF continued with IN MY LIFE leaving KATH & STAN to sing us the BALLAD OF DAN MOODY. Again in the spirit of St. George SIMON vowed to remain in the BACHELOR'S HALL and HILARY played the traditional GREENSLEEVES. An interesting story from ROBIN explained how the ROSE OF ALLANDALE is an English song not Scottish as he always thought and also interestingly SUE then sang DIRTY OLD TOWN written about Salford by Ewan MacColl born in England of Scottish parents so claiming {sic} dual nationality. Claiming to be an Englishman abroad KAMRAN went to the bar and ordered ONE SCOTCH, ONE BOURBON, ONE BEER as PAUL satisfied himself that JACK A ROE was a Londoner and JOHN CONDY entwined LA BAMBA with TWIST & SHOUT leaving JAMES to go off unashamedly with ALBERTA. Coming up to a big finish DON & HEATHER stuck with tradition and POVERTY KNOCKS before RICHARD sang his own tribute OH, ENGLAND and ED gave his personal tribute to the Queen with MONDAY 'ER DOES ALL 'ER WASHING leaving KATH & STAN to wrap it all up down in the SWEET SUNNY SOUTH for a resounding success!

 

Newsletter No 373 12 April 2016

The return of GRASSROOTS gave us a superb evening starting with them singing RIVER so no wonder BANJO JOHN announced that THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE before ROBIN took us down to THE RIVER of Bruce Springsteen. From Bob Dylan PETE chose his BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER and after KAMRAN chose came up with another Dylan, MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW, it was off north of the border for DAVE COWE with his ode TO A HAGGIS. Then we were delighted to welcome BRIAN T recovering from the winter lurgy lots of us have had and singing a great version of Ry Cooder’s ACROSS THE BORDERLINE. This still didn’t blow away PAUL’S MORNING BLUES so luckily ANN asked us to join in with her VAIR ME ORO VAN O and DON & HEATHER had us rollicking along with WHISKY IN THE JAR. Slowing the pace for a moment romantic BRIAN sang about ANGELS FLYING TOO CLOSE TO THE GROUND and ED was equally nostalgic when SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SEA before HELEN, after last week’s break through, continued to delight us with THE QUEST. Also becoming a welcome regular contributor BAZ took us down DOWN IN THE VALLEY before GRASSROOTS went traditional with WHEN I WAS NOBBUT SWEET SIXTEEN. This left BANJO JOHN to warn us of APRIL SHOWERS and KAMRAN to tell us were all doomed with IT’S ALL OVER before PETE raised us up high with his Jimi Hendricks impersonation of HEY JOE which had DAVE COWE away and TALKING TO THE WALL which left us to welcome visitor GRAHAM, a canal devotee, to take us to the interval with CAPTAINS OF THE WATERWAYS.

 

After a bumper raffle in which Ann won the hand cream, Heather took the Maltesers, Vic won the Chocolate Orange and gave it to Kate, Alan won the four tins of Pate, Brian wobbled off with the wine and Pete won and passed round the Roses Chocolates JANICE & BRIAN again teamed up with YOU DON’T BUY ME FLOWERS neither having won a prize. In need of some light relief FREE SPIRITS again raised us up down at the RED ROSE CAFE before ROBIN most seriously sang SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH and ED said it was exactly the same with THE WIDOW ON THE MOOR but for ANN it was all about true love with THE FOLK SINGER. Returning with his squeezebox BAZ then had us all going with his a nice rendition of EIDELWEISS so no wonder BRIAN T followed it with I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS but HELEN, this time debuting her guitar, was more interested in the RAMBLING MAN. Again with his fine singing voice GRAHAM had us joining in with I’LL NEVER GO TO SEA NO MORE which this time had PAUL most definitely SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD and GRASSROOTS celebrating the day PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED. Still in Amerikay FREE SPIRITS were off riding the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS and ED was off to the WHIP JAMBOREE which nicely set up KAMRAN for one of Dylan’s best, MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE, and PETE to take us all down to ST JAMES’ INFIRMARY. Reaching a climax HELEN, again with guitar, asked SHOULD I FALL BEHIND WAIT FOR ME and BRIAN T was very upbeat with WHEN I’M DEAD AND GONE before GRAHAM had us lustily singing into the street with A MINER’S LIFE urging us to keep your hand upon your wages and your eye upon the scale.

