A quieter start than usual due to the combination of Easter and Manchester United playing an important match did not deter that well known footballphobe Ed Bentham from opening up the night by singing Caledonia swiftly followed by Kath and Stan this time without Ruth with Nine Hundred Miles and Banjo John who played and sang Sweet Georgia Brown in which he encouraged us all to join in. After this David, the Poet, next to us he had written a short poem for his local hospice which he recited from memory, Double Contradiction, but Brian was unequivocal when he led us all in the Shirley Bassey hit You'll Never Know which also brought a huge audience response. The Bailey Sisters sang the two songs with an obvious link, The Oak And Ash And Thorn and A North Country Lass, and Carl came up with The Father's Song and Derrick recited one of his funny Monologues about Albert. Ann C unusually arrived without John and sang an emigration song from Somerset called Sweet England and she was followed by Colin who was requested to first sing Vincent and then he performed one of his own songs The Same Mistake before Joan Hall stepped in at this point and gave us all a lesson in French by singing a French folk song with all the actions of Felix Le Chat. We were all very proficient in the language by the end of the lesson and we had the actions off to perfection!
Keeping the kettle boiling Ed started the second round with one of his funny songs, Let Sleeping Dogs, again followed by Banjo John with Black Eyed Blues. Kath and Stan had intended to sing two consecutive numbers, the first being How Will I Ever be Simple Again but Stan had to tune his guitar for the second one so Eric, who had arrived slightly earlier, offered to sing whilst the guitar was being tuned but after a senior moment in trying to pitch and remember the words, it was back to Stan for their second number which still didn't materialise amidst the continued laughter and heckling. Much to Sue's amazement Eric then returned to stage and sang his new Jez Lowe song, The All Clear, and at last Stan and Kath finally delighted us with Ring, Ring the Banjo. In all the kerfuffle Isobel had arrived and thank goodness brought a return to sanity when she played The Rabbit Band and Henry's Cat, both hornpipes. Keep The Change Bob also appeared late and sang a Paul Brady number, Crazy Dreams, and before we lost him to an early night, Banjo John led his new band of Kath, Stan & Ed in Will The Circle Be Unbroken which was excellent despite being totally unrehearsed. David, the poet, next recited another of his poems, The Light-Hearted Maiden, and Keep The Change Bob was on his feet again for A Long, Long Time before our newcomer Bob Pender was finally persuaded to borrow Stan's recently tuned guitar to sing Tower of Song. Going well by this time Ann C then sang Old Maid In The Garret and Brian came up with the old favourite, The Streets of London. Fortunately at this point Derrick gave us a good injection of humour with a list of very funny quotations all ending in And That's How The Fight Started before the second language lesson from Joan Hall who sang another folk song, L'Elephant also with all the actions, in very eloquent French. The Bailey Sisters finished the round with The Sally Gardens and a request from the floor for Somewhere Along The Road which was followed by a short advertisement for their latest CD.
With the clock still ticking a third round was started with Isobel playing 100 Pipers at ever-increasing speed before Ed took a leisurely stroll up Keith Marsden's The Manch and Keep The Change Bob repeated Caledonia again as he had missed Ed's earlier version. Brian then chipped in with Willy Nelson's version of Crazy and Banjo John, who had been banned from leaving early, was woken to sing and play Memories Are Made Of This before Bob Pender gave us Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man. Hurtling to a climax Derrick then had us laughing at some Thomas Cook funnies, The Bailey Sisters sang Bold Sir Rylas and Kath & Stan had us dancing into the street to the Banjo Picking Girl. A very satisfying evening.
Mark and Jan again took the reins which was a bit of a surprise as they usually only go anywhere twice, the second time to apologise and return the silver! We were, however, in for a great night with the usual high standards being maintained. Richard Sails kicked off the night with Frank Mills, with the long hair, for a tale of unrequited love with a George Harrison look alike. Then John Brown gave us the seasonal Old Rugged Cross and Ged followed with the Woody Guthrie's Ludlow Massacre and Mark & Jan told a tale of requited love with I'm A Rover. Mike Dixon then sang about the demise of chimney sweep Jack Hall and Richard Knott played a lovely piece of his own called Gemma's Bridal Tune, although it hadn't got a name until this evening, and Big Brian Tibby gave us his unique rendition of Sun Arise with Rob demonstrating his didgeridoo impression, remarkable! Carl Corbett sang Songs of the Sea, inspiring Heather to sway with the swell, and Cast Iron Roof (Kath, Stan & Ruth) followed with a questionable discourse on child care with What Shall We Do With The Baby. Pepper Street then gave us Ry Cooder's Across the Borderline swiftly followed by Bob who sang the Worried Man Blues and Brian who treated us to Nat King Cole's When I Fall In Love. Next and after a short absence which made all our hears grow fonder, Isobel played two lovely jigs, the Blackthorn Stick and the Kesh Jig, with not an oh bother, er er mistake, to be heard and, equally wondrous, Dave Cinnamond gave us his metaphorical golfing poem From a Mis-Stance before the sole representative of the Bailey sisters, Shelley, sang The Cuckoo. Arthur Marshall then gave us Voices, a wonderful creation from his own pen before Rob had us all singing I'll Fathom The Bowl, with some lovely harmonies kicking in, setting up Steve Miller, a friend of John Condy's now living in Oklahoma who was visiting with his wife, to complete the first round with Billy Bragg's Between The Wars accompanied by John himself. Excellent! Kath, Stan & Ruth then asked us to Let The Mystery Be; a mystery indeed and we're still wondering what happened after they were interviewed by the Social Services! Mike Dixon then contemplated One More Day, John Brown sang the St. Louis Blues with the ever in demand John Condy filling in on harmonica, Isobel then played a lovely lament, she had, and therefore we had, no idea what is was called but Richard Sails ignored it and took us up to the interval with Rag Fair.
