It all started rather slowly without much of a swing and although we had a good audience, some of whom were newcomers to the club, there were very few performers by 8.00 pm, maybe six or seven, so it was feared that it would be difficult to create an atmosphere, other than "cosy" but this is Sale Folk Club and performers did arrive at intervals and found themselves thrown onto centre stage immediately they came through the door! The things really hotted up when who should pay us an unexpected virgin appearance at singers' night but Stanley Accrington to whom we made a concession particularly as he just walked right past Kate on the door!! We finally had 19 performers altogether and every single one of them was outstanding in their delivery so craicing good night was had after all.
In addition a consensus decided we should have a collection around the audience so that we could make a donation to the specified children's charity on behalf of Judith's son, whose funeral is to be held later this week. The collection, 66 pounds topped up to 100 pounds by the Club, is being sent with a sympathy card to Judith "From All Your Friends at Sale Folk Club."
Musically the night started on a high note with Ed singing Tom Paxton's The Hobo with Banjo John following closely behind with Your Cheating Heart and Richard Knott playing a wonderful guitar solo of a self-written piece called Running With Scissors. Ged was up next with His Old Chestnut, Frankie and Johnny, and then Ruth, Kath & Stan sang two numbers, Where Ravens Feed and Beautiful setting up Big Brian who sang and played the Bodhran for the Raggle Taggle Gypsies-O. Then Heather from across in deepest Lancashire came after a year absence and sang beautifully two songs consecutively, My Love is Like a Red Red Rose (Traditional) and then This Love Will Carry by Dougie MacLean to remind us what we have been missing. This put Mark and Jan on their mettle and together they rose to the occasion with Johnny Jump Up and Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue as did Merdy who gave us I've Got Leather on my Shoes and Carl who sang Jez Lowe's The Soda Man. Next Karen was solo, without Shelley, for Two Roses, Brian sang and played I Wish I Was Eighteen Again! and John Condy dazzled us with The Scarecrow, a great song. Maintaining a heck of a high standard Peter impressed us all once again with a self-written number, You Came to Me followed by Banjo John who had another turn before the break as he had to leave early and he came up with Folsom Prison, accompanied by John Condy on the harmonica, and then Keep the Change Bob who gave us Black Muddy River. Guitar Eddie again amazed us all with his Oldham's Burning Sands whilst Ed and Kate accompanied him with actions straight from the Harem! Colin then came in to sing Maria, or at least that is what we understood it was called as there was an element of doubt about the actual title, and finally, the famous Stanley Accrington brought the first half to a close with Andy Murray sung in the style of Rabbie Burns. It was extremely funny and brought tears of laughter to everyone's eyes. He then sang a technological makeover of a very fine song re-named Ten Drunken Nights which was equally funny.
We then had the break and raffle where Kath, Stan and Ruth appeared to win most of the prizes, definitely the case of beer and definitely the wine. We don't know why they didn't take the large bottle of bubble bath except that you can't drink it!!
Mark and Jan started the second round with just one song No Use Crying and Big Brian hewed Sixteen Tons setting up late arrival Eric for another Jacques Brel song translation, Knokke Le Zoute, after a town in Belgium. Karen sang a lovely I Live Not Where I Love which inspired Richard to sing and play his own Take Me to the Doctor while Carl sang his ghostly story, The 17.10, about a Railway Train. He sang this particular song because he knew that Stanley Accrington had worked over many years for British Rail and would appreciate the story. Eddie then went marine with two sea songs Fisher's Hornpipe and Sailor's Hornpipe finishing with Rule Britannia, which encouraged the whole room to sing along and wish they had brought a Union Flag to wave. Keep the Change Bob sang Bob Dylan's Blind Willy McTell while Heather was more modern with Jessie, a song by Janis Ian. Ed had everyone laughing again with Chastity Belt and Peter delighted us yet again with another self-written number Let it Go while Merdy went all-American with Woody Guthrie's Refugees. Catching the mood Ged sang Desperados Waiting for a Train before Brian brought tears to our eyes when he sang romantic When I Fall in Love which reminded us all of the late Nat King Cole. John Condy then sang The Unicorn, which really suited his voice, and Ruth, Kath and Stan sang and played the short Birds and Ships before Eric had us all in stitches with his Terrible Tragic Story of Dr Simpson & Mary about the kidney transplant. Our sides were then well and truly aching from laughing at Stanley Accrington's late 10th century poem written, he said, before Britannia Ruled the Waves and recited by Stanley in Anglo Saxon, absolutely hilarious! How did he remember it all? He then completed our brilliant evening with a sad song about a song full of pathos The Belle of Belfast City rewarded by tumultuous applause.