 

Newsletter No 372 5 April 2016

Last night was an interesting evening with lots of variety to fill the night. The piano had been moved and was filling the space normally occupied by the hosts’ desk, so we changed the seating plan to accommodate the new arrangement. Of course, the change inspired a lot of both positive and negative comment but it is common practice in Care Homes to purposely change the residents’ seating to give them a reason to moan (and to live)!! PAUL opened the evening at 8.00 pm with a very appropriately named number, PEOPLE GET READY and they did as, following his introduction on religious beliefs, COLIN sang his BALLAD OF MARY MAGDALENE. Then JAMES sang a Mark Knoppfler version of HOW LONG before ROBIN, returning with Elizabeth following his spell of recuperation from his hand operation and obviously unable to play guitar, sang a lovely unaccompanied KILLING ME SOFTLY. Next KATH & STAN rose to play and sing Cyril Tawney’s MONDAY MORNING and ED stood up to sing his version of DOWN IN LOUISIANA and EDDIE pulled out his cello to play and sing the RAGGLE TAGGLE GYPSIES-O. Again in solo voice SIMON sang TALK ABOUT SUFFERING before and following tradition whilst Don and Heather were on vacation and out of earshot, BRIAN & SUE BENTHAM stole one of their repertoire and unbelievably sang a duet together, YOU’LL NEVER BE THE SUN written by Donagh Long. Then, even more moving, was BAZ’s harmonica playing of DANNY BOY with BRIAN on guitar followed by CARL who sang a wonderful Pete Morton song, THANKSGIVING and GEOFF, sadly without Sue who had unfortunately lost her voice, so he was solo for ONE FOR THE ROAD. Coming to the floor CHRIS, twelve fingers to his friends, sang one from his favourite Ralph McTell songs, LAST TRAIN TO RIDE and PETER  also treated us to a new song of his own, TOP OF THE WORLD before RICHARD finished the first round with the famous Rudyard Kipling poem put to music, IF. As if feeling the pinch COLIN then rose to sing one of his own songs, I’M GETTING OLDER, and in somewhat sympathetic mood ROBIN once again sang unaccompanied, DARK ISLAND before PAUL sneaked in an extra song by finishing off JOSHUA FIT THE BATTLE OF JERICHO with OH MARY DON’T YOU WEEP with everyone joining in with gusto. Keeping up the momentum JAMES gave us a Bo Diddley Blues, BEFORE YOU ACCUSE ME, and KATH & STAN performed two instrumental tunes, TWIGLET and BODMIN RISING, leaving PETER to sing his beautiful self-penned SIMPLE SONG unusually playing the ukulele. Next up was CARL with a flawless version of BAKER STREET and ED sang his popular His Worship & The Pig song ROUGH JUSTICE which brought a few smiles to new faces and set up the new duo, BAZ & BRIAN, to once more entertain us with WALKING ON SUNDAY but this time Baz sang with Brian’s guitar accompaniment. This time BRAIN stayed on the floor to sing a fabulous BRING HIM HOME from the musical Les Miserables and RICHARD sang and played THANKS FOR ANOTHER leaving EDDIE, this time with guitar, to play TEDDYBEARS PICNIC as an instrumental whilst those younger childish members of the audience sang the lyrics. As time was passing HELEN kindly offered to boost performer numbers, despite her recent chest infection, and clearly sang THE QUEST and with her lovely voice, pleasantly surprised those who had never heard her sing before. Then rather nicely GEOFF, this time with Sue not singing but playing instrumental support, sang SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES as CHRIS, keeping to his railway theme tonight, gave us TERMINUS and SIMON sang Tom Traubert’s Blues, WALTZING MATILDA (Chords by Tom Waites).

Coming to about 10.30 pm a quite different build up to the finale was started by KATH & STAN  with WINDMILLS followed by EDDIE who kindly accompanied SUE BENTHAM with his guitar at great speed and she clog danced MRS MARHOFF’S SINGLE HORNPIPE. This prompted PETER to comment NEVER IN MY LIFE and CHRIS set out to prove he has 12 fingers by responding to Ed’s request for SULTANS OF SWING with the full Dire Straits arrangement on one guitar, magic! GEOFF then started ONLY YOU but was let down by his prompter but EDDIE raised the tone of the evening by playing BOUREE IN E MINOR by BACH on his guitar which was amazing before JAMES together with PAUL brought the evening to a climax in a jug band sort of way with WALK RIGHT IN which ended a superb evening!

