JANUARY - 2017

Newsletter No 415 31 January 2017

As packed to the gunnels MARK & JAN quickly announced YOU AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE as we set out on a great evening of music and good craic with ED choosing Dylan’s MASTERS OF WAR before KATH & STAN went off to ALLEN WATER. Going folky SIMON turned to BOLD REYNARDINE as ROBIN went country with GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN while ROB was all trad with the CHEERLY MAN. Newcomer MALCOLM brought us THE CENOTAPH ANGEL from the deep south of England while ALLEN was WAITING ALL NIGHT and STEVE threatened IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND. On the other hand all PAUL had left was a TWO DOLLAR BILL while JO was away with a WAYFARING STRANGER despite JAMES claiming to be WILLIN’. Further away were DON & HEATHER in SOUTH AUSTRALIA to which CHRIS added HERE COMES HE SUN while MARIAN was still saying FAREWELL TO THE OLD YEAR. More welcome returners PHIL & DOM then sang THE THOUGHT OF YOU (J Denver) leaving JAN to say goodbye to THE JANUARY MAN as KATH & STAN were still 900 MILES from home. Coming up to the interval MARK whistled DARK ISLAND and ROBIN invited us to MEET ME TONIGHT IN LAREDO before FREE SPIRITS had us all singing RAMBLING BOY before the break.

A big raffle saw Paula win the Prosecco, Malcolm win the Teddy Bear, Vic win the Biscuits, Allen win the music bag and Rob win the CD before ROB started the second half with ADIEU SWEET LOVELY NANCY. Not to be out done MARIAN sang of YOU PRETTY MAIDS OF GREENWICH and ALLEN warned about PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE having the wrong effect on young people. Next STEVE gave us the very funny FRIED CHICKEN AND A COUNTRY TUNE which prompted ED to turn to Bob Dylan’s DREAM and SIMON & JAMES to GO BACK TO GREENVILLE. No wonder MALCOLM asked WHERE’S THE HONEY MAN NOW and PAUL asked us to LAY ME DOWN A PALLET ON YOUR FLOOR as PHIL & DOM prepared us for the grand finale with PERHAPS LOVE and a big band up for THE BOXER. This left FREE SPIRITS to continue the join in theme with WAGON WHEEL and MARK & JAN to do the same with WE’LL HUNT HIM DOWN from the Darwin Song Project ridiculing the ban in the USA on teaching about evolution. 

Newsletter No 414 24 January 2017

Altogether a quieter period in the city after Christmas and New Year but we still managed a supremely enjoyable evening that absolutely flew by after PETE danced off with MR BOJANGLES. No wonder PAUL had us all shouting TELL OLD BILL before IAN told the history of THE PICK AND THE MALT SHOVEL and JANET asked us to COME BY THE HILLS to pick up the pre-Burns theme. Next KAMRAN went all CRAZY and ROBIN, our only true Scot, was off NORTH TO ALASKA while ANN definitely stayed local for the Lancashire Poem BONNY BRID. This prompted ED to turn to Iris Dement for CHILDHOOD MEMORIES but for PHIL it is always FOREVER AUTUMN while FREE SPIRITS had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL. After fitting new strings CHRIS was well fettled to play Paul McCartney’s BLACKBIRD followed by PIETER who sang his own WHEN I FALL DOWN before PAUL returned with the sad WORKING MEN'S BLUES and JANET was even sadder with JOLENE. Coming up to the interval we returned to Burns with our ROBIN singing JOCK O’HAZELDEAN followed by IAN with his LITTLE POT STOVE and ED who gave us the lessons learned from the GAMBLER.

The themed bumper Raffle saw the Silk Scarf go home with Pieter, the Scottish Shortbread Biscuits go to Margaret and the Bottle of Whisky quickly pass from Sue no doubt to Ed who is a big fan. No wonder PETE thought of DAYS GONE BY and a new group of ANN, BRIAN & PAUL had us all singing with STEWBALL leaving PHIL chasing THE HARE. On his rare visit PIETER then sang another of his own songs I KNEW YOUR FATHER which led KAMRAN to say LET'S TALK DIRTY IN HAWAIIAN so no wonder CHRIS reckoned YOU WON'T MAKE OLD BONES. Next DON & HEATHER sang the traditional Scottish SMUGGLER'S SONG which had PAUL urging us to STEP IT UP AND GO before IAN went traditional with the BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND. Still on the pre-Burns Night theme ANN sang the Eriskay Love Lilt VAIR ME ORO VAN O as ROBIN bade THE LAST FAREWELL and PHIL told us he was a MAN OF THE WORLD. Going for a big finish KAMRAN had the BLACK HORSE BLUES while eager to use his new strings CHRIS gave ANGIE a blast as ED swore ERNIE RIDES AGAIN as the fastest mobile library in the west. PETE then stepped up with COUNTRY SONG before by special request DON & HEATHER had us singing into the street with their DANCES FOR DOLLARS. It was over too soon!

Newsletter No 413 17 January 2017

A super evening started by GRASSROOTS with MOCKINGBIRD continued with MARK celebrating THE LAST PIT IN THE RHONDDA while KATH & STAN were off to OWENSBORO but PAUL woke up this morning with the OL’ WALKING BLUES. Next JAMES credited the Beatles with him extending his 3 chord covering of most pop songs by playing and singing THINGS WE SAID TODAY. On the other hand DAVE decided to stand and stare with the poem LEISURE while ANN turned to the sad BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN and PHIL introduced THE MOST UNLUCKY PERSON IN THE WORLD. Also pretty unlucky was SIMON’s WILD BILL JONES as CHRIS went back to the pastoral scene of Ralph McTell’s BARGES but ED certainly had NO TIME TO CRY with Iris Dement before DON & PAUL went further afield sheep herding with the DIAMANTINA DROVER and AL told us the story of the now uninhabited island in THE MINGULAY BOAT SONG. On a sad note JO sang MY YOUNGEST SON CAME HOME TODAY so it was fortunate PETER decided to SHOWER ALL THE PEOPLE and JONATHAN & CHARLIE declared SOMEWHERE IN MY HEART there’s a start that shines for you, a nice thought. Then we had a very pleasant surprise when MICK sang a great new song BLUE with lyric by himself and the music by his wife Jan. On the other hand MARK turned to Dylan for DON’T THINK TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT and DAVE read the poem STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING before PHIL sang the litany of Al Stewart’s tour of AMSTERDAM. Coming up to the break JO started with SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR to SIMON & JAMES replied SHE THINKS I STILL CARE and AL went back to his roots with THE WORKER’S SONG.

After the usual bumper raffle KATH & STAN suggested we KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE with which PETER agreed as he chased the GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY which left PAUL rather caustically quipping, YOUR CHEATING HEART. Going back in history ANN recaptured the mood with LILI MARLENE and GRASSROOTS brilliantly re-interpreted Dylan’s MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE before ED gave out some advice with LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE. Turning to another great songwriter Mark Knoppler CHRIS sang about the life of the TRAWLERMAN and DON did the same with the HONKY TONK MAN by Clint Eastwood and Marty Robbins. JAMES then reminded us that life is all a SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE as MARK landed on the SLOOP JOHN B with the cruel captain and KATH & STAN reflected on the life of THE MAN IN THE MOON. Reaching a suitable climax, PHIL reminded us of SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY while SIMON took us to the HEARTBREAK HOTEL which left CHRIS to ask us, ARE YOU RECEIVING ME. We all replied loud and clear before heading for home with our spirits suitably lifted. 