After the raffle Rob started the second half with Rolling Home, he'd taken his yacht Kekama to Holyhead at the weekend and amongst the crew was Bob (Jan) and when they were waiting in the locks at Eastham they sang a few songs, the acoustics were, apparently, excellent. Next Keep the Change Bob, who sneaked in towards the end of the first half, gave us the Dawning of the Day and Richard Knott sang the finger and tongue twisting Steve Goodman version of I'm My Own Grandpa before Brian steadied it all down with Matt Munroe's Walk Away. Shelley next came back with Maddie Prior's Isobel, a lady, who amongst other things was rumoured to have been the mistress of Robert the Bruce, Pepper Street were Born In The Wrong Time and the current Mrs Taylor, Bob, who had run away with Rob on Friday only to run back home again on Saturday, sang Lawr ar Lan y Mor. Carl then brilliantly performed Jez Lowe's Black Diamonds about the dangers of coal mining under the sea which prompted Ged to comment Death Comes Creeping and Dave Cinnamond to tell us about his canine cider, Dead Dog Scrumpy. Big Brian Tibby was next up with the Raggle Taggle Gypsies and, all the way from Oklahoma, Steve Miller with John Condy sang Factory. Bob responded with the skiffle song Sweet 16 and Arthur Marshall sang the excellent Milk and Honey, another of his own songs before Keep the Change Bob teamed up with Brian Tibby on the bodhran to tell that Blues Won the Game. Having gone round twice we were still able to squeeze in a few more before home time so young Mr Sails gave us General Taylor then Richard and Ged pooled their guitar resources to give us the excellent Solid Gone. Shelley regaled us with the delightful Little Yellow Roses, Ruth, Kath & Stan were in their Sleepy Dessert and Mark & Jan, Bob, then sang We'll Hunt Him Down, Jez Lowe's comment on the American Bible belt views on Charles Darwin. Finally Pepper Street brought the proceedings to a fine end with the popularly requested I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water leaving us to thank all who attended and participated in yet another wonderful evening at Sale Folk Club.
Another quality night of music and mirth was opened by hosts Pepper Street with John singing about James Taylor's Boatman and to set the tone Cockney Eric then took the floor with his essay on Chavness, Burberry and Prada. Banjo John was next with Way Down The Levee and Ed then returned to humour with Diddle Aye Dum Dye Day as did Big Brian with his Grandfather's Clock. Arthur Marshall was more serious with his own Small Town Girl as was Gus Glynn with Lakes Of Ponchartrain and Ruth, Kath & Stan who invited Follow Me Home. Colin Rudd then paid tribute to the recently deceased Jack Hardy with The Tinker's Coin followed by Tom & Lucy with Mend And Make Do and Richard Knott with Buck Dancer's Wing. Mark & Jan then played Lord Inchquin and Jan sang Dougie McClean's Fiery Cross about outsiders buying holiday homes in the Highlands and Rob kept the mood with Come Write Ye Down but Ged was having none of it and sang I'll Fly Away. Anne C was with the Millworker's Children and Carl sympathised with the Galloways, Jez Lowe's retired pit ponies, before Keep The Change Bob took into tenor territory with Joseph Locke's Goodbye.
Pepper Street opened up the second round with the Broad Majestic Shannon sung by Mick followed by Arthur Marshall with another of his own, Everybody Goes Home, and Mark & Jan with Young Billy Brown. Carl then came up with the Green Fields of France followed by Big Brian with Jambalaya and Cockney Eric with Babel, his original and very funny song about mobile phones. It was also nice to see Gus back again and his second song was old favourite Beeswing by Richard Thompson who inspired Rob for the Good Ship Calabar, although it was touch and go whether the giggles would let him get through it, but clearly Anne C was unimpressed and sang the lovely My Bonny Boy from the singing of Anne Briggs, who was also the subject of Beeswing which Gus sang. Richard Knott again delighted us with A Fairy Tale Romance, another of his excellent original songs, and Tom & Lucy insisted we Hark Back The Hounds before Keep The Change Bob claimed I Believe In You but it was really Bob Dylan. To celebrate Mike's birthday Ed tried to convince him that You're Only As Old as the woman you feel so he's lucky in that respect, Ruth, Kath & Stan treated him to Blackwater and Ged to Muleskinner Blues both suitable gifts.