MARCH - 2016

Newsletter No 371 29 March 2016

As usual KATH & STAN coaxed a sublime evening from a willing bunch of performers starting with WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN after which they turned to BRIAN who went all romantic, as he does, and gave us WHAT’LL I DO and I WONDER WHO’S KISSING HER NOW so no wonder EDDIE confessed I LIVE NOT WHERE I LOVE and ANN prayed ALL MY TRIALS LORD will soon be over. Moving forward in time DAVID asked WHAT HAPPENED TO SATURDAY NIGHT with 10cc and DON & HEATHER confessed they may not have ALL THE ANSWERS as MIKE stepped up to wish ADIEU SWEET NANCY. Swinging back to the old music hall SIMON sang DOWN THE ROAD WENT POLLY as GRASSROOTS turned to the CIRCLE DANCE leading DAVE COWE to give us all a rousing call with SAY NOT THE STRUGGLE NOUGHT AVAILETH. It obviously worked as ED insisted he was not ALL USED UP. Neither was GIO with his rousing version of TROUBLED TOWN, the then to TV’s Happy Valley, nor KATH & STAN with two tunes THE RAKES OF MALLOW and THE DORSET FOUR HAND REEL and EDDIE certainly didn’t have a WOODEN HEART but not sure about BRIAN though with his FUNNY FAMILIAR FORGOTTEN FEELINGS. Next SIMON told us SOMETIME SHE FORGETS but MIKE was off to CANADEE-IO and DON & HEATHER were off down to Antarctica with their LITTLE POT STOVE while ANN remained home eulogising THE TROUT. No wonder DAVID thought about THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE leaving GIO to explain the significance of the LONG BLACK VEIL and GRASSROOTS to unravel the love life of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan with DIAMONDS AND RUST as we broke for the interval.

The raffle saw Ann win the Wine, Brian win the Box of Biscuits and Kath win the Guinness Crisps before ED confessed I LIKE MY WOMEN A LITTLE ON THE TRASHY SIDE which made EDDIE think of the PIG ANKLE RAG but DAVE COWE had NO TIME TO STAND AND STARE. This led DAVID to unveil his own WAITING FOR CLOUDS TO COME while DOUG was more traditional with THE SAILORS LAMENT by Cyril Tawney while BRIAN was still in his romantic period with I’LL LOVE YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE. In similar vein MIKE announced THE SHEARING’S NOT FOR YOU as DON & HEATHER went off to the desert for that PEACEFUL EASY FEELING and ANN took a trip in a THE SHABBY OLD CABBY but KATH & STAN put us all in the shade going off NINE HUNDRED MILES leaving SIMON courting when RIDING ON TOP OF THE CAR. Subterranean DOUG, however, went off DOWN BELOW with Sydney Carter and GRASSROOTS chased after the MOCKING BIRD while ED was off ALONG THE VERDIGRIS with Tom Paxton. Coming to a close DON & HEATHER invited us all back again with RED ROSE CAFE and EDDIE warned us things are not always rosy down at the HEARTBREAK HOTEL. Top drawer.

Newsletter No 370 22 March 2016

Still in St Patrick’s Day mood DON, HEATHER & PAUL struck off with a GALWAY GIRL and in the same frame of mind EDDIE joined in with the CURRAGH OF KILDARE before JAMES declared he was HOMEWARD BOUND. Coming up to Easter BANJO JOHN then provided us with a RUGGED CROSS as JO was saying you’re NOBODY’S DARLING BUT MINE and BRIAN was sending LOVE LETTERS STRAIGHT FROM MY HEART. Still on the same theme, however, SIMON told the allegorical story of disastrous love in MR FOX (Dave Pegg) whereas DAVE sang the poignant SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME which was written by wheel chair bound Doc Pomus on his wedding day to actress/dancer Willi Burke while she was dancing with friends. On the other hand ANN went the whole hog with the BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN who went over the edge with boredom when RICHARD could have sorted her out with a PROPER CUP OF COFFEE but PAUL thought she must have had the HOW LONG BLUES. It was then time for some soothing music as EDDIE played three jigs BLACKTHORNE STICK, RAKES OF KILDARE & TEN PENNY BIT and in sombre mood JO got out her LONG BLACK VEIL as BANJO JOHN told of the COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER. Just as we thought he wasn’t to be heard BRIAN sang Dylan No 1 MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE  and DAVE sang Dylan No 2 WHEN THE SHIP COMES IN before JAMES announced he was that RIDER IN THE RAIN. Coming to the interval SIMON treated us to BEES WING and RICHARD played the beautiful COLUMCILLE on his D whistle or some bit of plumbing and PAUL had us PUTTING ON THE STYLE.

