As a kid Hill 60 was always hard to climb but we did it again last night with 25 performers and a massive audience just waiting to have their minds blown and blown they were. A quick start from hosts Don & Heather with Poverty Knock was quickly followed by Banjo John with Carolina In The Morning and Ruth singing, Kath piping & Stan banjoing Lazy John. Brian was next busy trying to get back with Sylvia before an inspired Robin, Don & Heather banded up for a lusty Rose Of Allandale with tremendous chorus backing from the crowd and newcomer Kamran was The Gambler. Next Dave Cashell reminisced with the humorous Sergeant Where's Mine and Ged empathised with I Got Stripes before The Bailey Sisters, in a welcome return, lulled us all with The Cradle Song. Mike was determined to Go No More A-Roving whereas Eric wrestled with Analogue And Digital and Jean Finney met up with Clive James', yes the Clive James, Beautiful Stranger. Carl's own Nights Round The Table was also reminiscent but, with gender adjustment, Richard Knott's brilliant new song Welcome To The World Of The Guitar Girl could have been autobiographical and Isobel's Rabbit Man & Henry's Cat was just brilliant. Colin Rudd mused on Dylan's lyrics Valentine's Can't Buy Her - Love Minus Zero/No Limit as did Big Brian with The Gnu and Richard Gray with a trip up to the North Country. Ed was off somewhere nearer when he had us all singing along to Pendle giving us no hint of how John Condy was going to become afflicted with memory loss and a fit of the giggles as he became Care Home bound not to say Waterbound and the only answer came from Banjo John who was Leaning on A Lamp Post and laughing his head off. Keep The Change Bob reckoned it was The Sign Of Things To Come before we ran for the interval with Peter saying I'll Tell My Ma.
A big raffle saw John win the wine, Isobel won the smellies, Ruth took the Bubbly, Eric the CD and Heather the fountain pen before Big Brian started off the second half with The Sequel To Albert And The Lion. Tom Wait's Ruby's Arms provided a refuge for Mike before John Condy recuperated with The Strawbs' Lay Down and Kamran asked Which Will by Nick Drake. The crazy story of the Bold Sir Rylas was The Bailey Sisters' next contribution but Dave Cashell was having none of it claiming it was a Wonderful World but Brian was again Hooked when he asked When Your Body's Had Enough Of Me. Still in robust form, Robin this time added John Condy to his now 4-piece band for a rousing version of Me And Bobby McGee before Kath & Stan were then mischievously Waterbound with all the right words and in all the right order, there's a lesson to you John, and Ged was in his John B Stetson Hat. Nobody disagreed with Keep The Change Bob when he sang of The Joy Of Living nor did they with Richard Gray when he sang Just Be Happy For Your Time certainly not on a cracking night like this. Then a different perspective on relationships came as Eric led out Brel's Horse and Jean sang her Alternative Love Song leaving Richard Knott to ask Why Do I Feel So Alone? Playing Elizabeth Clare Isobel again came up with the goods before Ed had us smiling at Johnny Dearest Johnny only for Colin to go all serious telling us You Never Know The Moment only to leave Peter to crystallise that thought with his much requested "funeral" song Black Is The Colour. A wonderful evening!!!