Newsletter No 412 10 January 2017

Before the big freeze arrives we got off to a good start with DON & HEATHER getting us singing RINGSEND ROSE before AL insisted YOU’VE MADE A MESS OF IT ALL but for PHIL all was rosy in the CITY OF PLYMOUTH. On the contrary SIMON was bitter with THE VERY THING THAT MAKES HER RICH MAKES ME POOR which JO summed up with ALL MY TRIALS, LORD and JOHN declared, not me I’m SUPERMAN. No wonder ANN offered to be his LADY FOR TODAY and ED went over the history of the UNIVERSAL SOLDIER before MARIAN told us the story of THE MAID AND THE MAGPIE. On a religious tack DAVID was SET APAR with Tim Hughes as ROBIN was away in THE SNOWS OF NEW YORK and PAUL was lighting the BONFIRES to welcome in another year courtesy of Zoe Mulford. Thus encouraged DON & HEATHER went for the tolerant line with both SAINTS AND SINNERS and AL said he would TRY FOR THE SUN as PHIL continued to encourage Plymouth Argyll FC with HE WHO WOULD VALIANT BE. Then it was thank goodness for the human to explore with JO who was BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND and SIMON who declared the DEVILS’S PARTIALITY and JOHN explained how the captain of the SLOOP JOHN B was indeed real and also always drunk as we toasted Lonnie Donegan and sang lustily up to the break.

In the Raffle Ann & Brian won the Bottle of Red Wine, Rosalyn won the Box of Belgian Chocolates, Heather Kenyon won a CD and Kate took the Tin of Biscuit(s) before ED started the second half with CITY LAMENT. No wonder DAVID replied with YOU GOT IT (Orbison) and ANN got up to lead us to LOWLANDS AWAY but ROBIN was leaving DURHAM TOWN. Next MARIAN took us to the LONDON LIGHTS and PAUL introduced BIG BAD BILL so no wonder DON & HEATHER headed DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL. Sober as a judge PHIL then stunned us with a BOUREE by J S BACH and JOHN & SIMON managed to surprise us by getting together for DARCY FARROW before AL went pretty guttural Scottish with ERIN GO BRAGH before DAVID went to Frank Sinatra’s favourite Lennon & McCartney number, SOMETHING, actually written by George Harrison. With a climax looming ROBIN & ANN teamed up for a Country medley starting with FRAULEIN followed by PAUL who had us LEAVING ON A JET PLANE which left us to marvel at ED’s BANTHAM COCK as we headed home. Top night!

Newsletter No 411 3 January 2017 

Ensuring a lively start DON & HEATHER first took us back to the RARE AULD TIMES as KATH & STAN set out on TEN THOUSAND MILES and BANJO JOHN went off in pursuit of HAPPINESS. Then things became serious when MIKE COSGRAVE took us up REUNION HILL (R Shindell) and ROB took us aboard the ALABAMA leaving HILARY to say farewell to Christmas with a CAROL OF THE BELLS. Then with his own song RICHARD told of the FIRE DOWN BELOW and MARIAN sang of SPINDLE BOBBIN before CHRIS played the live version of SULTANS OF SWING (Dire Straits). No wonder ROD cried out PLEASE DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD and certainly the bridegroom got it wrong when he wanted THE GREY MARE as well as the bride in ED’s song but SIMON’s song JOHN DOE No 24 was even more sad as was DAVID’s story of the MARCH OF THE DEAD. More of a riddle came from KATH & STAN in DINK’S SONG whereas JAMES was more emotional with YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND before the medley from BANJO JOHN of Al Jolson’s FOUR LEAF CLOVER, CALIFORNIA & CAROLINA. Finally, HILARY took us to CARRICKFERGUS and MIKE and RICHARD took us to COLCANNON before the tune BLARNEY PILGRIM left us at the interval.

The Raffle then saw Ken take the Biscuits, Hilary win the Wine, Heather Kenyon take the Chocolate Orange and Vic waltz into 2017 with a New Diary. CHRIS then put us in THE HANDS OF JOSEPH (McTell) and RICHARD & MIKE returned with story of THE LUMPER which left ROB who was COURTING TOO SLOW and DON & HEATHER who had NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT ALL. This left the duo of SIMON & JAMES a chance to reform for WAYSIDE BACK IN TIME (G Welch) and ROD to get off to the DOCK OF THE BAY and MARIAN to go traditional for TAR BARREL IN DALE. All ED could say was IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE DAYS as KATH & STAN went WESTERDALE and ROB went ROLLING HOME. No wonder CHRIS gasped I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT and HILARY turned to DROWSY MAGGIE. Sensing a climax being reached MIKE turned to COUSIN JACK while RICHARD was that FOUR LOOM WEAVER but for each other DON & HEATHER declared YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT. From his rich compendium SIMON told us I LIVE IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE before JAMES summed it all up perfectly by departing TRAVELLING LIGHT. Sweet!

DECEMBER - 2016

Newsletter No 410 27 December 2016

A small but extremely enthusiastic bunch gathered to return to normality after Christmas with DON & HEATHER bringing us FIRE AND RAIN and BANJO JOHN taking us to the SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET and LOTTIE telling us THE SNOW IT MELTS THE SOONEST. It certainly did in this warm atmosphere as ERIC chipped in with his approach to life telling us ALE IS PHYSIC FOR ME. More rural JEAN turned to the beautiful WHERE RAVENS FEED by Graham Miles and then back when a folk song was a folk song COLIN sang the equally beautiful STARRY, STARRY NIGHT. By way of a complete change ANN, in a poem, described the LIFE STORY OF A SAFETY PIN, to which DON & HEATHER replied, YOU WILL BE THE LIGHT, and LOTTIE pleaded TAKE ME HOME WHERE I BELONG and BANJO JOHN asked THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE (P Ochs). Next JEAN came forward with a biter bit STORY from Saltburn on Sea told us of when she saw a busy man rudely brushes aside people on his way to the post box where, in his haste, he pocketed the letter and posted his car keys. Jean, of course, had the last laugh when she told him what he had done and he found the letter in his pocket and no car keys. As Jean was the only witness to his mistake and therefore his only way of getting the post office staff to open the box for him to retrieve his keys, his demeanour changed completely. Another Lancashire song from ERIC took us to PENDLE whereas ANN went south to meet TOM COBLEY leaving COLIN, in response to his treatment of Phil Ochs, to turn to Dylan for IT’S NOT DARK YET BUT IT’S GETTING THERE. For LOTTIE it was clear RED IS MY HEART and BANJO JOHN remembered Marilyn Monroe with RUNNING WILD and JEAN went with true love LOW DOWN IN THE BROOM. On his holidays ERIC announced WE’RE OFF IN A MOTOR CAR and ANN was off to the Hebrides for VAIR ME ORO VAN O leaving COLIN to take us to the interval vowing not to make THE SAME MISTAKE again with his own philosophy on life.