Another good turn out tonight hosted by Pepper Street who started with John's new song, Pleasure Trip, swiftly followed by Banjo John who had the Tishomingo Blues and Mike Dixon who was experiencing a Misty Moisty Morning. Home from the sea, Rob was still back on The Good Ship Calabar before Robin led everyone in that great chorus song The Wind In the Willows. Colin, however, was bemoaning the fact that there was No Chance Hitting On You but did he mean newcomer Yvonne who sang an excellent unaccompanied version of The Farmer's Wife, the one about the devil taking her to Hell. So did she mean Colin? Then, after reading all about her exploits across the length and breadth of the USA, it was great to have Zoe back in our midst telling us about My Aunt Maxine and we were in heaven as was Ed's Al Bowlly according to Richard Thompson. Merdy next gave us his great rendition of the Ballerina of The Bay followed by Kath, Stan & Ruth who sang a beautiful version of The Night Visiting Song and Carl responded to the moment by Singing The Ages Down by Lester Simpson in honour of the summer solstice. Ever welcome Tom & Lucy then stepped up with the Ballad of Lenny Crow & From Whence You Came and no wonder Brian said Everybody's Talking. Not being able to stand all this cheerful stuff any longer Ged claimed I've got Bricks In My Pillow and Richard Gray poured out the Story Of My Life to the tune of Sam Hall and Cockney Eric appeared to be growing old gracefully with A Song For Older Lovers.
After an early break with the customary grand raffle Pepper Street set the pace with Arranmore and late arrival Isobel was in good form with Herr Roloffs Farewell as were Kath, Stan & Ruth with Ain't No Sweet Man and the Banks of the Ohio. Still in great voice, Yvonne sang the beautiful slave lament Shallow Brown (come again soon!) and Richard Gray responded to the challenge with The Social Gospel which was a medley of Mr Tambourine Man, Meet Me On The Corner, Streets Of London, Bridge Over Troubled Water, You've Got A Friend, Lean On Me and even 1 or 2 more we can't remember. Thank goodness our Scottish contingent then brought us back to earth when Merdy sang the Leaves That Are Green by Paul Simon and Robin eulogised about the Star Of The County Down followed by Mike Dixon with Here's Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy and keeping the mood Carl was next up with his excellent version of Jake Thackray's Blacksmith And The Toffee Maker. Brian then celebrated Old Bones (who was he talking about) but not the Jez Lowe song of that name. It was an old one and Brian wasn't sure who had written it but informed us he had seen a version by George Burns on You Tube, a strong folk link?!?!? It was enough to drive anyone to drink and Rob shot off to The Old Pubs before Tom & Lucy reckoned that was just like An Englishman probably one of their own. Ed further reckoned he must have been The Hermit but any way up Ged reckoned all he would get was Hard Love and this was Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues by Cockney Eric accompanied by John Condy and a whole load of other people too. Unabashed Isobel went out with Whistler & His Dog and Zoe closed the evening with two of her own The Preacher And The Bear and All Of The Songs Were Road Songs. Welcome back Zoe!