Just like on many other occasions hosts Isobel & John were surprised by newcomers Bryn, Mikey and Grant Beynham walking through the door to add to the spice of the evening which was kicked off in fine style by Don & Heather who, in celebration of the Irish couple we met in the Bear's Paw on our Frodsham Folk Club Walk who were on their way back home, sent them off with South Australia. Whisky in the Jar was also appropriate from Paul which John claimed was the Will Of The People. Then Bryn came and played and went with Hangman's Reel and Proud To Be British but Banjo John came, sang about Some Of These Days and The Darktown Strutter's Ball and stayed for the sandwiches. Isobel next treated us to Dusty Miller and Willafjord but Ged was down in St Louis briefly accompanied by Grant Beynham who then stepped forward in his own right, courtesy of his footstool of course, to first give us the flashy Blue Lagoon Cafe followed by the less highly charged but equally exciting Sabrina Fair. Ruth, Kath & Stan also came up with nice duplet in John Lover and Ain't No Sweet Man swiftly followed by Carl with If Wishes Were Fishes and Eddie with a Bach Minuet, Strawberry Fields and Handel's La Rejouissance. Brian then flew with The Eagles Desperado while Robin Rocked Hank Williams' Cradle and Eric ate his Last Supper translated from Jacques Brel's C'est Mon Derniere Repas. He Had A Long Chain On claimed Keep The Change Bob and Poet David's From A Mis-stance celebrated Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke winning the Open Golf before Don & Heather's Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness took up to the break, the buffet and the raffle.
John's Silver City started the second half well followed by Paul's Long Black Veil and Ged's Easy? It's Getting Harder Every Day so much so that Carl reckoned It's A Champion Life. We then had a band up for Eric's Ancient Mariner but latecomer Richard Gray clearly thought that was a non-Phenomenal Blues and Mikey was off to see Mr Tambourine Man. This reminded Ruth, Kath & Stan of The Night Visiting Song which soon had Eddie Toddlin' Whoam with Brian and Baz saying it had been Wonderful Tonight and they were quite right especially since Keep The Change Bob was about to unveil his latest song Can't Be All That Bad. Nice one! Sonny's Mazurka and Phroinsias v Manoughs were still to come from Isobel's recorder before Grant well and truly brought the evening to a climax with his extremely funny Wine Song followed by the obvious I'm On A Promise Tonight and the unexpected Louis Is Going To The Chair to end a great night.
"And they filled up every pew" Keith Marsden, It's a pity he couldn't be there because his line fitted the bill perfectly. John Condy was that Mighty Quinn for a great and lively start before Mike bravely tackled the Fair Annie, a Maggie Boyle special with a lot of verses and he did a great job, but we were relieved when he got to the end without hesitation, repetition or deviation and we heard Right Said Fred from Big Brian. Next were super group Ruth, Kath & Stan who wondered How Will I Ever Be Single Again and then were off to Anna Lea followed by Ged who was more concerned about When The Levee Breaks and Rob who didn't care as he was off to South Australia. Ed was then all serious but we always have to smile when we hear Re'DeadedDan (Red Headed Anne) as we do with Jan's Welsh tongue twisting Molannwn but we all recovered well during Mark's sublime guitar piece, Lord Inchiquinn. A lesson in life next came from Colin Rudd with A Ballad Of Cursed Anna and there was another from Jean Finney with her Ballad Of Crewe Station till Brian could stand it no more when he said These Boots Were Made For Walking and newcomer Paul Riley insisted we Tell Old Bill. Don & Heather next explained how they were Knee Deep In A River of friends in the folk club and Robin also told how a friend in the USA had sent him the Rebel Soldier that he was about to sing before new performer Dave jumped to say he feared there was a Bad Moon Rising. Luke Kelly's When I Was A Bachelor came from Keep The Change Bob but Ruth, Kath & Stan said Let The Mystery Be but Eddie went off to join Alexander's Rag Time Band and then gave us a snippet of the Maple Leaf Rag to end the first half.