The raffle was made free using the entry tickets and Ann won the bottle of Wine, Chris won the box of Belgian Chocolate Shells and Heather Kenyon won the big Box of Tea which she promptly passed on the Alan who loves Yorkshire tea and after 2 hours of great music and good craic everyone decided on a slightly early big finish starting with COLIN and MARY MAGDALENE. With her lovely voice LOTTIE then sang MEDHEL AN GWYNS from Poldark as ERIC told the story of BOGIE’S BOONIE BELLE followed by ANN and her generic FOLK SINGER. By way of a complete change JEAN then turned to LLOYD WEBBER for I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM and LOTTIE teamed up with her Dad ERIC for HALLELUJAH before COLIN responded to a request and brought the house down with his magical MR BOJANGLES. What a great night!

Newsletter No 409 20 December 2016

In traditional fashion MARK & JAN started the ball rolling with JINGLE BELLS as PAUL sang GO TELL IT ON THER MOUNTAIN and PHIL went back to his ROOTS. From BRIAN came the cry IT’S SO EASY as JANET headed for the RIVER so no wonder JO went for a SILENT NIGHT. In contrast BANJO JOHN went wild with TIGER RAG leaving HILARY to DECK THE HALLS and SIMON to remind us of THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS. With all the sleigh bells around DON & HEATHER then took us WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND while ANN chased after THE NIGHTINGALE leaving ED to discuss the children’s toy list starting with SCARLET RAYGUNS. Next MARIAN told of the QUEEN OF GALILEE and JONATHAN & CHARLIE sang of JOY TO THE WORLD. In Latin MARK went IN DULCE JUBILO before JAN turned to Welsh for AR HYDO AR NOD leaving HILARY to SEE AMID THE WINTER SNOW. More conventionally SIMON went for BAR ROOM GIRLS while JO was taking it ONE DAY AT A TIME and BRIAN was going THROUGH THE MORNING THROUGH THE NIGHT. All this left RICHARD feeling I’M OLDER THAN THAT NOW so no wonder BANJO JOHN went back in time for WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Along with the Mulled Wine and Mince Pies the mega bumper raffle saw Hilary win a bottle of wine as did the Taylors, Charlie won Chocolates, Jonathan won the Christmas Puddings, Ann win the Christmas Cake, Kate win the Necklace and Chris, Kate & Jonathan win pots of Jam in Knitted Socks. Wow!

Then as everyone recovered Banjo John assembled the cast of his PANTO which was CINDERELLA: Banjo John - Narrator, Jonathan -Prince charming, Barry the Ugly Sister, Heather – the Good Fairy and Heather – Cinderella and pretty soon we were having a hilarious time. Well done gang! 

Follow that was the cry as PAUL led us in a CAROL MEDLEY and PHIL followed with his guitar version of JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING and JONATHAN & CHARLIE told us I DUG A DIAMOND. Back in the tradition MARIAN gave us BILLY ARMITAGE as ANN & RICHARD said I’LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU and DON & HEATHER again went festive with Slade’s SO HERE IT IS MERRY CHRISTMAS. On the funny side MARK & JAN exclaimed O LITTLE TOWN OF ALTRINCHAM which for ED was a DISASTER and reminded PHIL of THE BEDROOM TAX. This made SIMON think of EASY MONEY but for BRIAN it was KILLING THE BLUES and for RICHARD it was an air on a B STRING. Coming to a climax BANJO JOHN turned to old favourite RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER and PAUL told us it was SOMEBODY’S BIRTHDAY leaving DON & HEATHER to suggest we should all STEAL AWAY whereas MARK & JAN had us RUNNING LIKE A TURKEY through the corn.

Newsletter No 408 13 December 2016

They came from near they came from far they filled up every pew! Phew!! A Storming Party Night hosted by GRASSROOTS who kicked off with DANNY BOY with HILARY explaining the stealing of Christmas by THE GRINCH (Part 1) while BANJO JOHN was still in his WINTER WONDERLAND. Also traditionally, PAUL was with MARY’S BOY CHILD and ANN with JO for AMAZING GRACE. Not being Christmassy ROD pleaded DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD which left DON & HEATHER instead of wishing everyone all the best rather they said MAY YOU NEVER do things that are not good for you. Poet DAVE COWE then sprinkled some SALFORD FLOWERS on PETE’S appropriately SUNNY AFTERNOON as ROB unveiled his first Christmas present, a new song for us, BARRETT’S PRIVATEERS. Next AL sang THE SHEPHERD SONG while KATH & STAN were just BABES IN THE WOODS leaving it to KAMRAN to announce, so HERE IT IS MERRY CHRISTMAS. Somewhat ironically JAN & MARK gave tradition a twist with THE IVY AND THE HOLLY but CHRISTINE & WILF were not fooled as they declared I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW as ED, in Robin’s absence, eagerly jumped aboard as A SPACEMAN CAME TRAVELLING. Next visitor JOHN CONDY in search of a good time took us to the TRAFFORD CENTRE which made JONATHAN wish he had A RIVER TO SAIL AWAY ON leaving RICHARD to calm the atmosphere with PEACE ON EARTH. With the interval buffet and super special chips approaching JAMES raised the temperature with I WISH I COULD SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE which sent JO off ROCKIN’ AROUNG THE CHRISTMAS TREE so no wonder BANJO JOHN gave us a burst of WHEN YOU’RE SMILING to keep the mood.

A big bumper raffle saw Rob win the Wine; Ann win the Big Teddy; Al win the Small Teddy; Chris win the Room Perfume; Joseph win the Christmas Cake; Jillian win the Chocolate Orange: Alan win the Man United Calendar and Doreen win the Necklace before GRASSROOTS appropriately sang us off into the second half with LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT. Then in a moment of inspiration ROD asked what IF I WERE A CARPENTER while PETE was complimenting nature on our SUNSETS with his own composition which left the reality to KAMRAN who recognised some people could possibly have a BLUE CHRISTMAS. Never mind a turkey JAN & MARK then went for a LITTLE RED ROOSTER while ANN chose THE TROUT. Poet DAVE COWE then bowed down at the FEET OF GANESHA and AL didn’t fail us with Donovan’s JOSIE nor did RICHARD at the GATES OF EDEN (Dylan). Determined to get Christmas back HILARY gave us the final part of THE GRINCH (Part 2) while PAUL was out on his MORNINGTOWN RIDE and WILF & CHRISTINE were celebrating Salford with the DIRTY OLD TOWN. No wonder ED said it all seems to happen BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE SKY leaving ROB to claim it was different WHEN FIRST I LANDED IN LIVERPOOL but for JOHN nothing has changed as he confessed I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS. Reaching the climax of a superb evening JAMES pleaded SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME as DON & HEATHER said they were going to STEEL AWAY and STAN & KATH departed for the WILLOW GLEN for some peace on earth and good will towards everyone who felt the same. Magic!