 

The raffle saw Baz win the Box of Tea; Alan win a bottle of Champagne; Jackie win the Easter Egg and Vic win the Easter Bunny before PAUL concluded as GOOD AS I’VE BEEN TO YOU. Still in romantic mood BRIAN delivered more LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND and RICHARD sang his own LITTLE DROPS OF LOVING. More lustfully DAVE went into rhapsodies over a GYPSY WOMAN and more melodically EDDIE & RICHARD were all tuneful with O’CAROLAN’S DRAFT before JAMES declared he was GOING TO GERMANY. Still all wistful ANN was thinking of the MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN while DON, HEATHER & PAUL reminisced about the ROSEVILLE FAIR and EDDIE proposed a PARTING GLASS which sent DAVE off along COUNTRY ROADS and PAUL to pack for LEAVING ON A JET PLANE. Back in serious vein RICHARD sang his own FIRE DOWN BELOW a cappella before JAMES went Beatles with TILL THERE WAS YOU and ANN pleaded LET ME BE YOUR LADY FOR TODAY leaving DON, HEATHER & PAUL to fulfil a request for the story of their friend in New Orleans who DANCES FOR DOLLARS and PAUL to send us into the night for the LONG JOURNEY HOME having metaphorically spent everything but a two dollar bill.

 

Newsletter No 369 15 March 2016

With another full house, four in a row, MARK started the evening very appropriately with a great guitar instrumental of SONNY’S MAZURKA & THE CRICKETS MARCH OVER THE SALT BOX quickly followed by the welcome return of JIM & LYNN who revealed the contrast between THE ORANGE AND THE GREEN. Then after this KAMRAN sang SUICIDE IS PAINLESS the theme from M*A*S*H* before BANJO JOHN surprised us with the WILD ROVER as did PHIL in his 30’ TRAILER before JAN declared her feelings for TEDDY O’NEILL. Then CHRIS provided a complete departure with his excellent version of the SULTANS OF SWING before HILARY again went Irish for PLANXTY IRWIN (O’Carolan) and GEOFF did his bit with ARTHUR McBRIDE. Then after all of 30 seconds rehearsal ANN introduced her latest song about the PUNCH AND JUDY MAN as CARL went back at least 40 years for Harvey Andrews’ HELLO HANS leaving ROB to give us a lesson in sailing the GOOD SHIP CALABAR. On the other hand SUE was chasing round the countryside after BLACK JACK DAVY and PAUL was over in Northern Ireland and DOWN BY THE LAGANSIDE but GIO confessed I WISH I WAS BACK HOME IN DERRY. Then, apropos of nothing, SIMON commented THE VERY THING THAT MAKES YOU RICH MAKES ME POOR before MIKE told us the history of the ISLE OF HOPE ISLE OF TEARS and FREE SPIRITS welcomed Robin back with the STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN. Just in time to take us to the interval CHARLIE & JONATHAN offered us WHISKY IN THE JAR and KAMRAN told us of the SIX RIBBONS which left BANJO JOHN and his good friend Fats O’Waller to claim I AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’.

A bumper raffle saw Geoff win the Irish Cream, Jim & Lynn win the Irish coffee kit, Hilary win the Irish Cake, Joan win 4 tins of Guiness, Rosalyn win the CD of Irish Songs and he who never wins, Robin, win a big tin of Roses Chocolates.

The end of this saw MARK & JAN off OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY and even SUE & GEOFF went off singing I’LL FLY AWAY but SIMON was regretting his impecunity on THE BANKS OF THE BANN. Then for her next trick ANN was DEFYING GRAVITY which left CARL trying to reach FURTHER (P. Morton) before we were back with HILARY on BRIAN BORU’S MARCH. Then, from another country seeking independence, PHIL produced COUSIN JACK and ROB related the demise of ELLEN VANNIN before CHRIS went the whole hog telling us we won’t make OLD BONES. Equally a disaster was JIM & LYNN’S story of the good ship IRISH ROVER before PAUL wished us all the very best in our travels with MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU and MIKE invited us all to his own IRISH SESSION. Finally and still in Celtic mood FREE SPIRITS treated us to be a PIPER TO THE END before MARK & JAN sang us all into the street after another excellent evening. 