There was a select crowd at Sale but they enjoyed a very entertaining evening hosted by Mark and the current Mrs Taylor! Cast Iron Roof (Kath, Stan and Ruth) started us of with Ruth's song Friendship then a lovely rendition of Bob Dylan's Wagon Wheel, he's 70 you know. Carl Corbett then entertained us with Jez Lowe's Aloysius, spellchecked by Mark, Jan and finally by Carl. Mark and Jan then wondered Who Knows Where the Time Goes and newcomer Kerry gave us Sally Goody. Brian with his beautifully inlaid "parrot guitar" and if you are wondering what such a thing is then come down to Sale Folk Club and bring your parrot, gave us Harry Nielsen's Without You, a popular choice, then Pepper Street followed with two of their own excellent songs, John's See You in the Sunset and Mick's Crossing Over the Border. Derek was then "Forgetter to be Forgotten" a most entertaining and memorable narrative. At least he remembered where the red wine was, so a happy ending! We were next able to welcome back Paul Riley, a visitor to the Club some 2 years ago, and he gave us Pete Seeger's If I Had a Hammer. Notably he tuned his banjo and it had to be explained to him that tuning counted as a song and is not the sort of thing we do here! He was followed by Rob White who had just returned from the Isle of Man having been watching the TT Racing for a week. He'd just seen the Fisherman's Friends on the telly and so gave us his rendition of South Australia, which, in his and our opinion, was a far superior version! Next up was Ed Bentham with Tom Paxton's Along the Verdigris, the River, not the Bronze patina, and then Eric followed on with Burberry and Prada which summed up his own wish that he'd rather be a chav than a chav-not! Jed, sporting a deep tan having returned from sunny Mediterranean climes, sang about Careless Love and it was great to see and hear Colin Rudd back with his song that we called If A Bird Can Sing. Dave Cinnamond then gave us his thought provoking poem, The Box, and we were then delighted with a debut from Dave Cashell who had come simply to watch but asked to perform and entertained us with his excellent Jellied Eels!! More from you in the future please Dave?!! It was here that, reminded of matters piscatorial, we ruminated about Kate's experiences earlier in the day when she took to swimming in her next door neighbour's fishpond! It seems, according to Kate, that, during some sort of exercise that involved wielding a pickaxe, she ended up sharing some goldfish space by falling head first into a waist deep fishpond! Further details and advice can be obtained from Kate the Pond! And so we came to the second round and Kerry gave us the Ballad of Billy Morgan then Brian couldn't help Falling in Love, his version of Elvis's classic! Eddie, who had not long arrived, played a medley of tunes, Lovely Joan, High Germany and Brigg Fair followed by Jan with Lawr ar Lan y Mor, what the song is about, of course, is a matter of conjecture! To bring us up to the interval Cast Iron Roof aka Kath, Stan & Ruth, gave us the delightful Horncastle Fair, a favourite we think!
When we quietened down after the nail biting excitement of the raffle, Martin didn't win this week, Ed decided to render us all speechless with She Is Woman, a musical discourse on how helpful men can be, benevolent sexism apparently. After this polarisation of the assembly Mark asked everyone to look for the Little Red Rooster and Carl sang Magical Sky, a lovely composition of his, and Jed then lamented the Closing of the Minstrel Show. Derek then related some "unusual" complaints to the Council which had everyone in stitches before Paul Riley was following the Drinking Gourde. We then had a very amusing tale from Alan about the inappropriateness of taking water tablets as a cold cure and Pepper Street were Killing the Blues. Colin the regaled us with his very clever Nora Jones Blues, then Eddie sang I Mean to Wait for Jack. Rob then gave us Trevor Morton's wonderful tale about the Mill Outing and Eric the equally wonderful Jacques Brel's Jo Jo. A splendid evening was rounded off with Mark and Jan singing Running Like a Turkey with Jan's speciality egg shaking and after thanks to all who made it such a great evening Pepper Street sent us home with I washed My Hands in Muddy Water ringing in our ears!!