Newsletter No 407 6 December 2016
A serene evening with a few surprises saw PAUL start sweetly with SUGAR PUDDING while BANJO JOHN was away at the ALABAMA JUBILEE to which CHRIS replied, I WASN’T EXPECTING THAT. On the other hand JO was clear about WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS as KATH & STAN asked HOW WILL I EVER BE SIMPLE AGAIN and ED went into the difficulties of trading a horse for the woman RED HEADED ANN. Then PETE went all modern with Dylan’s surprisingly romantic love MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE whereas ALLAN went traditional with the story of the ELLEN VANNIN so no wonder DON & HEATHER thought we needed some RECONCILIATION. Next our surprise guests MICHAEL & RORY pulled on their bagpipes and played TURNER’S WALTZ and WHITWELL’S TUNE after which RORY undressed his Hurdy Gurdy to play his own SCOTTISCHE. A big fan of Ralph McTell CHRIS led us all through the STREETS OF LONDON as JONATHAN & CHARLIE asked us to be HUMBLE AND KIND (Tim McGraw) leaving JO to sing our first Christmas Carol IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER. KATH & STAN decided to play 2 tunes TWIGLET and BOSTON RISING while ED gave us Les Barker’s parody of Little Red Riding Hood MY HUSBAND’S GOT NO PORRIDGE IN HIM. This left BANJO JOHN in a A PAWNSHOP ON THE CORNER which made ALLAN observe IT ALL SEEMS SUCH A LONG TIME AGO and made JONATHAN & CHARLIE both feel FRAGILE (Sting) as we reached the interval.

A suitably bonzer raffle saw Allan win the wine, Banjo John take the Chocolates home, Sue snaffle the perfume, Heather grab the Chocolate Orange and Allan come back again to win the cake before DON & HEATHER went over the Irish sea to meet the SPANISH LADY. With yet more bagpipes MICHAEL played BRUDMARSHE FROM ALEPPO (trad Swedish tune) before RORY again was the Hurdy Gurdy man playing his own RORY’S TUNE. Somehow it reminded PETE of DAYS GONE BY and made RICHARD think of the CHIMES OF FREEDOM before PAUL had us singing WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MILL. On the same theme KATH & STAN came up with WINDMILLS before for Christmas CHRIS, with a nice thought, wished us THE THINGS YOU WISH YOURSELF. Meanwhile ED was SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SEA and ALLAN was getting the KING BEE BLUES which had RICHARD disappearing SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW. Before PETE himself disappears for Christmas he asked us to SEE MY LIGHT COME SHINING before MICHAEL returned with even more bagpipes for NONSUCH and ALL IN THE GARDEN GREEN which left PAUL to head us for home with LEAVE HER JOHNNY LEAVE HER and DON & HEATHER to celebrate with A SONG FOR A LIFE which at this point was certainly very good.

NOVEMBER - 2016

Newsletter No 406 29 November 2016

Despite the faulty heating 36 folk huddled together and shared the warmth of each other and the great music and craic of stoic Brits kicked off by PETE with RABBIT HILLS by Mike Chapman and BANJO JOHN who reminisced with the UNCHAINED MELODY. Perhaps because of the cold weather SUE dreamed of SUMMERTIME and AL went off to CHESTER CITY, a variant of Spanish Lady, leaving PAUL who was SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Still looking for warmth ROD swore IT NEVER RAINS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA to which BRIAN replied with the BOURGEOIS BLUES and KAMRAN told us it’s no fun WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS. In contrast all JAMES wanted was the KEY TO THE HIGHWAY followed by SIMON who exclaimed SINCE I MET YOU, BABY and DON & HEATHER who celebrated St Andrews Day with The McCalmans SMUGGLER'S SONG. Staunchly English, GEOFF convinced us that A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE as JONATHAN & CHARLIE chased after VALERIE leaving CHRIS to sing about a PIPER TO THE END by Knopfler and ED to go via Bob Dylan TO RAMONA. Then no wonder BANJO JOHN sang WE'LL MEET AGAIN before as usual heading with MARIAN summing up his departure with LOVE CALL ME HOME and PAUL responding TAKE 'EM AWAY as we hit the interval.

The Raffle did us justice as Alan won the Red Wine, Chris won the Biscuits, Vic won the Christmas Pudding and Doreen took home the Chocolates before JONATHAN & CHARLIE started up with ALL THIS TIME. With a very poignant song CHRIS turned to MICHAEL IN THE GARDEN and SUE & GEOFF pleaded PLEASE DON'T TELL ME before AL remembered St Andrews with YE JACOBITES BY NAME. Back the US of A, PETE then took a BIG YELLOW TAXI while BRIAN was calling JESUS ON THE MAINLINE and ROD vowed to PAINT IT BLACK as SIMON & JAMES took us off to JACKSON. All this made JAMES O SO SAD and gave KAMRAN the FISHING BLUES while ED was suffering from BRONCHIO-DILATED BLUES. There was just time for another from MARIAN before DON, HEATHER & PAUL were invited to send us out singing with GYPSY WOMAN followed by the DIAMANTINA DROVER to end a remarkable evening. Magic!

 

Newsletter No 405 22 November 2016

At 7.45 we had 3 performers and spot on 8.00 we had over 20 so no wonder KATH & STAN recommended we KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE and DON & HEATHER commented that we were way away from being PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE. On the other hand BANJO JOHN sent for OUR SERGEANT MAJOR as HILARY played O’Carolan’s CONSTANTINE MAGUIRE before JAN & MARK were back from holiday to spread a little LOVE AND HAPPINESS. This didn’t stop PAUL from GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD before fortunately AL said it’s THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN and HELEN made off for CLEAR WATER. No wonder ARTHUR came out with his latest song observing that it’s a good job LIFE IS SHORT to which DAVID replied READ MY MIND and ANN turned to THE FOLK SINGER. However, ED insisted he was a SILVER TONGUED DEVIL and SIMON & JAMES commented HE’LL HAVE TO GO so get on the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS recommended ROD. On the domestic front STUART answered his wife’s criticism with I’M TRYING MY BEST before our old friend OTTO sang his first ever song in our folk club, BABY BLUE, which gave RICHARD, A SATISFIED MIND.  Coming up to the break BANJO JOHN went back years for a CAROLINA MOON as JAMES turned to SWEET LORRAINE and ARTHUR went to his favourite Leonard Cohen for ON THE LEVEL.

In the bumper raffle for a bumper crowd Kath & Stan won the Prosecco, Alan won the Chocolates, David won the Coasters, Helen took the Biscuits and Heather won the Christmas Pudding before JAN & MARK started the second half by telling us they AIN’T GOIN’ NOWHERE but PAUL soon had us all aboard THE OLD 97. Then KATH & STAN came up with two tunes with fiddle and guitar, HARVEST HOME and TRUMPET HORNPIPE, before DAVID was HALF A WORLD AWAY and HILARY recruited members of THE GALLOWGLASS. Up again the burgeoning new duo SIMON & JAMES were off to GREENVILLE and HELEN was up with THE LARK (Kate Rusby) but ROD was ALREADY GONE before OTTO surprised us again with an INDWELT poem. Summing it up AL told us THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING but not for ANN with the scary LORELEI and DON & HEATHER agreed with their ROMANY JACK. Fortunately STUART unveiled another of his excellent songs, HEATHER MOOR MIST AND MOSS, as did RICHARD with his own COMING HOME which left ED to have tears rolling down our cheeks with JACUZZI JOE the gigolo with the funky concertina. KATH & STAN then capitalised on the mood with MOONSHADOW before ARTHUR led the biggest singalong of the night with his own FENCES as we headed home.