Finally we entered round three with some highlights from Pepper Street back in Make & Break Harbour by Stan Rogers, Arthur Marshall who claimed My Name It Is Van Gogh, Tom & Lucy asking Will The Circle Be Unbroken and Gus who was Under The Radar with one of his own songs. What a selection of music from a wide range of talent.
An entire change in the seating plan, so that all the chairs were turned 180 degrees, brought out the grumpy old man syndrome in the majority of regulars. Youngsters tried to gain back their confidence by standing in their own designated spot on the carpet, even if it meant being in a totally crushed position. However, by the end of the evening, a proportional representation vote was taken on the new layout and the majority decided it had been a refreshing change. Even the naughty corner moved slightly to the right for an unrestricted view of the performers.
Banjo John opened the evening with a 1929 song, Bessie Smith, followed by The Bailey Sisters who sang two numbers in the first half, Only You and Benjamin Bowmaneer. Ged then gave us Working on the Railroad and Ann C sang One April Morning which was very appropriate for the time of year. Mark and Jan sang separately, Mark giving us a lovely rendition of From Clare to Here and Jan the amusing Cyril Tawney number Five Foot Flirt although we were all given to understand that Jan was taller than that! John Condy, by popular request, played and sang Here Comes the Sun and then we were delighted to welcome Gillian, a newcomer to our club, all the way from a village close to the borders of the Lake District. Gillian had enjoyed the Allan Taylor concert we hosted last Saturday and as she was staying in the area until this evening, she returned to join our Tuesday sing around and delight us with a song about The Manchester Ship Canal where her father had worked as a crane driver for many years during his working life. Robin sang Four Strong Winds and then Rob took up his usual position by the door and we all joined in with his South Australia. Kath, Stan and Ruth sang one song together called Friendship and then Kath and Stan joined forces without Ruth to sing Waterbound. Big Brian then made us all laugh with Right Said Fred, the Bernard Cribbins song fromthe 1960s and Little Brian followed immediately with the wonderful love song Have I Told You Lately? Bob then sang The Death of Poor Cock Robin to which Rob performed in sign language for those who could not understand the spoken word, Carl sang The Boys of Belly Row and Frank sang Down to the River to Pray, which did not, in any way shape or form, resemble the song title given in advance! Isabel gave a flawless performance of Huntsman's Chorus and Rakes of Mallow, Richard Gray sang Morning, Eric translated Renaud's Chanson Pour Pierrot and sang it in English before Zoë completed the first half of the evening with How Long Has it Been?
We then took a break and were happy to see that our new guest Gillian won the large tin of Quality Street as first prize in the raffle, Little Brian then took the box of Thornton's chocolates and the wine, which unusually was left until the last, was left for John C much to his delight.
Bob commenced the second half with the amusing Little Grocer Man and Banjo John sang Lazy Bones from 1933, but we all knew the words to sing along so we must be older than we thought! Robin next sang Dream Seller, Ann C sang Go From My Window and Small Brian played and sang Unchained Melody to which everyone joined in the singing. There were no dry eyes left in the room! Gillian once again delighted us with a very fast and tongue-twisting song from Newcastle called Sarah! Sarah! and we were even treated to an authentic North-East accent before Ged went all American with Barbry Ellen but not before mentioning that he would not be making mistakes in the pronunciation of any place names and certainly not Houston! Who?? Ed then sang for the first time and it was a request from Carl for Jacuzzi Joe the Gigolo with the Funky Concertina. Richard Gray responded in a serious vein with Her Pretty, Pretty Heart but Big Brian soon had people again in stitches laughing at his reading of the song Ernie which encouraged much chorus participation. Carl was also deadly serious with a beautiful version of Lady Eleanor and Karen, now minus Shelley as she had to leave early, sang Black is the Colour. Isabel came up to play Danny Beck and The Rope Waltz but disappointingly was only able to play the former as she suddenly had pain in her jaw. Rob tried to cheer us up with one of his jokes and then was unable to sing The Grey Funnel Line without thinking about his joke and laughing through most of his performance! John Condy had to bring us back on a serious note when he sang an absolutely beautiful Don't Let Us Get Sick, Frank came out of himself to sing Wild World and then Eric and John Condy joined forces and gave us a very rousing Like a Rolling Stone by Dylan. Zoë sang All of the Songs Were Road Songs and Mark and Jan were the penultimate act, singing together Hush, Hush! Finally Cast Iron Roof aka Kath, Stan & Ruth, brought the night to a rousing conclusion with No Telling and then, after a plea for an encore, Dirty Old Town, to end a brilliant night.