November 2008

Newsletter No 5 - November 25 2008

Residents Ed Bentham and Terry McKenna took over on Week 5 running an excellent evening. Terry opened with the haunting Down in Mississippi which he does so well and then embarked upon a round of more than 40 songs led off by a request for Gypsy Woman from Don & Heather aided by anyone playing in C. Extremely talented newcomers The Idle Young, Richard, Debs and Inga whose normal playground is the Chorlton Folk Club, brought a note of surrealism with songs Metaphor and Wildebeest and Sexy Poo, don't ask! Fortunately they rejoined the planet with Blue Skies in which they reckoned maybe things will get better. Ged disagreed with How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times as These and John Muskett, singing and playing his best ever, pleaded Brother Can You Spare a Dime? Even Mick remembered Ralph McTell's Factory Girl. In contrast John Condy took us Across the Borderline where the streets are paved with gold and Ian sang Isn't It Grand Boys.

We had a big surprise last week when two of our regulars Kath and Stan Rothwell turned up at the Lymm Folk Club with a lovely mellow toned banjo so we obviously insisted they hide their lights no longer and Ring Ring the Banjo was followed by The Circle. Another newcomer, Peter, returned to the darker side of life with Leadbelly's Black Girl, who it was thought killed her man, before turning to that old favourite Midnight Special. Life on the sea was taken care of by our own mariner Rob with Love is Kind and the The Good Ship Calibar and the inevitable Irish connection was also addressed by John's Galway Girls, Michael's Plough the Rocks of Bawn and Galway Shawl provided a great chorus singing opportunity with Don & Heather. All I want is you sang Ruth and Clare played The Sweetness of Mary. The funny side was seen by Ed On My Way To Work and Derrick complained My Snails Have not Arrived a Les Barker special.

Again this week there were more great self-penned songs with Carl's Looking For The Sun. Mick's If You Are Here addressed our fate on planet earth and Eric's monologue about Gaia addressed the corollary by examining how the earthmother copes with the rate we use her resources urging us to take what we need but not what we desire.

Newsletter No 4 - November 18 2008

Week 4 was again full of surprises and these are only the edited highlights. For the unexpurgated version you need to be there. First there was brief remembrance of Armistice Day and the horror of war with Carl's version of Willie McBride before the evening blossomed into the normal folk mixture of toil, tragedy, unrequited love, history and humour, in other words a very satisfying experience.

Newcomer Richard claimed to be descended from a Poor Loom Weaver and played an Air on his home made whistle, orders to be taken later before Mark's Little Pot Stove pictured the hardship in the whaling industry. Alan arrived just in time for us to demand a song from him at the door even before he had taken his coat off and he later reflected on the fate of the elderly with A Man of the Soil working on his allotment to keep him alive and John took us through the North West Passage with Franklin. Whilst we were in the Americas Ged reminded us of how tricky love can be with the story of Frankie and Johnny.

Jan presented a sick note but still managed to delight with that lovely Welsh song Ar Lan y Mor or Beside the Sea to the monolingual, the Welsh language is hard enough on signposts. I wish I could sing that well with a sore throat. Get well soon we need you. Robin provided the necessary Irish connection with Paddy Reilly and he was particularly well received when he shed the guitar and sang Forty Shades of Green accompanied by Don. Rob took on Alan?s role of shanty man with South Australia and later amused us all with his tale of the Slug.

Eric, is there no end to this man's talent, first poked fun at the folk club scene and then was inspired by Jacques Brel's song Bruxelles which he had translated and relocated very amusingly to "Manchesto." Ed still wanted to Flog 'em, Flay 'em and Hang 'em and Derrick related one of life's absolute truths that Dachshunds with Erections Can't Climb Stairs, a Les Barker classic.

Finally the creative song writing element was again to the fore with Mick giving us a history lesson about how Sitting Bull got the tribes together but that Crazy Horse was the strategist and the Man Who Killed Custer. Ruth sang yet another great song called Letting Go and then amazed us by admitting under torture that it was her own composition. The rest of us would have been boasting unmercifully.

Newsletter No 3 - November 11th 2008

Big news of the week was the establishment of our very own website at:

In future you will be able to read the Newsletter on the net.

Week 3 again provided an excellent great evening with as many as 18 performers and a great audience. Half full for an 8.00pm start and soon filling up we had the benefit of it being the true Armistice Day and many took the opportunity to pay tribute to those who fought and died and ponder on the lunacy of war and worse the human race.