Newsletter No 404 15 November 2016

Bent on raising £100.00 for Children in need DON & HEATHER started the ball rolling with RAMBLING BOY before BANJO JOHN went populist with DAISY after the recent ejection of his fancy for Strictly success Daisy Lowe. To KATH & STAN, however, she was a WAYFARING STRANGER as ROBIN bid her a LAST FAREWELL and HELEN quoted L Cohen with IF IT BE YOUR WILL. A return to a school trip followed in a story from JOAN & OLGA entitled THE WITCHES which made PAUL think of RAILWAY BILL and ANN to go foreign with LILI MARLENE. Then large as life CHARLIE & JONATHAN strolled in to sing HANG ME followed by ED and THE LAST HOBO and PETE with ST PAUL’S SONG before BANJO JOHN completed the circle returning with THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND. For ROBIN, however, it was the STREETS OF BALLTIMORE he was walking but KATH & STAN were WATERBOUND. In the end HELEN reckoned it all part of THE CIRCLE GAME as was JOAN & OLGA’S SUMMER HOLIDAY. Finally, PAUL set out IN THE EARLY MORNING RAIN as we reached the break.

The raffle saw Pete win the wine, Otto won the Beer, Jenny won the Perfume, Heather won the Christmas Pudding and J&D won the Handwash before FREE SPIRITS took us down to Oz to meet the DIAMANTINA DROVER. More concerned about law and order ED said he would FLOG ‘EM, FLAY ‘EM AND HANG ‘EM which PETE said would LIGHT MY FIRE leaving the new band line up of ANN, HELEN & PAUL to celebrate the race horse STEWBALL. All of this gave KATH & STAN the MONDAY MORNING feeling to which ROBIN replied YOU FILL UP MY SENSES as JOAN & OLGA completed the SCHOOL TRIP to Beziers. Then away to the Emerald Isle DON & HEATHER met up with the GALWAY GIRL while further afield ED was out along THE VERDIGRIS with Tom Paxton leaving HELEN in more sinister mood for the SILVER DAGGER. Out in the Caribbean PAUL was aboard the SLOOP JOHN B while PETE went back in time for his own MEDICAL STUDENT BLUES to which ANN sympathetically replied with ALL MY TRIALS LORD. This left ROBIN to lead us down COUNTRY ROADS to a big climax with ED and FREE SPIRITS to comment ALL THE GOOD TIMES are past and gone which was not quite true as we were able to send £100.00 winging its way to Children in Need which capped it all. Magic! 

Newsletter No 403 8 November 2016

We filled up nicely on a damp evening for GRASSROOTS to start us off with a FLEETING CHANCE before BANJO JOHN turned to the infamous LILI MARLENE which made ED think of POISON however ROD recommended we LET IT BE before JO announced she was NODODY’S DARLIN’. With its haunting melody PAUL was that PIPER TO THE END but for BRIAN it was still a WONDERFUL WORLD to be in but not so great for those who DON & HEATHER had in the trenches CALLING DOON THE LINE. Thank goodness for DAVE COWE with the humorous NIGEL GNASHER before newcomer DAVE THOMAS gave us his own interesting perspective on WW2 in THE GRACE. Back on the trad track ANN had is singing LOWLANDS AWAY before AL gave us his take on LIFE which had SIMON asking BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME and PETE off running OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY. Then everything went crazy as WILF & CHRISTINE had us singing GILLY GILLY OSSENFEFFER KATZENELLEN BOGEN BY THE SEA before STEWART gave us his own perspective on war with AND WHO WOULD KNOW. Finally we had the welcome return of RICHARD SAILS whose interpretation of THE WIDOW OF WESTMORLAND’S DAUGHTER left us with a clear understanding of the wiles of women and RICHARD GRAY’S own song which also left us with a clear understanding this time of the  necessity and futility of THE LAST GREAT WAR.

A bumper raffle with the proceeds together with those of next week going to “Children in Need” saw Pete win the wine, Alan win the Box of tea and the swanky Note Pad, newcomer Stewart win the Chocolate Orange before GRASSROOTS lashed us back into action with HARMLESS. No winder BRIAN went all CRAZY. Fortunately ROD declared that we were all OUT OF TIME except SIMON who was IN THE PINES and ANN who was chasing MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN. No wonder DAVE COWE came up with Mike Harding’s you JUST CAN’T BEAT THIS FAMILY LIFE and WILF ran for the BUS STOP leaving CHRISTINE to pick up the pieces and her violin for two tunes SHEPHERD’S WIFE and MAN IN THE MOON. Back to an old favourite ED turned to NANCY as RICHARD SAILS joined THE BELL RINGERS and with DON & HEATHER off KILLING THE BLUES this left AL to tell how PICTURES IN A MAGAZINE should not define our lives as we grow up. As we hurtled to a climax GRASSROOTS sensed the change in the weather and the AUTUMN LEAVES and PAUL wanted justice and freedom with IF I HAD A HAMMER so he should keep away from the judges and courts then. Another fine song from STEWART in fantasy land for his STAR TREK SHANTY whereas PETE stuck with Bob for GIRL OF THE NORTH COUNTRY leaving RICHARD GREY to sing us out with his own SOLID AS A ROCK to complete a great night that swung from very sombre through traditional to the hilarious. Top drawer!!

Newsletter No 402 1 November 2016

A nigh on full house greeted DON & HEATHER as they opened with COB-A-COALING in anticipation of Bonfire Night and RICHARD KNOTT made a welcome return with his own LET’S GO TO TOWN. In all seriousness ED told us about GEORGINA’S BABY before BANJO JOHN introduced his Skeleton Playing Banjo for COMING ROUND THE MOUNTAIN followed by his own historical account of DELIA’S GONE. Sadly SUE had the BOREDOM PRISON BLUES, with a skit of Folsom and SIMON retorted AFTER YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT YOU DON’T WANT IT but ROBIN was away with MR DREAMSELLER. Then HELEN sang the SMUGGLER’S SONG from the verse of Rudyard Kipling followed by PETE with HARVEST MOON and ANN and THE SWEET NIGHTINGALE before PHIL went for humour with HE LIKED TO FEEL IT. A solo by GEOFF saw him in HONOUR AND PRAISE of Fairport Convention as was PAUL of SWEET CAROLINE before CHRIS brought us back to earth with EVERYBODY LOVES A SMART ARSE. Next a lovely song from KATH & STAN was WESTERDALE before JAMES shook us all up with his AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ just as BANJO JOHN was LEANING ON A LAMP. Heading for the interval RICHARD KNOTT came back with his own TOO FAST before ED had us all laughing to his TIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN.

