Guest hosts Heather Kenyon and Rob White gave us a great evening of music and mirth helped not inconsiderably by the many talented people at their disposal. Rob, for the first time ever, unsheathed his trusty Fylde guitar before announcing It's Good To See You and swiftly recruited John Condy to follow with the requested Galway Girl and then Ged to Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms. A sweet version of Moon River came from Brian & Barry, with his large harmonica, who continue with Just Walk On By but fortunately Claire stopped to sing Guinevere's Lament. Next Ed took us Down Along The Verdigris while Ruth, Kath Stan were Letting Sorrow Go, Ruth's own composition, and Robin told a true story with Rock My Cradle Once Again by Hank Williams. Fresh from hearing Steve Knightley last Saturday, Ann C reclaimed The Bold Poachers while Carl linked tenuously to Claire's Guinevere with his own (K)Nights Round The Table and Don & Heather were Past The Point Of Rescue. The Bailey Sisters next sung in praise of The Collier Lads while Brian pleaded with London Danny not to entice his wife away and Derrick told and Irish Ghost Story. On a more practical note, Zoe told us Life Is Too Short To Fold Underwear which we all agreed, Stella went for Comfort And Joy and Jan went for the Verdant Braes Of Skreen before Mark introduced his Little Red Rooster. Irony then overtook Bob for the D-Day Dodgers before Eric went way back in time to find his Ma (she's making eyes at me) and Keep The Change Bob had Just A Closer Walk With Thee before Richard Sails took us up to the interval with Old Brown's Girl.
The usual bumper raffle of Wine, a box of Shortbreads, a box of Cherry Liqueurs and a Sticky Toffee Pudding saw us properly able to welcome Merdy back when he won one of the prizes. It was good to see him looking so well and hopefully soon to be back with some of his special songs.
The second half got off to a good start with Leaving Of Liverpool from Jan & Mark and Ruth, Kath & Stan said it must be The Last Goodbye but Ed said it can't be "I'm still Learning How To Play Ged's Guitar." Richard Sails then was that Four Loom Weaver and Brian said "It's no wonder Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" before Ged revisited Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins. Still on his previous theme, Bob wanted to Put An End To War, a sentiment we all shared, Robin/Claire/Don/Heather lightened it up with No Hopers, Jokers and Rogues but Ann C again went all serious with Geordie who was hanged for stealing the King's horses. Carl was then All At Sea with his female First Mate and Brian sang Barclay Card by Harper Simon, Paul's son, and Eric was that Werewolf, scary! Sister-less Karen then sang of the Merry Maidens, Don & Heather rattled off to South Australia, their own composition, as did Rob with his shanty South Australia and Keep The Change Bob was down by the Red River Shore. Luckily this all came Before The Deluge from John Condy and certainly before Derrick described Washing The Cat and Claire sang her last song for a while, Michael. Sadly Claire is off back down to Cornwall which us good for her but not so good for us but we hope she will visit us in the future. Finally another big trip was celebrated in Zoe's Open Water before she had us all singing into the street with her American Wake. It was a great night and well done Rob & Heather.
Another good crowd fighting for seats saw the evening get off to a go start with everyone Letting Their Banjo Ring with Don & Heather at the helm with Claire's Bodhran setting the beat before she took a solo flight with Johnny Do. I Shall Not Be Moved replied Ged but Banjo John said This Land Is Your Land so Brian got out The Old Guitar and Robin banded up with Claire, Don & Heather for Johnny Cope. Next Ann C was Weary Of A Simple Life and Mark reminded us Mardy, the last pit in the Rhondda but Jan was not so chuffed with The Blacksmith but John Condy lifted the mood with The Beatles' Here, There and Everywhere. Verging on the surreal, Ed treated us to the life and times of Georgina Bailey which with her uncle could never have resulted in the Children Derrick went on to talk about. Carl then sang another of his own great songs Bells On The Breeze, this one an early composition, before Rob brought love into it with Come Write Ye Down causing David to react with his somewhat anti-Valentine's Day message before a touch of class was injected by Isobel in the form of a couple of Hornpipes on her splendid new recorder as we crescendo-ed towards the interval. The arrival of Zoe Mulford continued the upward thrust with her Hairy Herman which Bob did his best to maintain, keywise, with Shoals of Herring and Keep The Change Bob capitalised on with Linda Thompson's Never Going To Run Away to herald the break.