Newsletter No 368 8 March 2016

With people wandering in and chatting PAUL & HEATHER decided on a rolling start on the SLOOP JOHN B which not only let everyone settle down and within minutes bring up the “House Full” sign for the third week running. BANJO JOHN then bemoaned the CURSE OF THE ACHEING HEART before CARL sang MOTHERS DAUGHTERS WIVES in celebration of the International Women’s Day and ANN sang in praise of THE FOLK SINGER. In response to the growing crowd EDDIE decided to lead us with 2 tunes, SOLDIER’S JOY & STATEN ISLAND, and ROB kept Martin awake with MARTIN SAYS TO HIS MAN before FAIR PLAY sang to THE MAN IN THE MOON. Next and still with home grown talent JO brought out her new guitar for the second time as she sang THE FIELDS OF ATHENRY before the SALLY SLIDERS descending from Pendle told us I LIVE NOT WHERE LOVE and the SOUTH SIDERS over from Poynton sang of STORMY MONDAY. The answer from PETE was simplification as he sang Dylan’s two chorded OXFORD TOWN which side tracked JAMES, who also had Dylan in mind, to go off TRAVELLING LIGHT and left BRIAN fighting his way out of a TEQUILA SUNRISE and ARTHUR down in THE LAST CHANCE SALOON. On the other hand JONATHAN & CHARLIE were off strolling through FIELDS OF GOLD as DAVID was confessing his affection for THE GIRL FROM BARGAIN BOOZE before the very welcome return of RICHARD SAILS saw him go traditional with KNIGHT WILLIAM AND THE SHEPHERD’S DAUGHTER. Somewhat more rustically ED came across the waitress searching for a LOGGER LOVER who stirs his coffee with his thumb before PHIL introduced us to the GREEN ANTHEM and DON & HEATHER took us OUT ON THE WESTERN PLAINS as we reached the interval.

The raffle saw Sue win the DVD, Heather win the CD, Paul take the wine and Sally Sliders win the box of Roses and then the second half was well and truly launched by special guests SALLY SLIDERS with their memories of HARD TIMES and THE OLD MAN IN THE WOOD before JAMES turned to the rare SENOR by Bob Dylan and RICHARD SAILS again brilliantly stepped up to the mark at FAKENHAM FAIR (trad. Norfolk). All this reminded FAIR PLAY that HER BRIGHT SMILE HAUNTS ME STILL and caused ROB to return to the MILL OUTING by old friend Trevor Morton so there was no need but BRIAN insisted on saying I’M SORRY. Then in complete contrast CARL celebrated another special female quality with ON AGAIN ON by Jake Thackray whereas PETE was more eulogistic of the fair sex with his own STORM RISING before ANN reminded us of the feminine temptation LORELEI the siren on the Rhine. Classically EDDIE then played Bach’s AIR ON A G STRING and PHIL shared Al Stewart’s hatred of lawyers who in his opinion have a LICENCE TO STEAL and ED confessed it was HARD TO BE HUMBLE before the SOUTH SIDERS wrapped up a great evening with LORD FRANKLIN, TAMP IT UP SOLID & KNIGHT OF THE ROAD. Top night, top teamwork. 

Newsletter No 367 1 March 2016

A jam packed full house met in celebration of St David’s Day and memories of Wales and our links with Welsh friends and GRASSROOOTS hosted the evening brilliantly starting the ball rolling with THE MOCKINGBIRD quickly followed by MARK with 2 WELSH TUNES on the whistle. After ED sombrely reminded us of the killing of CAROL ANN KELLY our first song in Welsh was SUO GAN sung by JAN before CARL was more political with the AUSTERITY ALPHABET. Back on the ale ROB insisted we FATHOM THE BOWL as DON, HEATHER & PAUL went with the puzzling FOREVER AND A DAY (Kruger Brothers) before BRIAN satisfied his fans with DON’T YOU MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE. Next ANN had us all smiling at an amusing and very true SOLILOQUY OF A SAFETY PIN giving EDDIE time to undress his cello for 2 well known WELSH TUNES before JAMES treated us to his version of BUCKETS OF RAIN (Dylan). This put KAMRAN on TOP OF THE WORLD and sent KATH & STAN off by TRAIN ON THE ISLAND as newcomer SIMON girded his loins for his debut with the TWO SISTERS and he was really good as expected. PAUL then came out with SPENCER THE ROVER as DAVE read the poem CLINK before PETE left us still wondering why the man was in the fridge as he sang CLAUDIA. Coming up to the interval MIKE COSGRAVE sang GALWAY TO GRACELAND before MARK & JAN gave another shot of real Welsh with CYFIR ‘R GEIR leaving DON, HEATHER & PAUL to sing their DANCES FOR DOLLARS about the way a Welsh friend tried to subsist whilst a student in Louisiana State University.