The raffle saw the Wine won by Chris; the Johnny Cash DVD won by Doreen; the Shower Gel won by Margaret; the Box of Tea won by Ann and the Chocolate Orange won by Jeff before FREE SPIRITS rolled into the second half with WAGON WHEEL after which PETE insisted SHE BELONGS TO ME. Then HELEN sang about JESSIE as SIMON & JAMES paired up for a great version of SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS by Steve Earl and SUE looked back AS YEARS GO BY. A semi request saw PHIL unveil LIFE IN DARK WATER by Al Stewart before another pairing of ANN & ROBIN treated us to THE FEMALE DRUMMER before CHRIS was struck by SUMMER LIGHTENING followed by GEOFF and his sexy version of I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU. In praise of Mark Knoppler JAMES took us BACK TO TUPELO and KATH & STAN took us on the TRAIN ON THE ISLAND just as optimistically PAUL claimed the SUN’S GONNA SHINE ON MY BACK DOOR ONE DAY. Coming to a grand finale RICHARD KNOTT insisted with his own song, TELL ME WHAT YOU’RE DOING, as ED sang us to sleep with his LIVERPOOL LULLABY before DON, HEATHER & PAUL recommended we STEAL AWAY as the fantastic evening drew to a close. Wonderful! 

OCTOBER - 2016

Newsletter No 401 25 October 2016

A slightly quieter night after two parties in a row as PAUL started the action by asking us to WALK RIGHT IN and straightaway ED was calling on RAMONA and JO went for the Union man JOE HILL. Obviously surprised CHRIS replied I NEVER EXPECTED THAT as GRASS ROOTS took THE KING’S SHILLING this all leading to JOAN & OLGA telling us to ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE with some tales from Monaco. Yet another surprise awaited us as SIMON unveiled his own composition BIG DARK SEA before DON & HEATHER went for the cheerier STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN which set up PAULINE to read an excerpt from CIDER WITH ROSIE. Turning to an old favourite ROBIN set off for DENVER which had GRASS ROOTS actually LOOKING BACK from Mick Hare’s pen as also JO went back in time from THE GALWAY SHAWL. We continued with some great guitar work from CHRIS and the SULTANS OF SWING before JOAN & OLGA completed their tales from Monaco before GRASS ROOTS, with Mick’s tribute to a young Soweto girl, sang ELIZABETH IS SINGING to take us up to the break.

The raffle saw Jackie win the wine, Janice win the Chocolates and pass them round, Simon take the Dark Chocolate Orange, Joyce win the Notebook and Rosalyn win the Nail Conditioner Kit in time for SIMON to ask HOW CAN A POOR MAN STAND SUCH TIMES AS THIS? Easy said ED, he must have been THE GAMBLER. For her first song MARIAN came up with WHEN THE WATER IS DEEP followed by another excerpt from CIDER WITH ROSIE to which DON & HEATHER replied they must have been RARE OULD TIMES. Pinching another of Robin’s songs PAUL banded up for the NEXT GO ROUND and ROBIN responded with ONLY THE HEARTACHES before CHRIS became THE TRAWLERMAN. A final surprise before we closed came from SIMON with a great chorus song MY NAME IS McCARTY followed by DON 7 HEATHER with GYPSY WOMAN before they re-combined with Robin and Paul as FREE SPIRITS for COME ALL YOU NO-HOPERS, YOU JOKERS AND ROGUES.

Newsletter No 400 18 October 2016

With a bunch friends in, DON, HEATHER & PAUL kicked off in the RED ROSE CAFE as BANJO JOHN went all sentimental with the GREENLEAVES OF SUMMER which made PAUL feel FOREVER YOUNG. Accompanying himself with his cello EDDIE told of THE GREEN EYE OF THE LITTLE YELLOW GOD before a new duo BRIAN with ANN both swore I’LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU making ROB claim I WISH I WAS BACK IN LIVERPOOL whereas ROD was ALREADY GONE. So it’s FAREWELL TO STROMNESS played HILARY as JO went AFTER THE GOLDRUSH but BAZ was on the Emerald isle where ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE while ANN was in Paris with the BALLAD OF LUCY JORDAN and KATH & STAN were 500 MILES FROM MY HOME. Then SIMON came out with GLORY, GLORY, HALLELUJAH AS I LAY MY BURDEN DOWN and JAMES gave us his nice version THE GLORY OF LOVE before ED brought the house down with his MORRIS DANCER. Responding to a request DON, HEATHER & PAUL banded up for their DANCES FOR DOLLARS and BANJO JOHN kept us buoyed up with SINGING THE BLUES leaving JO, with I’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER YOU, and EDDIE, with the SAN FRANCISCO BAY BLUES and PAUL, with STEWBALL, to take us to the interval.

In the bumper raffle Jackie won the Champagne + CD, Kath won the box of Biscuits + CDS, Peter won the Chocolate orange + CD, Pam won the DIY Crackers + CD and Jeff on the Box of tea + CD before some Liverpudlian Groupies insisted ROB sang SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Then BAZ leapt to his feet with MAGGIE and more gently BRIAN came up with LATELY before SIMON introduced THE DEMON LOVER. Still in great form KATH & STAN sang WILLOW GLEN before HILARY played the STATON ISLAND HORNPIPE which left ROD to argue IF I WERE A CARPENTER. Next ANN responded with THE SWEET NIGHTINGALE but JAMES was still down with MY OLD FRIEND THE BLUES and ED was sad about the sinking of THE ROYAL CHARTER. With another request DON, HEATHER & PAUL sang their FLOWERS ON THE WATER and EDDIE told us THE NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BERKELEY SQUARE as KATH & STAN raised the tempo with that BANJO PICKIN’ GIRL. To end a great night PAUL sang us some JUG BAND MUSIC before ED, PAUL, DON & HEATHER capped it all with the very appropriate ALL THE GOOD TIMES. 
Newsletter No 399 11 October 2016

A full house arrived to celebrate Robin’s Birthday and was brilliantly stewarded by KATH & STAN who started off with THE FORSAKEN MERMAID before IAN livened proceedings with BOBBY McGEE and TREVOR told us to DON’T THINK TWICE. However, PAUL was still suffering from the HESITATION BLUES joined by KAMRAN with an old acoustic guitar told us ALL I GOT LEFT IS THE BLUES which set the scene for GORDON’s lovely version of BLACKWATERSIDE. As a general observation DON & HEATHER reckoned we were all PAST THE POINT OF RESCUE as poacher PHIL went out with his LONGDOG and JO took to the COUNTRY ROADS hastily followed by stalker ROBIN with COUNTRY ROADS MK ll because it was so emblazoned on his mind after intense practise. Next SIMON surprised us with WILD BILL JONES before ARTHUR took us to the pub FLANAGAN’S APPLE and BRIAN agreed with FOR THE GOOD TIMES. Then ANN & ROBIN came together for THE FEMALE DRUMMER and AL sang another of his own songs WILD EYED as HELEN was up to her neck in SAND AND WATER and JONATHAN & CHARLIE came up with their best yet I DUG UP A DIAMOND. Hurtling toward the buffet and chips KATH & STAN gave us the BALLAD OF DAN MOODY followed by KAMRAN with a brilliant version of JULIETTE before FREE SPIRITS took us down DARK AS A DUNGEON.