Once again Ed & Sue rearranged the chairs in a different layout but this time to accommodate the Chorlton Cloggers who arrived with their own portable dance floor and this time the new set up was approved by the majority of the regulars even the grumpy old men in the audience! Unnecessarily, therefore, Ed commenced the evening with a protest song, Donovan's Universal Soldier which John Condy followed closely with Dylan's If Not For You sung solo as Mick had not arrived at that point but it was a good introduction for four of the Chorlton Cloggers, Gill, Jane, Jennie and Sue, who then delighted the audience by dancing a waltz, followed by Jane and Gill dancing the Liverpool Hornpipe as a two-some accompanied on the melodeon by Harry their own specialist musician. After that Ruth, Kath and Stan thought there was No Telling as we were honoured when late arrival Mick sang his new song In Nova Scotia, but we could all still hear him from where we were sitting as could John who accompanied him with his harmonica. Mark next administered his Intergalactic Laxative before Jan and welcome returner Kathie sang in harmony for Summer Wine followed by A Wayfaring Stranger from Adam, someone else we don't see enough of. Then David, the poet, was requested to perform his recently written a short poem about Stockport which was still untitled, however, we all decided it should be given a short, memorable, snappy title and so it was named "Stockport!" Next Jean, wearing her spooky spider gloves, sang The Spider, along with all the horrific creepy actions so it was fortunate Derrick was on hand to recite Albert's Party Manners. With a complete change of mood Robin cheered everyone up, tongue in cheek, with Only the Heartaches just before Ann C arrived at which point she was asked to sing immediately on entering the room. It was clear that Alan Grace had nothing on her as she broke into My Bonny Boy whilst still standing at the door, however, she confused us all by changing the wording slightly from one gender to another, which gave us a good chuckle, and similarly Isobel had little time to settle into her seat before she was asked to play Day Flower on her magic recorder. Some further light relief came when Ed sang the Bronchial Dilated Blues but Ruth, Kath and Stan were more serious with Ain't No Sweet Man and Iris Dement's Let the Mystery Be setting things up for the return of The Chorlton Cloggers who all danced The Ossie Jig, followed by Sue, Jane and Jennie dancing an unusual Welsh Clog Dance. Jean then came to the floor to sing her own Wolf Whistles, with all those who could whistle encouraged to join in the chorus with the many others whose standard of whistling was not quite so perfect also joining in, followed by Adam who sang Little Red Rooster and Robin gave us a slightly altered version of The Leaving of Liverpool, which also encouraged everyone to sing along. Another latecomer Eddie Ball then played a wonderful guitar instrumental, Liberty Bell, and then sang and played I'm a Lumberjack followed by a suicidal number by John Condy which was chosen by the audience, End of the Rainbow, making it an appropriate moment to finish the first half and try and cheer ourselves up during the break.
Ann C and Heather furiously sold tickets and a great raffle saw a bottle of red wine won by Christine, a bottle of white wine by Mick, a planter by lucky John Condy, and three jars of Royal Jelly by Eddie Ball setting the scene for Ed to start the second half with The Manch backed by Alan Poole who also knew the words, followed by The Taylor Family, Mark, Jan and Kathie, next sang and played the beautiful Suo-Gan in Welsh. The humorous story of the Flat Pack came from Derrick, Robin sang Four Strong Winds, Isobel played Scallawa Lasses and the Halting March before Eddie Ball played a wonderful medley of tunes, a blast from the past so to speak, Heartbreak Hotel, Everyday and Dream in which everyone sang the words even though the songs were all supposedly before their time! A lovely unaccompanied Rosemary Lane then came from Ann C just before Brian, who had been working and arrived later than usual, borrowed a guitar and sang and played I Wonder Who's Kissing her Now and Shine. Jean next aped Rob by standing at the door and singing the hilarious La-Di-Da, which had everyone in hysterics, followed by a very deep version of Country Road which The Taylor Family followed with an absolutely superb rendition of Mamas Got a Squeezebox, which had all feet tapping. Pepper Street then sang Lydia and Guy Clark's Boats to Build before a thoroughly satisfying evening was brought to a close by Kath, Ruth & Stan urging everyone to Follow Me Home. Magic!