A great buffet and loads of chips led to the Raffle in which James won the Leeks, Jackie won the Rose wine, Alan won the Welsh Brandy, Chris took the Maltesers. Rita & Alan won the box of Roses Chocolates and Alan was delighted with the CD by GRASSROOTS who started us off again with WHEN I WAS NO BUT SWEET SIXTEEN. With a quick translation PAUL then sang WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL to which we chorused Felin dorri i lawr (it done broke down) before CARL gave us one of the Beatles best JEALOUS GUY which DAVE punctuated with two poems LIGHT SLEEPER and TAKING STICK. This time with a song ANN was fishing for THE TROUT and BRIAN was on the Kop singing YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE with PETE was telling her you’re a BIG GIRL NOW as JAMES took us back to our youth with the R&B style KANSAS CITY. Even earlier times saw SIMON ask HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AND LIVE while more recently with The Everlys KAMRAN had us WALK RIGHT BACK before MARK & ROB returned to theme for DAI THE MOTORBIKE MAN before ROB went told with his story of SAM THE BLACKBIRD leaving EDDIE with his clever Welsh link for GAVOTTE Bach. With a big finish on the cards ED chanced his arm with SHE IS WOMAN but MIKE was off on the boat DOWNEASTER ALEXA as KATH & STAN chased the FORSAKEN MERMAID which only left MICK, DON, HEATHER & PAUL to confess their sins with I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER to end one of the best ever Party Nights.

FEBRUARY - 2016

Newsletter No 366 23 February 2016

KAMRAN & PETE were greeted by a full house and 22 different performers who PETE led off brilliantly with a great version of DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL that stirred HILARY into action with MALAGUEÑA and BANJO JOHN to reminisce when he was the SHEIKH OF ARABY. The connection with Rudolph made GEOFF turn to VALENTINO but JOHN CHILCOTT, eager for one last performance before Spring, sang us A SONG FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT (Lightfoot) and before KATH & STAN were off with the WAYFARING STRANGER. Then PHIL gave a great demonstration of how difficult it is to play the discordantly with THE HAUNTED CAROUSEL which set up ROB for the story of THE ALABAMA which made SUE think of UKULELE, the Hallelujah Spoof by Leonard Cohen, Guy Snape & Geoff Thorpe. With another interesting song DAVID came up with ONLY NATURAL by Crowded House famous for Weather With You to which ANN & ROBIN replied with DID YOU EVER and KAMRAN went romantic with MY FUNNY VALENTINE. With a few Biblical references PAUL said we should WADE IN THE WATER and right on cue JONATHAN & CHARLIE said we should always take the WEATHER WITH YOU (Crowded House) which convinced ED that IT'LL TURN OUT ALL RIGHT IN THE END (Boulton). Coming up to the interval MARK had us singing to FIDDLER'S GREEN and RICHARD introduced his LADY OF THE MORNING before DON & HEATHER said every folk club needs plenty of people who are PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE!

After the Wine found a home with Kath and the Heart ornaments went home with Ed Jillian settled for the Chocolates and Geoff took the Smellies before PETE ordered his BIG YELLOW TAXI. Again DAVID found an interesting song in his locker with RADIO WEST (ELO) and HILARY was back to Spain for TIENTOS POR ZAMBRA before ROB had us in the Navy for the GREY FUNNEL LINE. Calling for support ROBIN led us to the WATERMELON WINE to which RICHARD replied I GUESS I'M DOING FINE and SUE called in on Dropkick Murphys for their ROSE TATTOO. Next STAN & KATH were WATERBOUND and solo CHARLIE took A CLASSICAL MEANDER before ANN shocked us with THE BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN and PHIL was equally bold with SIX SIXTY SIX (Larry Norman). Back down to the sunny south PAUL sang in praise of OH SWEET CAROLINA (Ryan Adams) and KAMRAN beseeched us to TEACH YOUR CHILDREN (CSN) to which GEOFF claimed I'VE JUST SEEN A FACE and MARK sang it’s the BAD MOON RISING. Then sensing the end of something ED turned to JACUZZI JOE the Gigolo before FREE SPIRITS shot off the Australia for the DIAMANTINA DROVER before changing continents altogether for their favourite pick-up band song WAGON WHEEL to send us dancing into the night. Magic!