Much socialising, a decent raffle and several baskets of chips later the second half started with Jan & Mark's We'll Hunt Him Down, the story of America's insistence that schools should teach that the world was created about 10,000 years ago despite the fossil evidence etc to which Emily suddenly cried out Hallelujah as she grabbed Robin's guitar to make her first folk club debut. Well done girl. It's a crazy world as Big Brian proved with Johnny Cash's hilarious The One On The Right Is On The Left to which the smaller Brian replied There Goes My Everything and in similar sombre mood Peter Mylett sang Black Is The Colour. No wonder Rob was Courting Too Slow and Jean gave us Put Another Log On The Fire and tell me just why you are leaving me, every woman's guide to seeing the light, but Shelley preferred the optimistic view with Somewhere Along The Road someone waits for me. Dave was also cheerful with The Beatles' How Do You Do What You Do To Me as was Paul Riley with Stewball but Ged soon put them straight with his wrist slitter version of Barb'ry Allen. Mike was next The Boxer and then Robin took us o'er The Braes o' Killiecrankie an insight into the horrors of war which made John Condy lament the This Old House Is Falling Down Around My Ears. In Some ways too true as Ed found On Mi Way To Work as did Keep The Change Bob's Peat Bog Soldiers and Peter with Gerry Rafferty's Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway. Colin was again that Mr Bojangles but Eddie was decidedly not Lily Marlene nor were Don & Heather the Diamantina Drover but it was a great chorus song to finish the night and send everyone home happy.
Who says things slow down in summer? Another full house greeted visitors to the Club last night as Don & Heather opened up with the Manchester Rambler requested by Alan for his friend a retired country park warden. Big Brian was soon in full flow with his version of Sun Arise which prompted A Call To Arms by Ruth, Kath & Stan and welcome guest Zoe screamed up on her Vincent Black Lightening. She was soon followed by Carl with Steve Earle's Rich Man's War and Colin Rudd who reckoned anywhere's A Better Place To Be from the writings of Harry Chapin and John Condy Dreamed There Were Unicorns from Bill Caddick. All this led Ged to plead Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor but Ed was unimpressed as he extolled the virtues of the Flushers of whom Alan, the first mentioned, was once one. Next up Shelley, of Bailey Sisters fame, sang a new song for her, The Sparrow and very nice too, swiftly followed by some Elizabethan tunes by Eddie although, after some Dowland and Greensleeves from the Tudor era, how Puff the Magic Dragon qualified was a mystery as was Brian's visit to the Hotel California but Keep The Change Bob reckoned That's All Right Mama. Finally, Baz lost his virgin status when he sang his first ever song, The Gypsy, and very good it was too. Hurtling on Carl, who was heading home early, reminded us of his hero Jez Lowe with Johnny Collier and Colin was urging on the underdog with Cut Across Shorty and, celebrating her winning a gig in Lymm, Zoe first sang Madam I'm A Darling and then set us all alight with the title track from her latest album, Bonfires. Ruth, Kath & Stan then brought us up to raffle time with the sad story of Black Waters which resulted from the crude Appalachian Coal Mining which ruined the environment.
After the wines, ouzo and flash sports sunglasses found good homes in the raffle we rattled on with Keep The Change Bob who was Waiting Around To Die hopefully after he had left the premises. Ged was in the same frame of mind with Death Come Creeping but fortunately John Condy was on his own Pleasure Trip and Brian was busy collecting Souvenirs. Quite appropriately Big Brian next performed Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's zany Big Shot before we were transported to another world of make believe by Eddie's As Time Goes By but we were pulled back to reality when Ed related The Hypochondriac. Next Peter Mylett, who had just walked through the door, plucked Sonny's Dream from his recently re-released album Something Old Something New and had us all singing along before Don & Heather finished the round by relating the story of their Greek friend Vasili who definitely doesn't pay any tax.
Ruth, Kath & Stan then came back with their Brown Eyed Boy, but sadly a difficult relationship because he Likes Likker Better Than Me, and John Condy was into James Taylor's Boatman but Ged was just off to Flip, Flop and Fly. Big Brian warned what can happen when The Gas Man Cometh and Keep The Change Bob claimed My Dreams Have Withered And Died before Eddie was the Saucy Sailor. Brian was next Hopelessly Devoted To You as was Ed, that serial stalker of Margaret, and more understandably Peter was with Limerick You're My Lady. Colin was that Mr Bojangles before Don & Heather pleaded with us all to Lay Down The Borrowed Guitar before wending our way home after a very satisfying evening.