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!

JANUARY - 2016

Newsletter No 362 26 January 2016

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

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


Newsletter No 361 19 January 2016

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

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

Newsletter No 360 12 January 2016

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

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

Newsletter No 359 5 January 2016

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

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



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