Newsletter No 365 16 February 2016

Undeterred by the weather some hot talent rolled up as DON & HEATHER kicked off with THE SMUGGLERS SONG and BANJO JOHN shot off to the DARKTOWN STRUTTERS BALL making ARTHUR MARSHALL exclaim OMG I WISH I WAS A YOUNGER MAN. Then uniquely EDDIE next unsheathed his Mandola inherited from the locally famous Mary Asquith for the SAUCY SAILOR before GRAEME sang in praise of OUR MOTHER THE MOUNTAIN. Knoppler devotee CHRIS then sang about THE TRAWLERMAN and with one of Dylan’s best JANET sang TO RAMONA as did JAMES with SHE BELONGS TO ME. Before it passes us by JOHN CHILCOTT wanted to give us a HAZY SHADE OF WINTER which newcomer LUCAS reckoned was alright IN TIMES LIKE THESE but on another level ANN confessed she would be sad without us in other words VAIR ME ORO VAN O which was nice. Reaching for the history books, in other words the Al Stewart songbook, PHIL told us about the ROADS TO MOSCOW which Adolf would have done well to have known. GIO returning for a third time and with a new song I WILL WAIT FOR YOU delighted us with his progress before JAN wowed us with I CAN’T GO FOR THAT and PETE was poignant with OLD MAN which resulted in ED remembering THE PILGRIM. To bring us up to the interval BANJO JOHN took us back to the STREETS OF LAREDO and JOHN CHILCOTT recalled Paul Simon’s song for his English girl friend EMILY before he became famous, big mistake, which made JANET think of DIAMONDS AND RUST.

 

A bumper raffle saw Alan& Rita win a bottle of wine; Martin win the box of Tea and kind give it to Alan’s grandson; Joan win the Love, Live, Laugh stickers and Phil take the Beer home before ARTHUR show his gentle side with IT’S AFTER MIDNIGHT AND SO LATE. With another instrument EDDIE then played O’CAROLAN’S CONCERTO, his hardest piece, leaving PETE to sing about JIM and supply the social comment as did GRAEME with the HESITATION BLUES leaving JAN to introduced us to the BLACK MAGIC WOMAN. All this led ED to conclude IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE DAYS. On the other hand PHIL went all traditional with the BLACKLEG MINER as did JAMES in his way with VALENTINE’S DAY by Steve Earl but ANN settled for a ride in a SHABBY OLD CABBY. Still on a high LUCAS sang a great song which turned out to be his own composition, SEE YOU AROUND, and CHRIS was also creative with his own interpretation of ANGIE with ARTHUR completing the set with THE NIGHTINGALE which was one of his own. Building to a climax GRAEME gave us the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES while more up market PETE gave us THE MEDICAL STUDENT BLUES before there was a lull as EDDIE sang the beautiful DEAREST by Buddy Holly. Not to be denied after a few thanks, however, JAN had us all rocking with RUN AROUND SUE before ED teamed up with HEATHER & DON to state the obvious with ALL THE GOOD TIMES. A quality night! 

 

Newsletter No 364 9 February 2016

ED & SUE greeted a full house by welcoming KAMRAN to the front where he set the proceedings alight with his version of TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES from 1932 whereas DON & HEATHER settled for their more recent ROMANY JACK before PHIL recalled the days of Emerson, Lake & Palmer with LUCKY MAN by Greg Lake. Then it was good to hear BRIAN with ME AND THE ELEPHANT, a tribute to Terry Wogan who sang it, before the first big surprise of the night when JO stepped up for the first time brilliantly playing her new guitar and singing the HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN followed by CARL with his own lament for the enforced moving of the folk club FROM THE ARMOURY TO THE CROWN. Then EDDIE invited his cello to THE FLORAL DANCE while DAVE was BLOWING IN THE WIND which left our guest from Ireland PAT KELLEHER to sing THE BALLAD OF JACK DOYLE. Raising the bar higher and higher COLIN sang the ballad of LITTLE MUSGRAVE followed by FAIR PLAY with THE BALLAD OF DAN MOODY and then JAN sang in Welsh LAWR AR LAN Y MOR. Determined to ignore the weather MARK declared it a SUNNY AFTERNOON so not surprisingly PETER was off O’ER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY making GIO all ghostly with LONG BLACK VEIL and ROBIN asked us to MEET ME TONIGHT IN LAREDO. Coming to the interval ANN reminded us of the miners with DARK AS A DUNGEON before PAUL generated a band-up with PAT to the fore with some great banjo playing when ROLLING IN MY SWEET BABY’S ARMS which left MIKE with MICK RYAN’S LAMENT.