A bumper raffle saw digital demon Chris win the wine; Bob take the Biscuits; Gillian win the Beer; Simon win the History Book; newcomer Lauren take the Shower Gel and Alan win the Mug before ARTHUR responded to requests settling for his own DONEGAL. Returning with the popular FOG ON THE TYNE came PHIL followed by ANN with THE SHABBY OLD CABBY and GORDON with THE BONNIE BROOM. In romantic mood HELEN declared YOU’RE STILL THE ONE as AL sang the NEARLY SONNET 18 (Shakespeare) dedicated to his wife before, apropos nothing at all, TREVOR claimed IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE. Still finding little known gems SIMON then sang PONTIAC as PAUL still had the GOOD MORNING BLUES but ROBIN claimed THE BATTLE IS OVER but not for the people suffering after the hurricane as IAN reminded us the FOUR STRONG WINDS. Moving towards the climax of the evening KATH & STAN sang us DINK’S SONG as KAMRAN declared he was GOING TO BROWNSVILLE and ARTHUR said, but it’s AFTER MIDNIGHT. Simply, PHIL said I WISH YOU WERE HERE but HELEN was in HIGH GERMANY and FREE SPIRITS were aboard the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS on their way down the Mississippi Delta to end a great night of music and good craic.

Newsletter No 398 4 October 2016
With several people at his concert DON & HEATHER kicked off with Ralph McTell’s STREETS OF LONDON as DAVE turned to Bobby Daren’s DREAM LOVER and welcomed GRASSROOTS with PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED NOT LONG AGO. Following his gig the previous week BAZ repeated one of his greatest hits, BUNCH OF THYME, as BANJO JOHN went back to 1927 for SIDE BY SIDE and ROD returned to the origin of Fleetwood Mac for MAN OF THE WORLD. For ROBIN it was GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN as AL told us of his family’s history in WW1 which prompted him to write THE ROAD TO PASSCHENDAELE. On a blue note PAUL had the WORKING MAN’S BLUES and DAVID was listening to HEARTBREAK RADIO while JAMES had the COCAINE BLUES. No wonder CHARLIE & JONATHAN were SO FAR AWAY and MICK said I’LL FOLLOW THE SUN as BANJO JOHN set off for the pub declaring THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN. Still in top form BAZ came back with PEGGY GORDON while Janice & Mick, GRASSROOTS, sang their own WITHOUT YOU as late comer RICHARD immediately took to the floor with WHEN HE RETURNS and FREE SPIRITS (Robin, Paul, Don & Heather) took us to the interval along the ERIE CANAL.

In the raffle Jill won the wine, Janice won the Chocolates, Vic won the Daffodil Bulbs and David took the CD before DON & HEATHER opened the second half with the DIAMANTINA DROVER swiftly followed by JAMES with a special request for his mega version of KANSAS CITY. Setting a personal best CHARLIE & JONATHAN unusually then sang a second, RICHARD COREY, before AL treated us to the first ever song he wrote on his journey to becoming a folk singer, WHAT’S IT TO YOU. Then ROD got Stoned with PAINT IT BLACK as DAVID turned to the interesting notion of FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY whereas PAUL gave us a simpler message with NO ONE KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU’RE DOWN AND OUT. Equally straight forward was RICHARD with BLIND WOODY McTELL by Bob Dylan and JAMES with EVERYDAY by Buddy Holly and ROD with LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE by the Eagles. Going back to Country ROBIN came up with a medley FRAULEIN/BLACKBOARD OF MY HEART/WILD SIDE OF LIFE before DAVID took a more modern approach with BROKEN STRINGS by James Morrison as AL showed us THE WAY OUT OF MANCHESTER with another of his own compositions. Coming to a climax RICHARD complained there is NEVER ENOUGH TIME before DON & HEATHER took us across THE BORDERLINE.

SEPTEMBER - 2016

Newsletter No 397 27 September 2016

MARK & JAN kicked off what turned out to be an excellent evening with the American response to Charles Robert Darwin WE’LL HUNT HIM DOWN to which ROBIN replied with BREAD AND FISHES but to save argument KATH & STAN sang let’s KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE. For JO that was on the ISLE OF INNISFREE and for CHRIS it was on board with THE TRAWLERMAN whereas for CARL it was on the 1710 train now re-titled THE TRICK OF THE TRAIL. Going back 60 years BANJO JOHN took us all up in the TREETOPS with the sparrows and AL then swore allegiance to Ireland with ERIN GO BRAGH as, in his way, did PETE to OXFORD TOWN but for HELEN it was a simple FAREWELL TO TARWATHIE while PAUL just had the BLACK BOTTOM BLUES. With her heart on her sleeve, ANN pleaded LET ME BE YOUR LADY FOR TODAY and similarly lovelorn DON & HEATHER told of the FIRE AND RAIN after a relationship ends to JAN’S answer was to FOLLOW THE HERON HOME and BANJO JOHN recommended we should stay on the SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET. Hauntingly MARK played the tune ALBATROSS while CHRIS was furiously running up the SPIRAL STAIRCASE leaving CARL to remember WILLIE McBRIDE and JO to describe as SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR.

Another bumper raffle saw Martin win a CD, Margaret win the Wine, Al win the Biscuits, Carl win the Chocolates, Margaret also win some Biscuits, Al also win the Beer and Cath & Helen win Fitness DVDs. Starting up the second half KATH & STAN soother us with BLACK MOUNTAIN LULLABY and PAUL cheered up by SINGING MY BLUES AWAY but AL put some things in perspective with THE WORKER’S SONG. No wonder PETE turned to his favourite STORM RISING to which HELEN replied it FEELS LIKE HOME TO ME before DON & HEATHER led the singing of BLACK CLOTHES for Heather Kenyon for which it is a favourite. ANN then went to the traditional ERISKAY LOVE LILT before ROBIN was off to the STREETS OF NEW YORK and CARL sauntered down PENNY LANE. With another one for the workers AL sang about the GOLD WATCH BLUES but HELEN preferred to TRY FOR THE SUN and PETE said you can get it all DOWN WHERE THE DRUNKARDS ROLL but even with it all some people aren’t satisfied like LUCY JORDAN sung by ANN. Even then they mess it up as in ROBIN’S song about the woman in the LONG BLACK VEIL but in any event CHRIS summed it up with you won’t make OLD BONES causing KATH & STAN to bid THE LAST GOODBYE just in case. On a happier note DON & HEATHER raised the tempo with THE STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN and PAUL warned us to KEEP YOUR FINGERS OFF IT which for MARK & JAN was the END OF THE LINE and the end of a great night! 

Newsletter No 396 20 September 2016

It was wonderful to have Janice looking well on the mend and Mick back in harness as GRASSROOTS to host a superb evening of music, verse and song started by them with THE BUTCHER BOY followed by BANJO JOHN with the centuries old I’VE GOT SIXPENCE. No wonder SIMON took himself off IN THE PINES but HILARY went off to South America for a little dance BAILECITO and PAUL said BRING IT WITH YOU WHEN YOU COME. On the other hand JAMES was off down ROUTE 66 where he met with JOHN CONDY as the HIGHWAYMAN so no wonder for JO playing her guitar THE CARNIVAL IS OVER. Away and away GEOFF & SUE were out on the ROLLING SEA and DON & HEATHER were also on the ocean throwing ashes and FLOWERS ON THE WATER after which PAULINE went seasonal with a tribute TO AUTUMN by Keats. ROBIN then turned to a drop of the WATER MELON WINE just as CHRIS & WILF were LEAVING ON A JET PLANE leaving BRIAN to be ALL BY MYSELF. Next HELEN told us THE TREES THEY DO GROW HIGH and DAVE COWE told us about THE WITCH’S SONG & THE CAT whereas CHARLIE & JONATHAN went off to AMERICA as RICHARD returned to his roots as THE LINCOLNSHIRE ROVER and BANJO JOHN broke free as ONE OF THE ROVING KIND to take us to the interval.