A bumper crowd deserve a bumper raffle and that is what they got with bottles of wine, boxes of biscuits, chocolates and the new car all finding good homes before we again hit the trail with a banded up version of Star Of The County Down from Robin, Claire, Heather & Don. Don't Let Us Get Sick sang John, to which we all agreed, before a late but very welcome Richard Sails gave us a new shanty, Hang Boys Hang, to sing along to and Brian kept us trilling to True Love. Our Town next came from Keep The Change Bob followed by Rob's Gray Funnel Line, Jan & Mark's Young Billy Brown, Ann C's Elsie Thompson and Albert The Hero from Derrick. Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still reminisced Claire as did Ged about Boots Of Spanish Leather, or more precisely his lost love, before Richard Gray cleared it all up with his new song The Meaning And The Purpose Of Life. If only it were that simple! According to Ed and Tom Paxton it gets simpler as you get older as told in Forest Lawn but Richard Sails said give me a lovely carnival girl at Fakenham Fair any day. Robin then went back to the American Civil War for The Vacant Chair, Bob went gooey eyed over Molly Malone, Isobel again delighted with Planxty Hewlett, a new tune from her, but Carl, in response to the request to do something funny, sang Jake Thackray's The Brigadier. This left only time for Richard Gray to again borrow Ged's guitar for his own On My Way Home brilliantly setting up Zoe to lead us in singing The Fox (traditional) and her own lovely One Day The Sun's Gonna Shine. Magic!!!
I have to tell you that there is nowhere better to celebrate a birthday or anything else than at Sale Folk Club. The chatter from the crowd before 7.30pm intensified up to 8.00pm as the room filled up to over 50 happy souls waiting to be entertained and entertained they were. Andy Darbyshire started by telling us it Cuts Like A Knife and Carl gave us another salutary warning with Needle And The Damage Done before Ruth, Kath & Stan's Night Visiting Song revealed how other problems can arise. The Barking Creek Bell Ringer's Daughter also didn't have it easy as Dave explained but Nic's clarinet version of Amazing Grace reminded us things can go right but this was soon to be doubted by Ged with Trouble In Mind. Claire continued in agreement with her sad tale of the Butcher Boy and Mick Hare's song Another Old "Do Gooders Tale" performed with John Condy clearly exposed the difficulties when Social Services get involved. Fortunately the surreal Wild Billy's Circus Story took us out of ourselves as did Jean's Jock O' Hazeldene which got a grunt of approval from Robin who himself did an excellent job on Star Of The County Down with his band of Claire's Bodhran, Heather's Tambourine and Don's extra Guitar. Ann C then bemoaned her love lost to The Green Cockade and Banjo John said he'd sooner you Send Me To The Electric Chair but Isobel decided to go off with her 100 Pipers. Derrick's Cannonballs then explained seriously how to freeze the balls off a brass monkey followed by The Bailey Sisters with The Cuckoo and Sleepless before a ghostly apparition appeared in the form of Alan Grace who, in time honoured fashion, was promptly asked to sing before he had even removed his coat and he responded magnificently as usual with Rosabella. Amazingly he then had an urgent call from home and had to depart immediately but fortunately Brian was unfazed with See The Pyramids Along The Nile, Accordion John parodied Yesterday and Don & Heather insisted everyone sang along with The Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness. Eric then came up with another touch of class with Jacques Brel's Le Prochain Amour before Ed preluded the birthday buffet with you're Only As Old as the Woman/Man that you feel.
After a brilliant interval Robin won the wine, John took the roses and gave them to his wife Ann, Ann & Mike lifted the pink champagne and Jean took the chocolates for her daughter since she is allergic to them.