Eric even wondered if the assassination of "Jean Juresse in 1914" started the war, Mick didn't "Blame the Bullet" but pointed the finger at the politicians in a great new song he had written, Jan bemoaned the fate of "Mothers, Daughters, Wives" who all lost their loved ones, Mark did "Rout of the Blues", Don sang "Calling doon the line" in memory of all the lost Scottish boys in WW1, Carl reminded us that many innocent Germans also lost their lives with "Hello Hans" from Harvey Andrews, Anne "Wished that the wars were all over" and Helen sang a prayer that she had written herself.

Ed brought us back to earth with conditions in the "Bloody Orkneys" and Derrick illustrated how we Brits cope with one of his off the wall "Albert" recitations in which he won the "Battle of Dunkirk" and "Show us your medals granddad" in which the lad asks him if he brought any mementos back from the war. After a few trip to the loft he finally sends the youngster himself to fetch his rifle. Where is it granddad? It's up against the tank. A Tank granddad? Bloody hell!!

Finally Alan sang the traditional song "Home lads home" from WW1 before John brought us right up to date with a fine interpretation of Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" and Ruth sang her own composition "Friendship" which should be a lesson to us all. Old friends from the Railway folk club, Julie and John, on their first visit to our new club claimed it was a "Lesson too late for the learning".

In between many kept us sane with some great songs.Robin went Celtic with "Rose of Allendale and Jock o' Hazeldean", Mick took us back to his roots in "Orson Street", Ged reminded about of "Careless Love" and Jan asked, "Who knows where the time goes?"

The raffle, in the hands of Sue and Heather, reached the pockets other raffles cannot reach and uniquely Martin won the first raffle prize and then proceeded to draw out his own ticket, under close supervision and no cheating, to win the second one as well. He's banned in future (joking). Will he win the Mercedes at Christmas? Has he got a licence? Can he drive? Will he give up his bike?

It was also suggested by one of our members that we should have some social activities and a trip to the "Land the Light and the Locals" festival in the Borders at New Year was mooted.

Have a look at the website and we will discuss it next week.

Also next we hope to have a visit from our friends Ruth and Ken Powell who will definitely be on our guest list in the near future. Be there or regret it.

Newsletter No 2 - 4 November 2008

After the grand opening last week we expected a slightly smaller turn out on Tuesday 4 November because several people expressed the feeling that sometimes other things would come up. We found it difficult to believe but work was mentioned and even football but with Liverpool having a poor result maybe they have learned that only at the folk club can success be guaranteed.

In this the second week it was clear that there was an air of greater confidence in the room. Carl Corbett treated us to a lesser known Jake Thackray gem as well as a brilliant song he had written himself and fortunately we insisted he sang from in front of the Christmas tree from where we could hang on to every word. Ged was also back again with his nice country sound and with everyone having to sing three times he even gave us a folk song.

An even bigger treat was the arrival of some new faces and even better new performers. Another Ged played the melodeon and sang, Michael, who claimed he lost his folk club virginity in Swinton (how terrible), sang some excellent songs and played brilliantly but for us the biggest surprise of all came from Ruth, who we have seen in audiences for ages when she unsheathed a nice sounding guitar and sang quite beautifully. What additions these three turned out to be. Let's hope we see them regularly.

It was good to see Alan Grace again and we think even he was surprised when in walked his old sparring partner John Jocys (JJ) to share in a couple of rousing shanties after John had sung "I don't think much of you", that well known starting off song, and the tradition was then again well maintained by Ann Cojeen and Rob White.

Eric the Cockney again reminded us of the amazing talent found in folk clubs when he announced his final tribute to George Bush in a song written by himself. In fact it turns out that he quite productive with his pen and others followed. Mick, Bernice and John who make up "Anything Goes" were also on top form and Mick will be running one of the evenings in the run up to Christmas.

Last but not least, the beauty of a folk club is that you spread the net wide and as a result you never know who will walk through the door and blow your mind. This week it was our good fortune to have a visit from Chris Stern who had just returned from a concert tour in Texas. He stylishly interpreted several classics starting with Creole Girl and kindly donated one of his CDs to the raffle.

Finally, the Christmas Party will be on the 16 December with all the usual celebratory activities. This year we shall be raffling a Mercedes Benz so be there or be square.


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