A bumper raffle saw Geoff win the wine, Dave win the Gardening Book, Charlie win the biscuits, Helen win the CD, James win the DVD and on his birthday Dave won and shared the Roses Chocolates round the room before GRASSROOTS kicked off again with THE LAST OF THE WIDOWS of the Duck Bill Seam. For GEOFF it was a question of ALL OR NOTHING as it was for SIMON over in ATLANTIC CITY and PAUL who beseeched us to DON’T THINK TWICE IT’S ALRIGHT. Then PAULINE continued her theme with ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE so no wonder CHRIS & WILF came up with LOVE IS ALL AROUND before JOHN rocked us down TOBACCO ROAD. Still on classical guitar music HILARY played SOLEARIS before HELEN went off on THE QUEST and DAVE COWE recited the 21st BIRTHDAY POEM FOR MATTHEW. Reliably RICHARD GRAY sang his own ABANDONED LOVE whereas ROBIN went north of the border to meet JOCK O’HAZELDEAN and SUE was in Salford that DIRTY OLD TOWN. Heading for a big climax JAMES & SIMON banded together for Richard Thompson’s WALL OF DEATH which left Robin, Paul, Don & Heather as FREE SPIRITS to have us all singing Bob Dylan’s WAGON WHEEL to end a superb evening.

Newsletter No 395 13 September 2016
As our digital demon Chris Ross said, it was a small but perfectly formed group of people who had a very pleasant evening. We had the most horrendous thunderstorm about 6.00pm which lasted for ages. Thunder, lightning and rain what probably put people off from going out. Anyway it was worth venturing out and as Paul Riley said the Man City football match was postponed because of the storm but thirteen performers braved the thunder and lightning to entertain the even braver audience. PAUL himself started off with AIKEN DRUM, a piano accordion solo after which KATH & STAN asked WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN to which SIMON commented O, DEATH! Next it was wonderful to see the return of GRASSROOTS with Janice looking on the recovery road to sing LITTLE THINGS to which PETER quite rightly replied with FRIENDS. This was followed by PAULINE and a romantic poem about BETTY & JOHNNY and CHRIS with a great song THE HANDS OF JOSEPH before JAN & MARK asked DON’T IT MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE? Becoming a more regular performer DIANE then read her own poem GLOBAL WARMING, a dialogue between God and an Angel, which gave ROBIN a PEACEFUL EASY FEELING and caused KATH & STAN to think of two tunes 3AROUND3 and COME TO THE CEILIDH. Rising to the occasion SIMON was next RIDING ON TOP OF THE CAR as PETER set off for THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN and GRASSROOTS anticipated those AUTUMN LEAVES. Still in poetic mood PAULINE gave us HENRY KING by Hilaire Belloc to which CHRIS responded IT’S A LONG WAY FROM CLARE TO HERE. Then JAN gave us a Welsh hymn CALON LAN before MARK GAVE US the TALE OF THE CAT just as Don & Heather were passing by the real Spanish place ROBIN sang about LAREDO. Individually MICK then sang his own song SHE BELONGS TO ME as PAUL was hastily forming his floor band including Kate on spoons for CORNBREAD AND BUTTERBEANS.

Starting the second half PETER said we should all TAKE IT EASY and CHRIS suggested we would WEATHER THE STORM which was appropriate for the evening before PAULINE calmed us all down with MARGARET’S CRADLE SONG by William Blake. Then unlikely as it probably was KATH & STAN swore they saw THE MAN IN THE MOON and SIMON reckoned it was probably more LIKE A SONGBIRD THAT HAD FALLEN and little did they know that a day later we would all be LAZING ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON with MARK & JAN. Although still going well ROBIN decided on the LAST FAREWELL as PETER was living his WHOLE LIFE THROUGH while PAUL was trying to fathom Arthur Marshall’s FENCES. More agriculturally KATH & STAN turned to THE HEDGER while SIMON vowed to love for a THOUSAND MORE years as CHRIS also had a premonition of a SUMMER NIGHT. Coming to the end of a great night PAUL pleaded LEAVE HER JOHNNY, LEAVE HER and invited MARK & JAN to give us an appropriate send-off with THE BONNY SHIP, THE DIAMOND which we could all sail away in.

Newsletter No 394 6 September 2016
A rich and varied evening was booted up by the great combination of KAMRAN & BANJO JOHN who asked BILL BAILEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME to which ED declared I'M A WINNER but as DAVID pointed out there are WINDS OF CHANGE about (Scorpions). It was of no concern to SIMON who confessed to being THE ROVING GAMBLER to which BAZ replied IF ONLY OUR RIVERS RUN FREE but PAULINE was more upbeat with WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY's 1870s poem INVICTUS appropriately on the eve of the Paralympics. In anticipation of great exploits there JAMES turned to the SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE while DIANNE decided to test us with A POP QUIZ which sent ROBIN of through the STREETS OF LONDON. Unsurprisingly Mr Romance BRIAN offered himself as MR WONDERFUL but unimpressed ANN was off seeking the MR PUNCH AND JUDY MAN while ROD declared he was OUT OF TIME (Stones). Finally back after a while ARTHUR sang the BIRD ON A WIRE (dedicated to Richard Neville) as another welcome face CARL told of the exploits of THE LONE BADGER which left KAM & BANJO JOHN to take us to the interval with DR JAZZ.

A chatty break brought the Raffle which saw the Red Wine do home with Alan, the Rosé wine go home with Barry & Chris, the Candle go home with Ann and the Necklace go home to Hilary via Martin before ED asked a serious question, WILL THE TURTLE BE UNBROKEN? Still in traditional mood BAZ sang about PEGGY GORDON before SIMON delighted us with the LIONS AND LAMBS [banjo tune] followed by VIGILANTE MAN. Next we turned to ROBIN who was away with A GYPSY WOMAN (Don Williams) so no wonder BRIAN declared I WANT YOU, I NEED YOU, I LOVE YOU as did the sailors in ANN’S song about THE LORELEI. Recalling a bit hit by The Band ROD next sang THE WEIGHT as DAVID turned to the Beatles WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS before CARL was back on his feet for the great favourite BRIGADIER. No wonder JAMES was WILLING as KAMRAN gave us SLIDING DELTA before SIMON sang LODI (John Fogerty). From God’s own country according to Nicola ROBIN led us in singing MINGULAY and for ROD it was ALL OR NOTHING but for DAVID it was a case of IN DREAMS as we headed for the climax of a great night. No wonder ED kicked off with ALL THE GOOD TIMES as JAMES regretted SHE NEVER SPOKE SPANISH TO ME before CARL topped it all with THANKSGIVING by Pete Morton. Class!

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!!

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  1. JUNE - 2016
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