 

A bumper raffle saw Paul win the pancakes kit, Alan take the pink champagne, Pete go home with the toiletries for Jan, Jackie win the Hot Chocolate and Helen win the Bag of Licorice before opening up the second half PAT took up with LITTLE MAGGIE and COLIN asked rhetorically AIN’T THAT RAIN before another surprise returner DOUG sang John Conolly’s RANTER’S WHARF. Then ROBIN took us round the STREETS OF BALTIMORE but PETE was happy DOWN IN MY EASY CHAIR before BRIAN went all lovey-dovey with THE NEARNESS OF YOU. Next and instrumentally EDDIE treated us to a medley with GREENSLEEVES and KAMRAN celebrated the song writing of old friend Arthur Marshall with his OLD BONES STILL DREAM before DAVE with his harmonica for the first time sang SEA OF HEARTBREAK so no wonder ANN exclaimed ALL MY TRIALS will soon be over. With another big hit PHIL sang BROTHERS IN ARMS which had JAN & MARK off RUNNING LIKE A TURKEY while FAIR PLAY were WATERBOUND. Sensing a big finish FREE SPIRITS led us all with John Cline’s SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS which was followed by MIKE with COUSIN JACK and then PAT KELLEHER with his own composition MOVING ON before PAUL produced another band-up with PAT, KAMRAN & MIKE prominent as they STEP IT UP AND GO. Top drawer!!

 

Newsletter No 363 2 February 2016

A sublime evening started with KATH & STAN in the MOONSHADOW while BANJO JOHN said I WISH I WAS IN DIXIE and EDDIE was playing us the RIGHTS OF MAN followed by JACKIE TAR. Leading a tribute to Terry Wogan DON & HEATHER parodied his favourite with FLORA DANCE while PHIL chased THE HARE and ANN pleaded LET ME BE YOUR LADY FOR TODAY. Then the welcome appearance of MIKE COSGRAVE with a great version of THE WILD MOUNTAIN THYME and the ASHOKAN FAREWELL was topped by DAVID’s own great song YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW. Back from the sun complete with tan and thromboses was Janice as GRASSROOTS with ANGEL just in time to hear PAUL’s gospel according to JOHN THE REVELATOR which JAMES thought happened EVERYDAY. Next DAVE COWE turned to Roger McGough for the funny side of ANOTHER MIDLIFE CRISIS and MY PHILOSOPHY IN A NUTSHELL while CARL exclaimed CURSED BE THE CALLER with his knock, knock, knock. With one of the best ED then turned to Dylan’s RAMONA and equally good was CHRIS with Dire Straits’ SULTANS OF SWING and BANJO JOHN with JESSE JAMES. Then to our amazement EDDIE unsheathed his latest guitar, a bargain Bulgarian beauty picked up from a second hand stall, to play a great sounding BLUEBELL POLKA which inspired PHIL to introduce his MAN OF THE WORLD and DON & HEATHER to invite all comers to express PEACEFUL EASY FEELING which left PAUL to proclaim THE SINGING WILL NEVER END but it did for the half time break.

An extra bumper raffle Mike win the Easter Egg, Barry take the Big Musical Book, Joyce win the Viva for Men and Jill win the Wine before GRASSROOTS opened up again with THE MOCKING BIRD to be followed by DAVID with the showstopper AMARILLO and ANN and THE FOLK SINGER and JAMES with HANDYMAN. With more humour DAVE COWE gave us THE WEATHER and GLOBAL WARMING. Then more seriously CHRIS told us about HANDS OF JOSEPH just as ED was ON MY WAY TO WORK and KATH & STAN were recruiting MIKE COSGRAVE to join in DINKS SONG before leaving him to it for THE LAZY FARMER. Then Al Stewart entered the room via PHIL’s delivery of HANNO THE NAVIGATOR but DON, HEATHER & PAUL were cheerfully likening the RED ROSE CAFE to Sale Folk Club before EDDIE went off with the RAGGLE TAGGLE GYPSIES. On the other hand GRASSROOTS yearned for ENGLISH RAIN while DAVID had FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY while all took refuge with PAUL and his JUG BAND MUSIC. Heading for door JAMES just had time to introduce his LITTLE SISTER before KATH & STAN said their THE LAST GOODBYE and we waved MIKE COSGRAVE off on THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS. Top drawer!

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