Back on track Banjo John told us of his experiences as The Gambler, Ann C related hers at The Bed Making and Richard Gray gave his thoughts on matrimony with Heart Of The Matter. Jean came back with Where Ravens Feed and Andy gave us his alternative to God Bless America with God Bless This Mess before Goldfish Blues from Eric at least acknowledged that they gave us this musical form. Dave's Son Of Albert was essentially English, Isobel's Dingle Regatta was of course from south west Ireland but goodness knows where Ged's Diddy Wah Diddy was from. Then, at the second attempt, Claire sang and played her lovely Bodhran for Fourteen Days only giving way to Alan Grace as he returned from home to sing Shanty Man and Mike sang Willing. Ruth, Kath & Stan were soon in Black Waters, Derrick reduced us to tears of laughter with his Exam Answers and Brian gave us the other Only You. Robin was again banded up for Sister Gypsy but Carl was Nearer To Nettles after drinking Old Tom and Accordion Tit Willow-ed. Richard was fascinated by Things That Go Bump In The Night, No My Love Not I trilled Karen, Boats To Build sang Pepper Street and after a great night Don & Heather said they Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way leaving us all singing us into the street to Gypsy Woman. Brilliant!!
Guess what! The Services Club are thinking of increasing the capacity of our Tuesday Night Room to 100 seats and maybe it will soon be necessary with us pushing 60 last night. Hosted by Mick & John who started off brilliantly by Killing The Blues to which Banjo John replied Am I Blue? Not a chance! The audience certainly were not as they chorused mightily with Don & Heather's Farewell To The Gold before marvelling at Rabbie Burns' My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose from Bob and Jelly Roll from Ged. Well and truly in the mood, the crowd would have waved their lighters in the air to Blue Moon from Brian with great harmonica from Barry but contented themselves with gentle swaying before Anne C confirmed that Love Is Teasing, Ed refused to take the wrong direction like Kris Kristofferson's Pilgrim and even Colin found A Better Place To Be with Harry Chapin's pragmatic song. The feel good factor continued with David's whimsical verse I Can't Believe It's Not Butter had us chuckling followed by Gordon, a visitor from Wythensea on the North Sea coast, who sang Cyril Tawney's Sally Free And Easy and Ruth, Kath & Stan whose response was Beautiful. With the cheers going up in the next room for United's goals, Carl was reminded of his own Magical Sky, which he wrote after seeing a red sky at night over Old Trafford, and Isobel also reached a similar high note with two hornpipes, The Rabbit Man and Henry's Cat, but Simon still reckoned it was a Mad World a la Tears For Fears. Wendy then jumped in with a swift and sweet Norwegian Wood before latecomer Frank had us all singing with Peggy Gordon and Gloria was being waylaid before The Next Market Day. Beginning the second round Pepper Street told us of Make And Break Harbour, Stan Rogers, Colin almost was Mr Bojangles and Banjo John took us to the interval by inviting us to Have A Drink On Me before mysteriously disappearing.
The usual social scene and Grand Raffle ensued before we returned to the smell of chips to start the second half in Ed's Mini Cooper with Eric's band up version of Bad Moon Rising in hot pursuit only for us to be carried away on Ged's Trapeze with Anne C saying Catch Me If You Can. and Carl saying Cursed Be The Caller with his knock, knock, knock. More whimsy from David with The Lighthearted Maiden was followed by Ruth, Kath & Stan's Anna Lea, Gordon's Chicken On A Raft, Cry from Brian and Dayflower a tune with a chorus from Isobel. Wild Mountain Thyme from Bob soon had us all singing again as did Don & Heather's trip to Extremadura, Spain to meet The Conquistadores and Robin Laing's Black Clothes from Frank. Farewell, Farewell from Gloria started the countdown to which Eric replied Hallelujah and Pepper Street proceeded in making A Good Noise so much so that Ged was Gone, Solid Gone and Simon couldn't get his mind off My Ding-a-Ling. Fortunately Gloria was on hand to remind us that we should never leave a folk club in too upbeat a mood with Black Is The Colour accompanied by Frank. Wonderful!!